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School of Education

Individual Major–Education

The Individual Major provides an opportunity to develop a unique course of study for undergraduates interested in alternative educational careers, graduate work, or an area of education outside existing degree programs. The Individual Major does not lead to a professional license or certification. Graduates earn a B.S.–Education degree.

Admission requirements. 2.75 cumulative GPA based on all college transferable coursework; 2.75 cumulative GPA on the UW–Madison campus; minimum of 54 credits; approval of major program proposal submitted by the applicant. (Note: For alternative calculation of cumulative GPAs, see Last 60 Credits Rule).

Graduation requirements. 2.75 cumulative GPA; 2.75 major GPA; 2.75 GPA over all upper level (numbered 300 and above) major coursework; major and senior residency requirements; minimum of 120 credits. Graduation GPA requirements may be modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule.

Liberal Studies and General Education Requirements. Choose the appropriate set of requirements depending on college start date:

Development of the major. Students must have an area of interest that they wish to develop into a 36–42 credit formalized program of study, or major. Advisors in Education Academic Services, Room 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, can discuss students' interests and help frame the written narrative required of the major. Applicants must develop a narrative describing the proposed course of study and its related career goals. Information should be included which will enable a faculty committee to identify the relationship among the proposed program of study, a general interest in education, and career goals. A program title cannot duplicate the existing title of any program at UW–Madison.

Selection of major coursework. Students must select courses that support the program narrative, in consultation with the major advisor; see below. All courses in the major must be from School of Education course offerings. All credits in the major must be completed after admission into the program (IME classification).

Additional requirements regarding the major are:

  • To ensure depth and breadth of study, no more than two-thirds of the total credits in a major can be taken from any one department (i.e., if a major is 36 credits, no more than 24 credits can be in one department).
  • A sequential development of courses must be planned in consultation with the major advisor and committee, and must be approved by the committee. The course sequence must include beginning through advanced levels of work as prescribed by the credit distribution.
  • At least 20 of the IME credits must be at the intermediate or advanced levels (generally numbered 300 or above, but this varies in some departments).
  • Courses in the School of Education completed prior to admission to the IME classification may not be used toward satisfaction of the 36–42 credits in the major without the faculty committee and associate dean's approval. The credits may count toward the 120 credits required for graduation.
  • An Individual Major which essentially parallels an existing departmental major will not be accepted.
  • Directed study credits (399, 699) are acceptable, but each course must be accompanied by a statement that includes a description of the focus of study, the requirements for successful completion of the credits, and a discussion of the applicability of content to the proposed Individual Major. Usually no more than three credits of Independent Study will be allowed. Approval of the associate dean is required in order to exceed three credits.
  • Students must complete prerequisites for all courses and, in some departments, may be required to complete foundational courses.

Selecting the advisory committee and major advisor. The applicant must create a three-member committee to oversee his or her work. Only assistant, associate, and full professors may serve on the committee; individuals holding such titles as Lecturer or Instructor cannot serve in this capacity. One of the committee members will be selected by the student to be the major advisor. The major advisor must be from a department within the School of Education and from the department in which the majority of courses for the Individual Major will be taken, i.e., the core area of study. The second faculty member must be from the same department as the major advisor/committee chair. The third faculty member must be from another department in the School of Education in which courses will be taken for the Individual Major. The associate dean serves as ex officio to the three-member committee and gives final approval to all programs and any exceptions.

Application procedures. Once a committee of three persons has been chosen in accord with the guidelines and required courses have been selected, students should proceed as follows:

  • Submit a School of Education program application form
  • Submit the program plan and narrative with the transfer application for associate dean's approval. The three-member committee must sign the proposal in the spaces indicated. Failure to submit a program narrative will void the transfer. Obtain the program plan form from Education Academic Services.

Once an application form has been submitted, changes must be approved by both the chair of the committee and the associate dean. Changes must be recorded on the program plan. If more than two program changes are made, a new application form must be filed by the student.