University of Maryland Individual Studies Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions that students frequently ask us as they begin the Individual Studies process.  Any additional questions may be directed to the IVSP staff.

When am I eligible to apply?
You may apply for the program after completing 30 credits (generally during your sophomore year) or during your junior year before reaching 90 credits. Students are encouraged to apply early in their academic year to maximize the benefits of creating their own major. The program also welcomes students who discover late in their academic career that their declared major is not for them.

Ben and TestudoHow long does the process of becoming an IVSP student take?
In the past, the process has taken students anywhere from 4 weeks to a few semesters. It depends on how quickly you can fulfill the requirements and how much time you have to devote to the process.

If I decide to double major, how many credits can I count towards both majors?
You can count up to 18 credits for both majors.

May I count any of my minor credits towards my IVSP major?
Yes. Usually there is a limit of 6 credits, but double check with your minor's program.

Once I meet with the Faculty Review Board, how long until I know their decision?
You usually know their decision within the next 24-48 hours.

May I include limited enrollment program (LEP) courses in my proposal?
You may, but remember that LEPs usually restrict their courses to majors only. You may put in a maximum of three LEP courses in your proposal, but you will need to make sure that you will be able to take these courses. It is not the purpose of IVSP to substitute for or replicate the educational goals of existing University programs, especially the campus' Limited Enrollment Programs. 

Do the required IVSP courses and requirements (IVSP317, IVSP318, IVSP420, and the writing craft course) count towards the 27 upper level credits for my major?
No, they do not.  These credits are in addition to the minimum of 27 upper level credits.

When do most students propose their proposal to the Faculty Review Board?
Students propose during their sophomore and junior years.  Because students have to have at least 30 earned college credits and will need to earn 30 additional credits after being accepted to IVSP, you may not apply during your freshman and senior years.

May I put courses that I have already taken into my proposal?
Yes, as with any major, courses that you have already received credit for may count towards your IVSP major.

May I put lower levels into my course list?
Yes, many students include lower level courses to round out their knowledge base and experience.

If the University of Maryland doesn't offer a course that I think should be included in my course list, may I take the courses elsewhere?
Past IVSP students have taken such courses through the Maryland Consortium, Study Abroad, and also as independent studies through IVSP 318.

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Individual Studies Program  Campus Location: 2407 Marie Mount Hall
Appointments: 301.314.0023  Email:
IVSP is a degree granting academic program of the Office of Undergraduate Studies
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