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FAQ's: Individualized Degree Program (IDP)

What is the Individualized Degree Program?

The IDP is a way for you to create your own major or minor. The Individualized Degree Program allows you to combine courses from departments across the University and to use your relevant transfer credit to create an exciting and new interdisciplinary major or minor that reflects your own specific educational goals and interests.

Is an IDP major or minor as legitimate as any other degree at MSU Denver?

YES. IDP majors and minors are fully legitimate, approved by the faculty, and fully accredited as a part of MSU Denver's accreditation by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

Can I go to graduate school if I have an IDP major or minor?

Yes. Graduate surveys indicate 30% of IDP graduates are either enrolled in graduate school or intend to enroll at a later date. IDP graduates have gone on to graduate school in programs as diverse as law school, counseling, theatre, anthropology, public administration, theology and business. You are encouraged to research graduate school entry requirements while you develop your degree plan.

Do employers recognize an IDP major or minor?

Surveys report the majority of IDP graduates are working in jobs related to their IDP programs. Employers of IDP graduates reported in a survey that IDP graduates were consistently above average in their job related knowledge and skills. Some IDP students invite employers and other practicing professionals to participate in their advising committees as community consultants. Community consults help students design majors or minors to meet specific and projected needs in the workplace and in the community. You will also be encouraged to research the knowledge and skill requirements for your chosen career path as a part of developing your proposal for your IDP major or minor.

What will my major be called?

The title will be Individualized Studies: (your emphasis title here). You will develop your emphasis title in collaboration with your faculty and Center advisors. The emphasis title will describe your specific program, and it cannot duplicate the titles of majors and minors already offered at MSU Denver.

Can IDP students do internships in their fields?

Yes. IDP students are encouraged to include internships in their major or minor proposals if they wish, but internships are not required.

How long does it take to develop an IDP proposal?

Generally, a proposal for an IDP major or minor can be developed within one semester or less. But, as the degree is individualized, the length of time students need to develop their proposals will also vary widely. An IDP proposal is a thoughtful and reflective process that may involve some research into workplace requirements and trends, graduate schools, or similar undergraduate programs at other colleges & universities.

Can my proposal be changed after it is submitted?

Yes. Because you change as you learn and the courses at the University will change, adjusting the courses you've selected for your major or minor can be done with a "Degree Exception Form." The form must be signed by the department chair who approved your original proposal and by the director of the Center who will submit it to the Registrar. If it becomes desirable to change your program significantly, you may be asked to submit a letter explaining your rationale for the changes. If you are in effect, submitting a new proposal that will require a different faculty advisor and possibly a different chair, then you may submit a new proposal.

Who can tell me what classes to register for?

You will have a team of advisors that will include a faculty advisor and an advisor from the Center for Individualized Learning, and may include others including a community consultant and other faculty who have expertise in your areas of interest. The sooner your proposal is developed and approved, the sooner you will know exactly what you need to complete to finish your degree. While your proposal is in process, your faculty advisor and/or your Center advisor can help you consider what courses are most appropriate for you.

How do I get a Degree Progress report?

A Degree Progress report is generated from the MSU Denver database to show you exactly what you've completed towards your degree requirements. To obtain a degree progress report for an IDP program, your proposal must have been submitted and approved so it can be built into the academic database at MSU Denver for you.

Does it take longer to graduate with an IDP major?

No. The number of hours required to graduate are the same as for any other degree at MSU Denver, a minimum of 120 semester credit hours. In some cases, it will take less time to graduate with an IDP because some transfer credit can be more easily incorporated into an IDP than into other proscribed majors at the University.

What are the deadlines for submitting an IDP proposal?

There is a requirement for "hours left to complete" for each IDP option. We recommend submitting your proposal as soon as you are clear about your goals for your degree and when possible, at least two years before you intend to graduate. Absolute deadlines for proposals are published on this website and are at least one semester before the semester you intend to graduate. The sooner your proposal is complete, the sooner you can have confidence that you know exactly what you need to take for your degree.

Are scholarships available?

Scholarships are available by applying through the Scholarship Center (303-556-8593, SSB130). 

How long has MSU Denver had the IDP?

An individualized degree option has been available at the University since the mid 1970's.

How many IDP students are there?

Approximately 400 students participate in the IDP option each year.