As a large, urban institution of higher education, Metropolitan State University of Denver is committed to responding to the specific educational goals of a diverse student population. The Individualized Degree Program enables MSU Denver to meet that commitment in three ways:
- It offers students the opportunity to collaborate with faculty to design an individualized major, extended major, or minor to meet their own specific educational goals when other majors or minors listed in the catalog do not.
- The IDP serves as an incubator for faculty to develop new academic programs to meet emerging needs in the community and workplace. The IDP-as-incubator provides faculty with the opportunity to track demand and to experiment with the relevant curriculum prior to submitting the new program for review through the established curriculum approval process.
- A specific IDP concentration may be offered when a need exists for an interdisciplinary major or minor that does not fall within the purview of existing academic departments. An interdisciplinary core (not to exceed 50% of the minimum credit hours required) provides the foundation upon which the student and faculty mentor build an IDP program to meet the student’s educational goals.
Each student works with an advisor in the Center for Individualized Learning and with a faculty mentor to develop a proposal for his or her degree program. A practicing professional in the student’s field of study may also be invited to serve as a community consultant to assist the student and the faculty mentor in the development of the program of study. Because careful and thoughtful planning is essential to designing a coherent and congruent program of study, students are encouraged to begin their proposals early in their enrollment at MSU Denver. IDP proposals must be submitted no later than the semester prior to the semester the student intends to graduate.
Either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree in Individualized Studies may be sought.
Interested students should contact the Center for Individualized Learning, 303-556-8342, for assistance and for complete information regarding the policies and procedures for the development and approval of an Individualized Studies major or minor.
Each Individualized Studies major or minor is approved by the faculty mentor, Center advisor, department chair of the academic department from which the majority of credit is drawn, the appropriate dean, and the director of the Center for Individualized Learning.
Basic Rules of the Individualized Degree Program
- All requirements that apply to any bachelor’s degree apply to Individualized Studies.
- A grade of “C-” or above must be earned in each course included in the student’s major or minor, and students must have a GPA of 2.5 before an Individualized Studies program may be approved.
- On the student’s diploma, the title of the IDP will be “Individualized Degree Program” followed by the approved title. Titles of minors do not appear on a diploma, but both major and minor titles will appear on the final official transcript.
- Courses used to meet General Studies requirements may not be counted as part of the IDP Major or Minor. Also, courses with the same prefix as the department from which the majority of credit is drawn for the major (or cross listed with that discipline) may not be included in the General Studies categories of Arts and Humanities, Historical, Natural and Physical Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences I, or Social and Behavioral Sciences II.
- No more than 30 hours of credit from the School of Business may be included in the student’s degree plan. In some cases this limit may be exceeded with the approval of the appropriate department chair and dean of the School of Business.
- Each Individualized Studies major or minor must include courses that have not yet been completed at the time the proposal is approved. See each IDP option below for the specific number of credits that must be completed after the proposal is approved by the department chair.
Individualized Degree Program Options
Students may submit proposals for:
- An Individualized Studies standard MAJOR, which requires a minimum of 40 credit hours, including 21 hours of upper-division credit. Fifteen (15) credit hours must be completed after the proposal is approved by the department chair. A minor chosen from the Catalog is required.
- An Individualized Studies MINOR, which requires a minimum of 20 credit hours, including 6 hours of upper-division credit. Six (6) credit hours must be completed after the proposal is approved by the department chair. A major chosen from the Catalog is required.
- An Individualized Studies EXTENDED MAJOR may be proposed when the student’s field of study requires more in-depth study or courses from multiple disciplines that cannot be accommodated in an IDP major. An extended major requires a minimum of 60 credit hours, including 27 hours of upper-division credit. Twenty-one (21) credit hours must be completed after the proposal is approved by the department chair. No minor is required.
International Studies Concentration in IDP
Students wishing to pursue a major in international studies may do so by choosing the Individualized Degree Program (IDP) International Studies Concentration. This concentration requires core courses in the field of international studies and provides the flexibility for each student to select courses from across the University to develop a coherent academic program that meets the student’s own specific educational goals within the broader area of International Studies.
Through the International Studies Concentration students gain an understanding of international and intercultural relations and dynamics, and gain the skills and knowledge necessary for their specific chosen careers as those careers exist within an international context. The program also provides preparation for a graduate program in international studies, and students may include prerequisites for other graduate programs of their choice.
Students may choose to develop a proposal for an IDP major or an IDP extended major. Each is developed in consultation with a faculty mentor and the Center for Individualized Learning and must be approved by the faculty mentor, appropriate department chair, appropriate dean, Center advisor and the Center director. Students in this program follow the basic requirements and process for all IDP majors. The process for developing the IDP proposal and selecting the remaining courses is available at msudenver.edu/cil.
A minimum of one year of study of a modern language other than English is required and students are strongly encouraged to complete at least two years of study in the same language. Students who are already proficient in a language other than English as demonstrated by successful completion of an approved proficiency examination will be exempt from the requirement. Students are advised to research the possible entry language requirements of any graduate programs in which they might be interested and plan their programs accordingly.
An appropriate study abroad or a local or regional experience with an international focus is required as a part of the individual student’s proposal.
These courses can be used to satisfy General Studies requirements. As for all IDPs, courses with the same prefix as the department from which the majority of credit is drawn for the major (or cross listed with that discipline) may not be included in the General Studies categories of Arts and Humanities, Historical, Natural and Physical Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences I, or Social and Behavioral Sciences II.
International Studies Concentration Core
The senior experience may be selected from approved senior experiences listed in the College Catalog Addendum online. If no approved senior experience is appropriate for the student’s program, a senior level course, internship or independent study that meets the criteria for senior experiences may be chosen with approval of the faculty mentor, chair, Center director and dean. Approval of a senior experience is not a separate process but is considered in the review and approval of the student’s major proposal.
Some courses in the core may be applied to General Studies requirements. In that case, students will choose other courses in collaboration with their advisors so that the total number of credit hours in the major reflect the requirements for an IDP major or IDP extended major as listed below.
An IDP major requires a minimum of 40 credit hours (including the core), 21 of which must be upper division. Fifteen hours must be left to complete when the proposal is approved. A minor from the Catalog which will complement the student’s proposed major is required. Minors from the School of Letters, Arts, and Sciences; the School of Business, or the School of Professional Studies are all appropriate, depending on the individual student’s interests and future plans.
An IDP extended major requires a minimum of 60 credit hours (including the core), 27 of which must be upper division. Twenty-one hours must be left to complete when the proposal is approved. A minor is not required for the extended major, but students will choose other related coursework appropriate to their specific goals to meet the requirements for the IDP extended major.