1. Individualized Study
  2. IS Major Requirements

student studying in reading room

The Individualized Study (IS) major is designed for highly-motivated students who want to create their own course of study. IS major students work closely with one or more faculty mentors in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (IAS) or other schools and programs at UW Bothell as they shape a degree suited to their intellectual and professional interests and ambitions.

Housed in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (IAS), IS allows students to create degree in subjects ranging from science communication and environmental education to gender studies and digital arts. The resulting student-driven curriculum includes formal and informal meetings between students and their faculty mentors, along with a portfolio-based process of self-reflection on their learning as it evolves. 

Graduating IS students develop careers and pursue graduate education in a wide variety of fields, depending on their chosen area of study. As important, they gain experience and document success in one of the crucial predictors of success in any of those fields: the ability to undertake a self-directed project in collaboration with others, to reflect critically on its development in process, and to complete it in a timely fashion. For more information about career possibilities or pursuing graduate school please click here.

Individualized Study Major Requirements


Students can't apply directly to this major. Students apply in their junior year after they have completed at least one quarter of coursework in IAS, including BIS 300. Students interested in pursuing the Individualized Study major work with a faculty member to develop a substantive proposal. (Please see the student handout for details on the application.) This proposal is then reviewed by a faculty oversight committee. If approved, requirements vary from proposal to proposal. Minimally, they need to include the following:

Degree Requirements

40 credits
A minimum of forty credits of coursework in the approved course of study, including three two-credit Portfolio Reflection courses (one in the first quarter of individualized study; one at the midpoint; and one in the final quarter). 

28 credits
BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry (5 credits)
BIS 499 Portfolio Capstone (3 credits)
Additional IAS Coursework (20 credits) 

TOTAL= 68 Credits

School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (IAS) Requirements & Policies

Interdisciplinary Practice & Reflection (IPR)

Within the above-listed 68 credits, students must complete the IPR requirement.

Areas of Knowledge

25 credits must be completed in each Area of Knowledge.The Areas of Knowledge are: Visual, Literary and Performing Arts (VLPA), Individuals and Societies (I&S), and Natural World (NW).

Multiply-designated courses may not be double-counted as fulfilling two Areas of Knowledge. Courses may apply to both an Area of Knowledge requirement and an IS major requirement.

Upper Division Credit Policy

Of the credits applying to IA major requirements, a minimum of 48 credits must be completed at the Upper Division (300-400) level.

Matriculated status

Courses taken to satisfy IS major requirements must be completed in matriculated status.

Admitted prior to Autumn Quarter, 2016?

Students admitted to the IS major prior to Autumn 2016 may be eligible to complete an older set of major requirements. For more information, please check Requirement Changes Autumn 2016 page.

Individualized Study advances the four core IAS learning objectives.

Faculty Contact


(Faculty Coordinator)

Please contact the IS Faculty Coordinator if you have any questions, concerns or ideas about the Individualized Study major. To declare the IS major, please contact a Pre-major Advisor.

IS Resources

The Individualized Study option has given me the opportunity to personalize my college career. The option has allowed me to create an emphasis on international political communication, focused on Japan and the U.S. It has encouraged me to develop deeper relationships on campus and in the community, giving me an incredible advantage to create a strong portfolio. I recommend the Individualized Study option to every student I meet! Alyssa Russell Class of 2010