ISM Academic Program

Academic Requirements for ISMs

An Individualized Studies Major is an interdisciplinary, student-designed program of study, resulting in a BA or BS degree that meets the below requirements. The ISM:

  • Has a concise, specific unifying focus that markedly differs from existing majors and minors (including subfields of existing majors e.g. Archaeology, Marine Biology, Antebellum History)
  • Consists of 36 credits:
    • 33 credits of the student's choice and 4 required credits as a capstone experience
    • A 3-credit interdisciplinary capstone course (usually IARL 460) OR a student-designed, 3-credit integrative learning internship.
  • Demonstrates depth: at least 18 credits from a single prefix (9+ at upper division level). 
  • Demonstrates breadth: credits from at least 2 prefixes.
  • Includes no more than 4 credits of Directed Study/Internships (not including the capstone, IARL 460).
  • Include 24+ credits at 200-level or above, of which 18+ must be 300-level or above.

Use the ISM Course Plan form to map out the courses you will take for your ISM.

For more information, contact the interim Individualized Studies Major Coordinator Dr. Christina Merrilees at

ISM and Geneseo Learning Outcomes for a Baccalaureate Education (GLOBE)

Individualized Studies Majors—meet Geneseo learning outcomes (GLOBE) by helping you connect knowledge and skills across areas and make connections to issues facing today’s society. In particular, an ISMs allows you to demonstrate: 

  • Integrative Inquiry: To ask meaningful questions connecting personal experiences to academic study and co-curricular life; to synthesize multiple bodies of knowledge to address real-world problems and issues. 
  • Application and Transfer: To adapt and apply skills, theories, and methods gained in one or more domains to new situations. 
  • Reflection: To reflect upon changes in learning and outlook over time; to make personal, professional, and civic plans based on that self-reflection.