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Individual Studies Major

The Eleanor Roosevelt College Individual Studies Major is designed to meet the needs of students who have a definite academic interest for which a suitable major is not offered at UCSD. With the assistance of an approved faculty advisor and the approval of the Eleanor Roosevelt College Executive and Policy Committee, a student may pursue this major within the College's guidelines.  Read more about the application process.

Honors within the Major

To qualify for honors within the Individual Studies Major, in addition to the requirements for the major, you must meet the following criteria:

  • have an overall grade point average of at least 3.5
  • have a major grade point average of 3.7
  • complete eight units of ERC 196 "Honors Thesis" (beyond the 60 upper division units required for a B.A. degree)
  • receive the recommendation of your faculty sponsor


Students who meet the above criteria for graduation with an Individual Studies Major will be granted a Bachelor of Arts degree.  The diploma will bear a statement that the degree has been granted "With Studies in ___________" at the place where a conventional major is cited.


  • You must have completed at least 60 units of work at UCSD, including "Making of the Modern World" 11, 12, 13, and 14. (Transfer students must have at least one quarter of residence at UCSD).
  • You must have at least a 3.0 grade point average and be in good academic standing.
  • The major program must include a minimum of twelve four-unit upper division classes from at least two different academic departments at UCSD.
  • All major courses must be taken for a letter grade, and you must earn at least a C- in each course to have it counted toward the major.
  • A grade point average of 2.0 overall and in the major is required for graduation.
  • No more than 12 units of Eleanor Roosevelt College 199 "Independent Study" may be used toward the major.  

If you are planning to attend graduate or professional school or are seeking a California teaching credential, you should consult the entrance requirements of particular schools and incorporate relevant requirements into your program.


  1. Complete the Eleanor Roosevelt College Individual Studies Major Proposal with the assistance of a faculty advisor.
  2. Attach statement of purpose.
  3. Obtain faculty advisor's signature and statement if appropriate.
  4. Attach quarter by quarter plan for proposed major.
  5. Make an appointment with the Dean of Academic Advising and bring in the four items mentioned above.

IMPORTANT: Read Before Scheduling Your Appointment 

Before Scheduling Your Appointment

Please read carefully all of the attached materials before making an appointment with the Dean of Academic Advising. Here is a brief overview of some key points regarding an Individual Studies Major (ISM):

  • You must have a minimum cumulative gpa of 3.0. there are no exceptions!
  • In order to do an ISM, you will need to design a major that is the equivalent (in terms of breadth, depth, theory, and implementation) of the 160+ departmental and program majors at UCSD that have been approved by the Academic Senate’s Committee on Educational Policy (CEP).
  • You, along with your faculty sponsor (see attached), will be 100% responsible for the design and content of this major. Your resulting proposal will be submitted for approval to a faculty committee composed of representatives from the different UCSD academic divisions.
  • There is no guarantee that your proposal will be approved. The faculty committee may request revisions, may approve it fairly quickly, or may never approve it. Even under the best of circumstances, the application, revision, and acceptance process can take several quarters. Therefore, as noted below, you should submit your initial full proposal at least three quarters prior to your anticipated term of graduation, and preferably earlier.

Materials to bring to your first appointment with the dean of advising:

At minimum, you should bring a brief (2-3 pages) preliminary summary of your desired ISM, including the following information:

  • The purpose of the major
  • Its relationship to your goals
  • The reasons why this program cannot be accommodated within some existing CEP-approved majors and/or minors
  • A summary of the kinds of courses you plan to use for the major