Individualized Studies (Western Program)


Bachelor of Arts | College of Arts and Science

What is Individualized Studies (Western Program)?

The degree in Individualized Studies offers an academic home for students with multiple interests to develop their own plan of study by integrating a set of core classes with courses in almost any area of study. Western courses explore diverse subjects but share a strong interdisciplinary theme. By emphasizing the importance of studying complex issues from multiple perspectives, these courses equip students with skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and objective analysis. The individualized portion of the major is designed by students in close consultation with faculty and staff advisers and draws from courses across the university. The degree culminates in a student-designed project that positions students for entry into graduate school or the workplace.

What are the features of Miami’s program?

Intensive student-faculty interaction

In and out of class, faculty engage with students in a variety of ways, with a focus on enhancing the overall learning experience.

Inquiry-based curriculum

Learn by doing in a hands-on program that invites you to make new knowledge, not just read about it.

Interdisciplinary approach

Our faculty work together across academic divisions to create an integrated focus on both contemporary issues and questions of enduring intellectual and social importance.

What are the special admission requirements, if any?

 There are no additional admission requirements for this program.

What courses would I take?

The major is designed for flexibility so you can develop your own course of study. In your first year, you will begin with an introductory writing-intensive course and another on interdisciplinary inquiry. You will also concentrate on the Miami Plan, a well-rounded course of study that provides you with an excellent liberal arts education. Through the Miami Plan, you will get a solid base in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, fine arts, and formal reasoning. You will be able to explore many of your academic interests, and begin to think about how you want to integrate them.

During your sophomore and junior years, you will take a three-course cluster that models the process of identifying and developing research questions relating to a contemporary issue or problem; learning and applying interdisciplinary and integrative tools for its analysis; and creating the means of addressing it through analytical, critical, and/or creative work. You will also complete 24 hours of additional coursework at the 300-level or above from around the university that represents your specific areas of focus.

In your senior year, you will create an independent capstone project, with the support of our faculty, which integrates your interests. Along with other students, you will present that project in a public setting.

What can I do with this major?

 Your degree will give you a strong background in analysis, interpretation, and problem-solving. Upon graduation, you might head off to a graduate program for a master's or a Ph.D. or attend law school. You might seek work in a non-profit organization or a corporate setting. You might spend several years working for Teach for America, Americorps, or the Peace Corps, or start your own enterprise as a marketer or an entrepreneur. In other words, your opportunities beyond graduation would be quite comparable to that of many Miami graduates in the liberal arts.

Who can I contact for more information?

Western Program
111 Peabody Hall
Oxford, OH 45056