Developing an Integrative Studies Major

Developing a proposal for an Integrative Studies major takes time, and involves lots of research and conversations with faculty. There are three main components to the application: the proposal form, the course list, and a letter from your Faculty Mentor. 

Be prepared to spend at least 8-10 weeks developing an application; getting started early and sticking with it are key to submitting proposals in time for the final review by the Integrative Studies Advisory Board.

First step:

Meet with the Integrative Studies Coordinator.
This initial conversation will help you understand the parameters of developing an effective and feasible plan, and whether there might be other approaches for you to meet your goals, such as by combining existing majors and minors at the College. The Coordinator may also recommend you consider developing your plan around one of the possible platforms that have been identified and developed by faculty, based on years of students interest.

Next steps include:

Meeting with faculty in the areas you want to include in your plan
If you don’t know faculty in these areas yet, the Integrative Studies Coordinator can help you figure out who to contact. Another good place to start is with chairs of departments in which you want to take courses, and/or with assistant/associate deans, especially in Schools other than Humanities and Sciences. The assistant/associate deans are extremely knowledgeable and are in an excellent position to advise you. The chairs and deans can give you advice on the curriculum, on which courses may be relevant to your goals, and they can tell you when courses will next be offered. They may also refer you to faculty members who are particularly knowledgeable about the areas addressed by your plan. Through this process, you should also work to identify a faculty member who can serve as a Faculty Mentor for your plan.

Planning meeting with faculty.
Once you have begun to clarify your goals, the Integrative Studies Coordinator will bring together a group of faculty to meet with you over lunch so you can get more ideas about and direction for your plan.

Studying the Ithaca College course catalog and department web sites.
The course catalog provides information about all the official courses approved in departmental curricula, and department web sites often have additional information about special course offerings that don't appear in the catalog, such as experimental courses and selected topics courses that change across semesters. This research will help you to prepare the course list (see the Application Process section) that will accompany your proposal.

Researching majors offered at other colleges
Investigate majors offered at other colleges that are similar to the program of study you are interested in pursuing. Existing majors at other institutions can often serve as models for plans. You can obtain information about the curricular offerings at other colleges by looking at their web pages or by contacting them directly.

Contacting the Office of Career Services.
They have a wealth of information on careers and on the requirements necessary for entrance into those careers. Call and make an appointment to talk to a Career Center counselor.

Final Steps to Approval

1) When the Coordinator determines that your application is complete, the proposal and course list are circulated to chairs and deans of departments represented in your course list. Chairs and deans may, at this stage, request changes in your proposed course of study, based on availability of courses.

2)  Once approvals from all the chairs and deans involved in the review of your course list have been received, your proposal is then submitted to the Integrative Studies Advisory Board and the associate dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences for final approval. Additional revisions may be requested after this review. Note that the Advisory Board meets once each semester to review proposals, so it is important to complete all the required elements of the proposal well in advance of that meeting.

3) After approval by the Advisory Board, including any revisions requested, the Associate Dean will officially sign off on your proposal, and notify you via email. You can then submit the Change of Major form, and this point you become an official Integrative Studies major.

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