Individualized Major

Patricia Bixel, Ph.D., Interim Dean

Individualized Major in Interdisciplinary Studies

This program offers students the opportunity to develop and complete personally designed, interdisciplinary majors that are grounded in the liberal arts and build connections with professional programs.

Students may apply for the Individualized Major in Interdisciplinary Studies at any time during their years at PLU, but it is preferred they do so prior to beginning their senior year. All students seeking an Individualized Major in Interdisciplinary Studies work with a faculty member or the program director to develop a proposal that includes:

    1. Statement of Objectives
      The student describes what the degree is expected to represent and why the individualized course of study is more appropriate than a traditional degree program. Students are encouraged to discuss vocational or career aspirations and how this course of study speaks to those goals. Applicants are encouraged to develop this statement in conversation with the program director or their faculty advisor.
    2. A Program of Study
      The student describes how the objectives will be attained through regular coursework, independent study, possible study away, internships, or other means. This proposal must outline a complete schedule of courses to be completed over the time remaining until the granting of a degree. Students are encouraged to design a program of study that reflects the following guidelines:

      1. At least 36 semester hours
      2. At least 12 semester hours of upper division courses, not including a capstone
      3. Courses from two or more disciplines
      4. If the student has another major or minor, in most instances no more than 2 courses should “double-dip” with that other major or minor
    3. Context and Background
      The student is encouraged to provide any additional context for their proposal. This may include discussion of previous academic course work, life experience, professional work experience, or other information they would like to share about why this pathway is a good choice for them at this time.
    4. Name of Preferred Faculty Advisor(s)
      The student should identify one faculty member who may serve as their primary advisor. Students may also identify one or more additional faculty members who may serve as supporting advisors. Students are encouraged to consult with the program director if they would like guidance in identifying a possible advisor.

Upon receipt of the proposal, the program administrator will invite faculty advisors to complete a Faculty Recommendation Form, indicating their assessment of the student’s ability to meet their learning goals and their willingness to support the student as a primary or secondary advisor. Proposals will then be reviewed by the program director in consultation with faculty advisors and the director of undergraduate programs. The student will be notified if the proposal has been approved or if further revisions are necessary, most often within two weeks of submission. All subsequent changes in the study plan must be submitted in writing and approved by the program director in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor(s) and the director of undergraduate programs.

When completed, this approved course of study leads to the conferral of the B.A. degree with an individualized major in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Individualized Study (IDST) - Undergraduate

IDST 491 : Independent Study

Students will develop projects in consultation with faculty advisors. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as IS: followed by the specific title designated by the student. (1 to 4)

IDST 495 : Internship

To permit undergraduate students to relate theory and practice in a work situation. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as Intern: followed by the specific title designated by the instructor in consultation with the student. (1 to 4).

IDST 499 : Capstone: Research Seminar - SR

A culminating project with public presentation around the student's area of interest. (2 to 4)