Individualized Studies

College of Arts and Sciences

An Individualized Studies major is a special interdisciplinary major designed by an individual student. Each Individualized Studies program is unique.

Major category: Minimum requirements

Curricular options: Disability Studies, Self-Designed majors

Topic: Social sciences

Applicant type


Freshmen can apply to the UW to begin autumn quarter or winter quarter (U.S. applicants only)

Read more about applying to the UW as a freshman, including details for programs that provide high school students with college credit (like Running Start).


Preparation for the major is a factor in transfer admission. Use the information below to help you prepare for this degree

Department admission information

  • Departmental application deadline: Must enroll at the UW before applying to the major.
  • Please contact the department for details about the application process.

Individualized Studies is an interdisciplinary major option for students who wish to create a program of study by combining selected courses from two or more departments. Students are required to identify a central organizing theme for their major and design it under the guidance and supervision of at least two faculty members and an Individualized Studies adviser.



Required for admission to the major

Before developing an Individualized Studies major, students should read Designing an Individualized Studies Major. (A copy may be obtained from the Gateway Center, 171 Mary Gates Hall.) Particular attention should be paid to the sections defining restrictions on themes and restricted access to courses. Individualized Studies majors are not possible in a number of subjects because the UW does not offer sufficient coursework. Upper-division courses in departments with competitive admission are generally not available to students not in that major and ordinarily cannot be included in Individualized Studies proposals.

After reading the guidelines, the student must go through the following steps to design a major:

  1. Identify the unifying interdisciplinary theme of the program of study.
  2. Make a list of courses taken or planned to be taken toward this goal. This list should comprise between 50 and 70 quarter credits, all of which are related to the area of concentration. These courses must come from at least two departments, but may come from any number of areas, so long as interrelationships are discernible. Most of the courses must be 300- and 400-level courses. At least half of the 50-70 credits selected for the major must come from courses taught within the College of Arts and Sciences.
  3. Draft a statement that describes the proposed major and discusses the interrelationships among the chosen courses. Propose a brief, descriptive title for the major.
  4. Submit the proposal to the Individualized Studies Committee for initial approval. Prospective majors should submit proposals to the Individualized Studies Committee for review at least three quarters prior to graduation.
  5. Identify at least two faculty sponsors for the major. The faculty sponsors attest to the intellectual soundness of the proposal and agree to provide whatever guidance is jointly decided upon. They may also suggest changes in the previously approved written proposal or list of courses.
  6. Obtain final approval from an Individualized Studies adviser.
  7. Transfer students must be enrolled at the UW before applying to the major.
  8. Admission requirements for the three faculty-designed major options vary. See an adviser for more details.

Entering transfer information:

Total undergraduates: 9
Total from Washington community colleges: 4

Entering transfer GPA (from WA community colleges):

3.75 – 4.00: 1
3.50 – 3.74: 0
3.25 – 3.49: 0
3.00 – 3.24: 1
2.75 – 2.99: 1
2.50 – 2.74: 1
2.49 and below: 0

Career outcomes:

Outcomes unavailable for this major. See other majors with similar topic categories.