Independently Designed Major/IDM
Students who wish to pursue a major other than an existing disciplinary or interdisciplinary major may propose an independently designed major (IDM). This option for a major requires considerable initiative and self-discipline from students who elect it. Students pursuing the independently designed major must have the independence to work outside the support and curricular framework ordinarily provided by established departments and programs. The independently designed major is fundamentally interdisciplinary. The course of study within this major must be supported and approved by two faculty sponsors from two different departments/programs. It permits students working with a major advisor and associate advisor from different departments/programs to design special interdisciplinary concentrations according to particular interests and needs.
- All IDMs must be approved by the Curriculum Executive Committee.
- The registrar will designate courses on the student’s transcript that constitute the independently designed major.
- IDM students may double major but are required to follow CC guidelines regarding double majoring, which include the following: the CEC must approve the option; in no case may more than three courses within the two majors overlap; the student must have one advisor in the traditional major and two in the IDM.
- IDM students may petition to have their associate advisor be a CC staff member in the event that staff member has content expertise related to the student's IDM topic.
- IDM applications involving an English faculty advisor must be approved by the entire department.
- IDM students are required to meet once per academic year with the IDM director to ensure they are making adequate progress toward the degree. It is also expected that the student will meet frequently with both IDM faculty advisors, particularly as they approach the thesis.
All IDMs will meet the following guidelines:
- A minimum of 12 units or a maximum of 15 units may be counted toward the IDM.
- A maximum of 4 units at the 100 course level can be counted toward the major. Language courses at the 100 level cannot be counted as part of the major.
- A minimum of 10 units designated must be at the 200 course number level or above.
- Courses should be progressively more rigorous and complex (i.e. 200, 300, and 400 level courses). Through the plan of study, it should be clear that the student is prepared to take all upper division courses.
- A minimum of 2 methodology/theory courses should be taken, one from each disciplinary foundation.
- A minimum of 1 unit of General Studies thesis courses: GS 400 or GS401.
- Up to three courses can be transferred from another institution and only one above the 100 level. All courses must be eligible for transfer per the transfer credit guidelines listed on the Registrar’s website. Syllabi for each transfer course should be submitted with the proposed plan of study.
In addition to the coursework on a student's plan of study approved by the Curriculum Executive Committee, all IDM students will complete the following:
- All appropriate All-College and elective requirements as listed in the Colorado College catalog.
- All courses approved for their plan of study, including one or two units of GS400: Senior Thesis I and GS401: Senior Thesis II.
- A minimum grade of 2.0 in each major course.
Senior thesis policies
During the junior year, IDM students will work with their IDM faculty advisors to identify potential thesis topics and thesis readers.
A student’s IDM faculty advisors may serve as the thesis readers for the thesis project, but a student may also elect to identify thesis readers other than the IDM Major/Associate advisor because of their expertise in the thesis topic the student is developing. Thesis readers must be identified by the beginning of spring semester of the junior year.
Students must submit a written thesis prospectus, approved by both thesis readers, by the end of the junior year.
All IDM senior theses must be completed and submitted to the first thesis reader no later than the last day of Block 7 of the Senior Year. The first reader for the thesis, in consultation with the second reader, determines the grade for the thesis.
Note regarding human subjects research
If the thesis involves human subjects research (interviews, surveys, focus groups, participant observation) the student, along with his/her thesis readers, work with the IRB to ensure that the research is carried out in an ethically and legally acceptable way. The student should contact the IRB chair as soon as she/he determines that such research methods will be used, and completes an IRB proposal (reviewed and approved by the IDM thesis readers) as soon possible. Research cannot begin until this proposal has been approved by the IRB and the IDM thesis readers.