What is an Individualized Major?
An individualized major is a self-designed, interdisciplinary major that offers you the opportunity to tailor a program of study to fit your particular set of interests. You are a candidate for an individualized major if you would like to combine courses from a variety of departments that share a common theme that is not currently addressed by an existing major.
The individualized major is a structured plan of study that incorporates at least 36 credits of courses at the 2000-level or higher, and which is thematically focused and drawn from at least two departments (typically three or four) in the University. This plan of study will often include an internship, fieldwork, or service learning and may, where appropriate, involve a period of study abroad.
Note, only the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) and the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) grant individualized majors at UConn. Students may enroll in courses in other schools or colleges.
What can I do with an individualized major?
Many things! Employers and graduate schools look for particular skills and qualities:
- Communication skills, both verbal and written
- Information literacy
- Critical thinking
- Creativity and flexibility
These are all skills that you will develop as an individualized major.
Graduates of the program have noted that employers and graduate schools have been impressed that they designed their own major. In a recent survey of IMJR Program graduates, one alumnus noted, “The IMJR program is a great talking point in job interviews. Many employers like to see candidates take a more active role in their undergraduate studies.” Another agreed, “I’ve found that people foremost are genuinely interested in how an Individualized Major program works. People ask a lot of questions and like the varied coursework on my transcript. The major shows one’s ambition, curiosity, and creativity and employers like that.”
Will it take me longer to graduate with an individualized major?
No, an individualized major requires the same number of 2000-level or higher credits as a traditional major and its related courses (36 credits). But remember, you do need to apply to the program in your sophomore or early junior year if you want to be reasonably certain that you can complete your plan of study by the end of the fourth year.
What will my diploma say?
Diplomas will say that you have earned a B.A. or B.S. from the College in which you are enrolled and the title of your major will be listed. An individualized major in Global Studies, for example, would be listed on the diploma as “Individualized: Global Studies.” This is also true of the transcript.
How do I declare an Individualized Major?
There are a number of steps to becoming an individualized major. The first is to meet with an advisor to discuss your ideas for a major. The second is to take our "gateway" course, UNIV 2600, which will help you to prepare your proposal. The third is to find three faculty advisors with expertise relevant to your major theme.
Once you have completed the steps above, you may apply to the Individualized Major Program by submitting an application through the online Quest Portal. Admissions decisions are made by the Individualized Major Advisory and Admissions Committee, which meets several times during the Fall and Spring semesters to review applications.
When can I apply to the Individualized Major Program?
You may submit a proposal if you are either in your third semester or if you have completed 30 credits toward graduation. You must apply before you register for your last 30 credits. Typically, this means that you must apply by February of your Junior year.
Who will help me develop my plan of study?
Advisors in the Individualized and Interdisciplinary Studies Program, as well as faculty advisors, will help you develop your plan of study.
You begin by preparing a a proposal in consultation with an academic advisor in IISP. Then you identify three faculty members, from departments relevant to your major, who can further assist you with developing the proposal.
How many advisors will I have?
Four. You will have a primary advisor from a department in the college granting the major, two associate faculty advisors, and the Individualized Major Director.
Can I include an internship in my major?
Yes, we highly recommend that you include an internship or field experience in your plan of study. An internship or field experience offers insight into a particular career path and provides practical work experience. It is an opportunity for you to network with other people who share your interests. The knowledge, skills, and connections that you acquire will be a key asset as you seek employment or apply to graduate or professional schools.
Identifying an appropriate internship is time consuming! You will need to begin the process 6-9 months in advance. A good place to start is the Center for Career Development, located in Wilbur Cross 202. A section of its website is focused exclusively on internships (www.internships.uconn.edu).
Can I incorporate study abroad courses in my major?
Yes, study abroad is an important part of many individualized majors’ plans of study. It can help you build academic and personal strength; test your skills and adaptability in a new environment; and see the world from new and varied perspectives.
Identifying a program where you can pursue your particular interests may take some time. Plan ahead! Begin doing research on programs at least 12-18 months before planning to travel. The Education Abroad office is located in Rowe 117 and online at www.abroad.uconn.edu.
Can I include courses from other UConn schools or colleges?
Yes, you can include courses from other schools or colleges such as the School of Business, the School of Fine Arts , and the Neag School of Education, but some schools or colleges may impose restrictions. A minimum of 18 credits of the 36 2000-level or higher credits in your individualized major must be courses of the College (CLAS or CAHNR) granting your degree.
Can I double major with an individualized major?
Yes, you can earn a double major with an individualized major and a traditional major within the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) or the College of Agriculture Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR). A double major worksheet is available to assist your planning. If you wish to double-major in two different colleges, you must opt for an additional degree. Talk to an IISP advisor about additional degree requirements.
Can I earn a B.S. in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as an individualized major?
Yes, you must complete the B.S. general education requirements and have 24 credits of science courses in your individualized major plan of study. These science courses must be from CLAS departments that offer B.S. degrees.
Do I have to fulfill general education and college graduation requirements?
Yes, you are responsible for fulfilling all the requirements for the college in which you are enrolled.
What is the difference between a Bachelor of General Studies Degree and an individualized major?
The Individualized Major Program is different from the BGS in several ways.
Bachelor of General Studies Degree:
- Designed for returning adult students
- Open to individuals who already have two years of college experience (60 credits or an Associate’s degree)
- Students’ upper-level coursework can be drawn from a variety of departments and must include no more than 21 credits from any single department.
- Students graduate with a Bachelor of General Studies degree, and a General Studies major
- Requirements are detailed in the Undergraduate Catalog
The Individualized Major Program:
- Students design their own major in consultation with three faculty advisors and IISP staff.
- A student’s major proposal must have a well-defined, coherent theme and must include at least 36 credits at the 2000-level or higher drawn from two or more departments.
- Proposals are evaluated by the Individualized Major Advisory and Admissions Committee comprised of faculty members from the two Colleges granting an individualized major
- Students graduate with an Individualized major. The specific title of their major (e.g. “Health and Social Inequality”) is included on their transcript and diploma.
- Students earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees from the College of Liberal Arts and Science (CLAS) or the College of Agriculture Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR)
- Open to students who are beginning their third semester of undergraduate work or who have completed 30 credits