Individualized Studies

Current Students

Registering for courses

As an IDVS major you will be registering for courses in a variety of programs, departments, and/or colleges from across the institution. Therefore, it is important that you understand the registration policies of the programs, departments, and colleges in which you plan to take classes. It is worth noting that some academic units:

  • Restrict access to certain courses for students from other programs.
  • Impose GPA prerequisites for certain courses.
  • Require students to seek permission from the instructor prior to registering for a class.
  • Give first priority to their majors at registration time.

Please do not be discouraged by these rules and regulations. If you are well-informed, organized, and persistent, then you will be able to register successfully for the courses that you wish to take. The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies can offer general information about registration procedures for the departments and programs most relevant to your academic Plan of Study. However, you are ultimately responsible for working through these issues and it is crucial that you try and address them before you meet with your faculty advisor. For detailed advice regarding registering, consult the Office of Records and Registration.

Helpful hints

  • Know whether the course that you want to take has prerequisites, requires permission from the instructor, and/or is popular with majors.
  • If the course has prerequisites, then be sure you have taken them. (It is rare to have prerequisites waived; waivers are generally granted only when you have taken a course at another institution that corresponds to the specified prerequisite.)
  • If the course requires permission from the professor, then be sure to follow the appropriate procedures.
  • If the course appears to be full, then contact the instructor and explain why you would like to enroll in the class. A gracious, detailed e-mail with information about yourself (name, year, title of your major) and why you want to take the class (explain how it fits into your individualized major) is a good place to start. Face-to-face contact, however, may be more effective. Visit the professor during her or his office hours. Attend the first class meeting and speak with the instructor at the end of lecture. Many professors are willing to make room for an enthusiastic, motivated student.

Changing your Plan of Study

There will be times when a student finds it necessary to modify their individualized Plan of Study. In order to do this, it is your responsibility to discuss such changes with the IDVS Director and your primary faculty advisor. Additionally, you must mention and discuss these changes with the remaining members of your Faculty Advisory Committee, especially when the proposed alterations are in their field of expertise.

If the changes are relatively small (one or two courses) and perfectly consistent with your Plan of Study, then the IDVS director will provide pre-registration approval. If the changes are more substantial, then the IDVS director will ask you to seek pre-registration approval from your primary faculty advisor as well. Additionally, if you have made changes to your Plan of Study, then your Faculty Advisory Committee members (if the changes are in their fields) will need to sign a "change in Plan of Study" form, generally filed with a final Plan of Study.

If you wish to alter the concept of your major, then this will require the approval of the Individualized Studies Coordinating Committee. Please consult with the IDVS director about the steps you need to take.


Roles of Students & Faculty Advisors in the Individualized Degree Program

You will be responsible for working with your primary advisory to determine the academic direction and focus of your major. This will require regular meetings and discussions about your ideas, proposed coursework, and the progression of your final project. They will primarily be responsible for assessing your final project and so it is critical that you meet with them to get feedback throughout the course of your study.