Individually Structured Major

A challenging, customized program

The Individually Structured Major (ISM) offers you a unique opportunity to design an independent and interdisciplinary major if your desired plan of study cannot be accommodated by existing majors or minors at Alfred University. This major is open to highly motivated, self-directed students seeking a rigorous program of their choosing. Students propose their Individually Structured Major during their sophomore year and work closely with an advisory team of faculty members for support throughout their education. During their senior year, ISM students complete a capstone project to complete their studies and prepare for graduate school or the world of work.

School/Division

Campus Locations

Main Campus - Alfred, NY

Major

Individually Structured Major (BA)

Minor

none offered

Considering an Individually Structured Major (ISM)? Here are the steps you will need to take.

Determine your eligibility

  • Are you still in your first or second year of school? ISM programs should be approved before the end of your sophomore year.
  • Is your GPA at 3.0 or above? Students must have a 3.0 GPA or above to start an ISM.

Explore your idea

  • Meet with the ISM coordinator Assistant Dean Corey Fecteau to discuss your ideas and potential advisory board.
  • Determine whether an existing major – or a combination of majors or minors – can suit your interests as well or better than an ISM.
  • If an ISM is your best option, this conversation should generate suggestions for faculty members to be on your 3-person Faculty Advisory Board. (Faculty members must agree to serve on your advisory board.) You will also receive the form for your ISM proposal.

Propose your plan

  • Work with your Faculty Advisory Board to develop your customized ISM program proposal, including a title for your major. Your proposal will include why you are seeking to design your own major, an explanation of the learning outcomes for your ISM, and an outline of the courses that will make up your curriculum.
  • Submit your proposal to Assistant Dean Fecteau for review. Approval for ISM proposals comes from Assistant Dean Fecteau and the ISM Steering Committee.

Once your proposal is approved, you are officially on your way to earning an Individually Structured Major. From this point on, you will work with your Faculty Advisory Board to fulfill the requirements of your proposal. In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the Individually Structured Major, as well as the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences general education requirements, you'll be required to complete the College's First Year Experience Program or Transfer Student Program.

View general education requirements here.

Some of the academic programs designed by students under the auspices of the Individually Structured Major include:

  • Museum Studies and Entrepreneurship
  • Ecological Psychology; Historic Preservation
  • Integrated Emergency and Disaster Relief Operations
  • Media Politics
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Violence and Conflict Studies
  • Sustainability and Food Systems Journalism
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