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STEPS for the Development and Approval of an Individualized Degree Program

Download an instruction sheet for the IDP Process here: IDP Instructions .

A. If you would like a student perspective on the IDP before you start, our Peer Mentors can assist with general information and are available on most days on a walk-in basis or you may call in before you visit to see if a Peer Mentor is available. 

B. Meet with an advisor in the Center for Individualized Learning to discuss your proposal. Bringing a tentative list of courses you wish to consider for your program, or emailing it to the advisor in advance of your scheduled appointment will make the session more useful to you. An unofficial transcript is also helpful. Advising appointments may be scheduled by calling the Center (303-615-0525).

C. Develop your degree plan in consultation with your Center Advisor and a faculty advisor. Exploring the questions listed in the "Questions to Assist You In Your Planning" section may help you in your planning.

Faculty advisor(s): The faculty advisor is a full-time MSU Denver faculty member with expertise related to your field of study. Additional faculty may be added to your advising team as needed.

Community consultant: You may invite a community consultant to assist you. The community consultant is an expert practicing in your field who reviews your proposed academic program and serves as a resource person as you pursue your degree.

D. When you, your faculty advisor, and your Center advisor agree to your initial degree plan, write a rationale that addresses the topics below. Assistance is available from your Center advisor who will review your rationale.

Write the rationale in your own voice and include the following:

  • Concisely define and describe your field of study.
  • What are your goals for your degree program?
  • Why is the IDP the best avenue to help you achieve your goals?
  • Introduce yourself, reflecting on your experience and educational history particularly as it relates to your chosen field of study.
  • Discuss why you've chosen the specific courses and/or clusters of courses included in your program. How do the courses relate to, and support, your field of study? How do they relate to one another? How does coursework included in other parts of your degree plan support and/or relate to your proposed IDP major/minor? The rationale is an opportunity to reflect on your educational plan as a whole.

(For proposed IDP majors, please include a description of your senior experience and how that meets the criteria for senior experiences.)

E. Submit the entire proposal (rationale, degree plan, approval form, and unofficial transcript) first to your faculty advisor for review and then to the chair of the department from which a majority of credit is drawn for the IDP major or minor.

OPTIONAL: Additional documentation may be added to your proposal, e.g., information about graduate school entrance requirements, your resume, letter(s) from your community consultant(s), or any other information that is relevant to your proposal that you wish to include.

F. Submit the final proposal to the Center for Individualized Learning.

The final proposal includes:

a. Your degree plan signed by the department chair and faculty advisor

b. The rationale

c. An approval form signed by your faculty advisor, department chair, and additional faculty advisors and the community consultant if applicable. (If your emphasis title uses language that is similar to or represents the content of another department, that chair may also need to sign to approve the emphasis title. Consult your advisor in the Center for Individualized Learning to determine if this is necessary.)

d. An unofficial transcript

G. When the proposal has been reviewed by the director of the Center, it will be forwarded to the appropriate dean for review. After the dean's review, the director signs it and forwards it to the Registrar's office where it will be filed as your official degree plan.

REMEMBER! Even after your proposal is approved, you may request changes as needed with appropriate approval. As you learn, and as the curriculum at the University changes, some alterations are expected. Consult your Center advisor for assistance.


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