Individually Planned Major

The chance to personalize your major.

You’re unique – why shouldn’t your course of study be unique, too? An individually planned major, or IPM, allows students to formulate and stylize their education based on their interests, desired career path and where they want to go in life. Each student’s individualism and creativity is allowed to flourish in this personalized, one-of-a-kind education.

Please understand that an IPM is not for everyone.

For most students, as they are planning their academic journey with an advisor, they’ll find that one of our existing majors in combination with a minor or a second major will meet their goals. This is especially true when that course of study is coupled with the right elective courses, internships, research experiences, and study abroad. But if you are seeking an academic program that truly cannot be offered with existing programs at Oglethorpe, then an IPM may be just the thing.

You may also choose to do an individually planned minor (IPM). Oglethorpe’s individually planned minor serves the same basic role as does the individually planned major (IPM) except that the former is smaller in scope, more narrowly focused.

IPM Interest Form


How does it work?

Before you get carried away filling out any forms, there are some things to consider.

Here is the IPM application process.

The entire IPM approval process can take anywhere from one semester to a year and a half. As graduate Christian Harnett ‘14 stated about IPMs:  “you probably don’t know enough about your career aspirations or the curriculum to make that decision” in your first year. That means you will be researching academic programs from around the country or around the world, writing and editing your narrative and plans, and making sure you know which classes you will need. You will be doing all this on top of your current courses and extracurricular commitments.

All IPMs are Bachelor of Arts degrees (B.A. or B.A.L.S.). That means that your diploma will say Bachelor of Arts. None of Oglethorpe’s diplomas include major information; however, your transcript would show your IPM’s title once it has been approved.

Each IPM must have an Area of Concentration (AC), and it is one particular academic discipline. It could be Mathematics, Economics, Art, Politics, Communications, or many, many other academic fields. Think of the AC as the main lens through which you are viewing the subject studied of your IPM. Sixteen credits hours of your major coursework for the IPM must be in advanced/non-introductory courses from the AC.

Though an IPM could consist of courses only from the Area of Concentration, most IPMs have one or more auxiliary academic disciplines. Each of these is classified as an Other Field of Study (OFS) in the IPM. Like with the AC, an OFS could be Spanish, Sociology, English, Business Administration, Biology, or many, many other academic fields. Think of each OFS as an alternate lens through which you are viewing the subject of your IPM. Courses from an OFS may be either at the introductory level or the advanced level.

That is a trick question. An IPM requires a minimum of 36 credit hours and cannot include your General Education courses. This means a minimum of 36 credit hour beyond all required TU Core coursework or ADP distribution requirement coursework. Of those 36 credit hours, 16 must be in the AC. At Oglethorpe, where courses are typically 4 credit hours each, an IPM would traditionally be at least 9 classes.

Yes! Since the degree for an IPM is a Bachelor of Arts, a foreign language is required. You can either continue a foreign language you have studied previously or start a new one. You must have at least one semester of a foreign language at the second-semester elementary level or higher. At Oglethorpe, this means you must complete at least the 102 course in the foreign language of your choice.

Yes! In fact, we encourage you to take courses at other institutions through the ARCHE Program, as a transient student, or even through one of our partner institutions abroad. As with any major at Oglethorpe, such courses would need to be approved in advance as part of your IPM Application. So, incorporate these types of learning experiences in your plan before you actually take them. Just something to keep in mind.

Sure! A course can be part of an IPM as long as (1) you earned a grade of a “C-” or better in the course, (2) it was accepted by the University Registrar as transferable coursework, and (3) it is not being used to satisfy another requirement, like TU’s Core or ADP’s distribution requirements.

Absolutely!  You can start by filling out the IPM Interest Form, and we’ll be happy to reach out and talk to you.


As described in the IPM process, both parts of the application must be approved by your sponsoring faculty member, by the faculty chairperson of the division in which the proposed major’s area of concentration is housed and by the associate provost.

Related Resources