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Writing Your Curriculum Proposal

As you research and draft your statement of intellectual purpose, you will also be working on a curriculum proposal. Completion of a plan (i.e., curriculum) for the major approved by the LSA Curriculum Committee is a degree requirement for all students seeking an A.B./B.S. in the College. Most students will use the LSA Course Guide, the list of existing majors and minors, or the Undergraduate Course Catalog to discover applicable courses used in related majors. The curriculum proposal is offered to the Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies as an alternative way to fulfill this degree requirement and should embody the same combination of breadth, depth, and rigor as existing programs.

Your curriculum must include at least 34 credits of upper-level work. "Upper-level" typically means that the course number is 300 and above. Non-introductory courses at the 200-level may be included in a proposed curriculum with the approval of the program advisor.

The final draft of your curriculum proposal should provide the course number and titles of all courses as well as an intellectual justification (or annotation) for the inclusion of each course or category of courses. Some students choose to include a justification for each individual course. Others write a brief justification for each category (see below).  In either case, you should explain how the courses in your curriculum directly contribute to the overall learning objectives discussed in your Intellectual Statement of Purpose. Please do not include course descriptions from the LSA Course Guide in the curriculum proposal.

In designing the curriculum proposal, it may be helpful to group courses into some of the following categories (although not all categories will be appropriate for all proposals).

Prerequisites: Introductory courses (typically 100- and 200-level) that provide the basic knowledge, methods, or skills needed to complete the upper-level courses in your curriculum. Prerequisite courses are not counted in the 34 credits of upper-level work. Examples of prerequisite courses might include PSYCH 111, ECON 101, BIOLOGY 171/172/173, HMP 200, or RELIGION 201.  Prerequisite courses may be used for area distribution as long as your 34 credits of upper-level course work do not include 12 or more credits from that department.

Core Courses: Courses required to complete the Individualized Major Program. In listing courses as required, you should use the LSA Course Guide and Undergraduate Course Catalogue to find out the semesters in which the course is likely to be taught in the future and make sure to plan your schedule accordingly by planning for alternative courses as well. The major and minors index might also be useful for determining how related majors construct their core, required courses.

Methods Courses (if appropriate): Upper-level courses on the key methods used in your proposed field of study. Examples might include ECON 452, STATS 426, AMCULT 306, PSYCH 303, or COMPLXSYS 270. Computer programming and production courses might also fall into the category.

Thematic or Disciplinary Groupings of Electives: This is where you provide some flexibility in your proposal. Group your elective courses together according to discipline, content area, or skills sets. Specify how many courses you will take from each grouping and provide yourself with some alternatives in case of scheduling conflicts or registration difficulties. For example, an Individualized Major Program on comparative religion might take two upper-level courses in each of the following areas: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Asian religions (listing four or five possible courses in each). Alternately, the proposal might require at least one course in each of the following disciplinary perspectives: psychology of religion, philosophy of religion, sociology and anthropology of religion, and history of religious traditions.

Experiential Courses, Field Work, Research, Internships, and Study Abroad: It is highly recommended that you explore opportunities to apply the knowledge and skills that you are developing in your Individualized Major Program in ‘real world’ settings. Examples might include courses associated with Project Community (SOC 225), Program in Intergroup Relations (UC 320, 321, 370 or 470), Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates (UC 275), Michigan in Washington, or Semester in Detroit.

Senior Seminar: All  Individualized Major Program students are required to take the IMP Senior Seminar (UC 455, 3 credits) in the fall of their senior year. The course will focus on the concept of interdisciplinarity as well as helping students conceptualize, articulate, and present the accomplishments of their individualized majors. As part of the seminar, students will design and propose a senior project to be completed during the winter semester. The project must be approved by the program advisor and have the support of at least one faculty sponsor. Students have the option of registering for up to three credits of Directed Study (UC 499, 1-3 credits) with their faculty sponsor in the winter semester as they work on their projects. The credits from the senior seminar and senior project will be counted in the 34 required credits.