By Frances Clause
The Individualized Curriculum Program at Youngstown State University is something students should consider if a traditional academic program does not suit their educational goals.
According to YSU’s website, students who have completed 32 study hours and maintain a grade point average of at least 2.5 have the opportunity to create a unique interdisciplinary major through an ICP.
Once a student completes an ICP proposal form, it is evaluated by a faculty committee and the ICP director. The proposal is then only approved by the dean of the college granting the degree.
ICP degrees require at least 60 semester hours of 2600 level or above coursework and 48 semester hours of coursework related to the student’s educational objectives.
Martha Pallante, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, said an ICP is a way to combine three fields that are tailored to meet an individual student’s needs.
“After a student gets their ICP proposal form approved, there are specific tracks for the student that follow certain rules,” she said. “For example, there is a student who is completing an ICP in art history which is no longer a major at YSU. [The student] is combining history, art and English literature courses.”
Other ICP concentrations include Special Information Systems, Linguistics, International Relations, Business Analysis, Computer Forensics and Arts Administration. Before beginning one of these paths, a course outline worksheet must be completed, mapping out general education courses, ICP courses and electives for the degree.
Megan Evans, a YSU graduate, discovered an ICP was the best option for her when she developed a deep interest in linguistics.
“Since I wanted to do more than just a minor with linguistics, an ICP was suggested to me by a professor,” she said. “I was able to continue minor courses as well as take courses from other departments besides the English department.”
These courses included Spanish, geography and sociology. Evans said it was rewarding to gain a broader range of knowledge through these departments and disciplines.
“Before considering an ICP, a student should find a faculty member who knows a lot about the topic the student is interested in,” she said. “That way, the student can be sure it is the best route to take rather than having a major and a minor in specific areas.”
Veronica Erjavec, a sophomore interpersonal and organizational communications major, is looking into an ICP between communications and her current minor, music.
“As I’ve aged and matured, I felt like my own personal career goals have changed,” she said. “I spent my first year as a music education major, and I just felt out of place. However, I still want to pursue music.”
Erjavec said she would like to create an arts administration path by incorporating music lessons and courses as well as communication courses.
“An ICP would be beneficial for me because it would allow me to take courses that would challenge me as a musician, student and person,” she said. “I would be able to continue my path as a musician but have some versatility, and I always loved the idea of being well rounded.”
To begin the discussion of the feasibility of designing an ICP and exploring options, the first step a student should take is emailing YSU’s ICP director, Martha Pallante at firstname.lastname@example.org.