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(Click here if you're interested in an individualized minor rather than a major.)
The Individualized Major Program admits new students twice a year, in spring and fall. Admission is non-competitive; each application is judged on its own merits. Applying for an individualized major is a semester-long process during which you'll reflect on your academic goals and design a personalized curriculum in consultation with your faculty sponsor(s) and the IMP staff. The steps of this process are described below.
When to Apply
Students generally apply to the IMP as sophomores or juniors, but it is possible to apply as early as the second semester of your freshman year or as late as the beginning of your senior year. You will need to complete at least three semesters in the IMP, so if you wait to apply until the beginning of your senior year, plan to spend at least one extra semester at IU.
There are no prerequisite courses for the IMP, but we do require you to have completed at least one semester at IU Bloomington with a minimum GPA of 2.5. The general-education requirements (foreign language, breadth of inquiry, etc.) for the IMP are the same as those for any other bachelor of arts degree from the College of Arts and Sciences.Top of page
The application deadlines for upcoming semesters are as follows.
- Rough draft deadline: Thursday, October 17
- Final application deadline: Thursday, November 07
- Rough draft deadline: Thursday, March 12
- Final application deadline: Thursday, April 02
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Prospective IMP students should schedule an initial consultation with the IMP assistant director. This is an informational session when you can ask questions about the program and the assistant director can get a better sense of your interests. To schedule an appointment, contact the IMP office. Please include your schedule availability and a brief description of your academic goals. You're welcome to schedule a consultation even if you don't plan to apply right away.Top of page
Choose a Sponsor
Choosing a faculty sponsor to supervise your individualized major is one of the most crucial steps in the admission process. Sponsors offer students expert advice on the content of their majors and overall support in the completion of their degrees. It is important that your sponsor know your subject, but it is equally important that your sponsor know you.
You are only required to have one sponsor, although the interdisciplinary nature of your proposed major might call for having two sponsors with expertise in complementary fields. Having more than two sponsors is not recommended. At least one sponsor of each student should be a full-time faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Finding a sponsor can be difficult for some students, especially those who have not been on campus long and are not acquainted with many faculty members. The most common way to enlist a sponsor is to approach a faculty member whose expertise is in your area of interest and with whom you are studying or have already studied. Faculty profiles on departmental websites, the Current Sponsors page on this site, and the IMP staff can also be helpful in identifying potential sponsors.
You should plan to contact several prospective sponsors to discuss the IMP and your proposed program of study. Keep in mind that your success in persuading faculty members to take an interest in your major can depend on a variety of factors, including their current workload and predisposition toward working individually with students. Don't be discouraged if a faculty member declines the opportunity to serve as your sponsor. You may have to knock on several doors before you succeed.Top of page
Submit a Consent Memo
Once a faculty member has agreed to be your sponsor, please have them complete the following form and submit it to the IMP office:
If you have more than one sponsor, please submit a separate Consent Memo for each sponsor.
It's best to submit the Consent Memo as early as possible — don't wait until the other application materials are due. Submitting it early will give the IMP staff an opportunity to reach out to your sponsor(s) and orient them to their role so they will be better prepared to assist you in developing your major.Top of page
Submit a Draft Application
After you've secured a faculty sponsor and submitted a consent memo, the next step is to prepare a rough draft of your application. Your draft should include the Curriculum Planning Form and the Admission Statement. Please see Preparing Your Application for detailed instructions.
Submit your draft to the IMP office by the rough draft deadline, either in person or electronically. The IMP staff will review it and provide feedback about ways to strengthen your application. Unclear writing in the Admission Statement and incorrect numbers of credit hours on the Curriculum Planning Form are examples of the potential issues we check for at this stage.Top of page
Submit a Final Application
After receiving feedback on your rough draft, make any necessary revisions in consultation with your sponsor(s). Your sponsor(s) must sign the final version of your Curriculum Planning Form to indicate that they have read and approved both it and the Admission Statement. Please do not submit an application that your sponsor(s) have not approved. It is very important that they be familiar with the contents of your application, as they will be asked about it during the admission interview.
Submit a hard copy of your final application to the IMP office by the final application deadline. After submitting the Curriculum Planning Form and Admission Statement, your final application process will be complete once responses to the online scheduling poll have been received from you and your sponsor(s). Please see Preparing Your Application for detailed instructions.Top of page
The admission process culminates with the admission interview. Interviews are scheduled by the IMP staff based on the information provided in your online scheduling poll responses; they generally take place near the end of the semester.
You and your sponsor(s) will be interviewed by a two-member subcommittee of the IMP Faculty Committee. A member of the IMP staff will also be present. The discussion will revolve around your proposed course of study as described in your application materials.
The interview may last up to 90 minutes, although it is likely to be shorter than that. The committee chair will ask you to leave the room for the first and last 15 minutes of the interview to allow committee members to deliberate among themselves and consult with your sponsor(s) about any specific concerns.
You should be prepared to discuss the following topics during your admission interview:
- Why your educational needs cannot be met by majors in other departments, double majors, or interdepartmental majors.
- The rationale behind your course selections. The committee may recommend or require changes to your course selections in order to add coherence, depth, or usefulness to the major.
- The professors who will supervise your proposed independent-study courses. IMP students most commonly work with their faculty sponsors on independent-study courses, but there will be cases when the sponsor may not be the most appropriate supervisor for a given course.
- How the proposed course of study relates to your career aspirations or plans for postgraduate work.
- Your plans for the final project. These plans do not have to be set in stone at the time of admission; however, the closer you are to your intended graduation date, the more specific you will need to be.
You will be informed of the committee's decision at the end of the admission interview. There are three possible outcomes:
- Admission: This is by far the most common outcome. The committee may decide to accept your proposed major as-is, or they may require you to make some small changes (such as the addition of a course).
- Conditional admission: The committee may require you to revise and resubmit your Curriculum Planning Form and/or your Admission Statement and admit you once the materials are satisfactory. In most cases this does not require a second interview.
- Denial: The committee may decide not to admit you. This is the least common outcome and usually means that the committee believes you would be better served by an existing major. If your application is denied, you are welcome to revise it and reapply in a future semester.
If you are admitted to the IMP, you will receive an official admission letter via e-mail a few weeks after the interview. The admission letter will include a list of any requirements or recommendations, so be sure to keep it for future reference.Top of page