College of LAS « Illinois

Individual Plans of Study Major

Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences may choose from 70 different undergraduate programs. However, since it is impossible to anticipate or specify all possible undergraduate fields of study, the college encourages the growth of new academic disciplines by sponsoring an additional, experimental major called the Individual Plans of Study (IPS) program. IPS invites students to create an original major that is appropriate for their individual educational needs and is characterized by a unique pattern of upper-level courses with a new academic direction.

How to Develop an IPS

The development of an IPS major begins with a student's perception that a more appropriate field of study could exist beyond the present majors. Consultation with the secretary of the IPS Advisory Committee and with faculty members in related fields will soon establish whether an original major is worth pursuing. Then, with the cooperation of one or more faculty members who consent to serve as advisors for this IPS program, an IPS major is planned and justified as carefully as if this were a departmental major.

Although an IPS program is usually interdisciplinary, combining courses from several departments and even colleges, the IPS program is part of LAS's sciences and letters curriculum. Thus, the general education requirements for graduation are the same as for other sciences and letters majors. Once an IPS program is formulated, the student and advisor make formal application to the IPS Advisory Committee, which evaluates and decides whether a proposed IPS program is appropriate for the aims of the student and the college. Students interested in IPS are encourage to inquire as early as possible in their sophomore year. In all cases, IPS programs must be initiated and approved before the end of the student's junior year.

IPS students who wish to pursue a minor must receive the approval of their advisor.

Examples of Innovative Majors Developed Through IPS

  • Cinematography
  • Entomology
  • Environmental Studies
  • Meteorology
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Neuroscience

Degree Requirements: To graduate, students must fulfill a core set of requirements established by the college as well as the requirements specific to the Individual Plans of Study major. Always consult with the advisor.