The Individualized Studies major is structured around a Plan of Study that incorporates 36 credits of courses, is thematically focused, and draws from at least two departments. While it is expected that students will work largely within the College of Arts and Sciences, each person is free to reach beyond the college when developing the Plan of Study. The student-designed plan must include a research methods course that is appropriate for the subject under investigation, a class with an international focus, and two IDVS senior capstone project courses.
Students in the IDVS major are responsible for forming a Faculty Advisory Committee composed of three faculty members who have expertise closely related to the theme of the student’s individual Plan of Study. The Faculty Advisory Committee must include an Arts and Sciences faculty mentor with credentials closest to the student’s study focus and two additional faculty members with expertise in the student’s areas of interest. With the guidance of the Faculty Advisory Committee, the student will develop a Plan of Study that is both academically sound and rigorous. The Faculty Advisory Committee will work with each student to review these areas of study, create a curriculum plan outlining which courses will be taken to meet the credit requirements, and approve any changes to the Plan of Study. In addition, the Faculty Advisory Committee will assist the student with the development, execution, and evaluation of the senior Capstone project.
The program is not intended for students who want to concentrate their studies on a narrow, pre-professional curriculum, or for students whose interests can be served by a double major or by combining a traditional major with a minor already laid out in the Winthrop Catalog. Likewise, the Individualized Major is not a way for students to style a new academic program as a means of avoiding course requirements in already established programs. Students are responsible, in collaboration with the advisors, for demonstrating in the Plan of Study that the individualized major does not duplicate an existing major or represent an academically less rigorous version of it, that they cannot reasonably pursue a similar major at Winthrop, and that they can reasonably meet the prerequisites for taking the proposed courses.