Individual Studies Program

Director: Kat Saxton

The Individual Studies Program (ISP) major has been established to meet the needs of students who wish to design a course of studies with a multidisciplinary perspective. ISP majors can lead to a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree or a bachelor of science (B.S.) degree in social science. ISP does not offer a bachelor of science (natural science) degree option.

Courses for the ISP major must be chosen from a significant number of different disciplines. Such curricular diversity for ISP proposals is considered essential and defining of any ISP major. There is a strong preference for curriculum for the proposed ISP major to be constituted from existing courses, as opposed to independent study or directed readings courses.

Study abroad courses can play an important role in an ISP major but are subject to limits. Courses taken abroad may be used to complete no more than four courses in the proposed plan of study.

The student must identify and secure a faculty advisor who agrees to oversee the ISP major. All continuing SCU faculty members in good standing may serve as the academic advisor for an ISP major. The faculty member’s area(s) or expertise must intersect with the student’s proposed area of study. The faculty member is responsible for reviewing and approving the coursework (including possible electives and, if necessary, substitutions) and for providing the ISP student with at minimum annual advising during the spring quarter. The faculty advisor also agrees to complete the student’s pre-graduation audit associated with the ISP major requirements.

Requirements for the Major

In addition to fulfilling Undergraduate Core Curriculum requirements for the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science (social science) degrees within the College of Arts and Sciences, students majoring in ISP must complete the following programmatic requirements:

  • Be a full-time student at Santa Clara for at least one year
  • Have fewer than 111 quarter units of academic work completed at the time of application
  • Have a minimum 3.0 grade point average
  • Submit a Petition for Admission to the ISP director for review and approval. The petition should include:
  • A clear, logical, and conceptually refined description of the proposed program
  • A well developed argument, supported by appropriate evidence, showing that no existing academic major can meet the student’s educational objectives
  • A plan of study listing courses, seminars, internships, etc., that meets the student’s educational objectives and fulfills the requirements of the undergraduate Core Curriculum
  • An academic advisor whose expertise is associated with the proposed area of study and who has agreed to serve as the student’s academic advisor for the ISP major

Students who want to pursue an ISP major should begin by scheduling a meeting with the program director to obtain a list of instructions regarding administrative details.