Individualized Major

Major College of Arts & Sciences

This program enables students to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in a major that fits academic interests outside of existing programs at the University. Unlike other majors, which have a set curriculum, the Individualized Major allows students to construct programs of study to serve their own personal and professional needs. It also provides a definable area of concentration in which students earn a recognizable level of competence and expertise.

The Individualized Major meets the needs of disciplined and well-motivated students whose academic interests are not well served by the regular curriculum. Careful design of an Individualized Major should enable such students to prepare themselves for particular careers and allow them to gain admission into specialized graduate and professional programs. Most Individualized Major students fall into two distinct categories:

  • Those who wish to major in either traditional disciplines or recognized interdisciplinary areas for which majors are not available at the university. The Individualized Major can also serve transfer students who wish to continue work started elsewhere in areas in which university faculty have expertise but no organized majors.
  • Those who wish to fashion unique majors to reflect their personal or professional individual experience, interests, and/or needs. These include students whose work and life experience suggest the need for fresh ways of organizing existing courses into meaningful new majors, as well as innovative students who wish to bring together course work in several disciplines to focus on a thematic area or make unusual, yet valid, connections between areas that are rarely studied together.

Admission and Academic Progress

The Individualized Major program is administered through the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies (OIS) under the direction of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The OIS supplies information and initial counseling to students who wish to consider designing an Individualized Major. All students seeking the Individualized Major must be admitted to the University and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75. Before proposing an individualized program, students must have completed at least 30 semester hours, but no more than 60 semester hours, (either at USF or transferred) including Core I (Speech), Core II (College Writing II), and a math course. Students desiring to pursue an Individualized Major should confer with an OIS advisor. Under the supervision of this advisor, and with the approval of the Dean of the CAS, the student will take a one-credit hour tutorial course in which he or she prepares a proposal for an Individualized Major.

The student is accepted for admission to the major when this proposal is approved by the advisor and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The major plan may subsequently be amended only in consultation with the advisor and Dean. After gaining admission to the IM program, students must meet each semester with their advisor to register for courses and consider academic progress. A key component of the senior year is the variable credit capstone course, an independent study project in which students synthesize their work in the major. The project is approved and graded by the advisor and Dean, or by a panel of experts appointed by the Dean. The Dean certifies students for graduation with the Individualized Major.

Major Program (40 semester hours)

The individualized Major requires a minimum of 40 semester hours:

  • Two courses are required of all students (4 to 7 semester hours). These two courses are taken on an individual basis with a faculty member whose expertise or interest fits the student’s areas of study.
  • IDMR 101 Individualized Major Plan 1
  • IDMR 400 Individualized Major Senior Project 3-6
  • The remaining courses (30 or more semester hours) must be selected from existing courses.
  • No courses – lower or upper division – may be applied to the major’s general education requirements in the Individualized Major.
  • At least 15 semester hours in the major must be at the 300 or 400 level (in addition to the Individualized Major Plan and Individualized Major Senior Project).