How It Works

The Individualized Studies Program is for students who have a clear post-graduate career path which is not directly addressed by an established major within the Columbia College curriculum. We offer an Individualized Studies major in which two or more academic disciplines can be combined. This major is based on a student-developed proposal that identifies the curricular areas to be bridged and the professional competencies that they will address.

The proposal should be the result of research and advising, and it should include a rationale for why the intended outcomes could not be addressed with an existing double major or major/minor combination. Students preparing an Individualized Studies proposal must work with at least two faculty members from different programs which are both represented in the proposed coursework. The role of these faculty advisors will be to help the student formulate an achievable plan which integrates courses from separate areas into a combined conceptual framework.

Once the proposal is approved by both/all faculty advisors and by the Director of Individualized Studies, it will be submitted to the Individualized Studies Advisory Committee for final approval. This approval will represent a contract of intent which will guide the student in course enrollment; but as with other majors, adjustments necessitated by scheduling patterns may be made with approval of the appropriate program coordinator(s).

Proposal Guidelines

Your Contractual Studies proposal provides the only description of your field of study. It will consist of a title page and a main body.
The main body of your proposal will consist of 4 sections:

(1) Definition of your field of study

(2) Personal statement

(3) Acknowledgements

(4) Course list

Instructions for Preparing a Proposal

Your proposal should reflect your best writing. Remember, this is a description of your academic career at Columbia College and will be directly reflected on your official transcript. Please start each section on a new page and number all pages.


I.    Title Page should contain the following:
Title of your field of concentration; your name, contact address, Columbia College email, names of faculty advisors, rank and department, date, and a 3-5 sentence objective summary of your concentration.

II.    Main Body of the Proposal
     1. Definition and Scope of Field
     2. This section presents (1) the formal, object description and rationale of your field of study, including an explanation why this program is degree worthy, why this program cannot be completed under a major offered at the College; and a comparison of your proposed field of study to similar fields of study at other colleges.
     3. In addition, you want to describe the scope of your field of study and how it meets your professional and personal educational goals.

III.    The Course List
     1.Present this listing on a separate page. List only the courses that will be included in your field of concentration. Do not include other courses that you take for general education, electives, or minors.
     2. List your courses by department. Use course catalog titles. To give yourself flexibility, you may wish to list more courses than you plan to take. In doing this, designate how many courses you plan to take from each department.
     3. This list will include courses you have completed, are currently taking, and intend to take. Indicate courses completed and courses in which you are currently enrolled. Indicate any courses you plan to take at another institution. Indicate total hours.

IV.    Personal Statement
     1. Because your proposal presents an individualized field of concentration, please include some personal background information. Explain why this particular concentration suites your needs, goals, and abilities: What experiences have you had that indicate this is an appropriate program; what your personal goals are; how specific people, books, and events have influenced your educational direction.
     2. Include internships or other experiential learning opportunities you have participated in or plan to that complement your studies.