Independent Pattern of Study

Occidental offers students, with the consultation of faculty members, the opportunity to design an Independent Pattern of Study (IPS) in lieu of a major program. An Independent Pattern of Study is appropriate when a student has a strong and well-developed motivation to pursue interdisciplinary study in areas where the College does not have a defined program. Such a program is particularly appropriate in newly emerging areas of study. It must, however, be one which is feasible for both the College and the student. The student must demonstrate to the faculty involved a record of success in completing previous work in courses, independent study and other programs.

A proposal for an IPS should include:

  1. A statement of academic purpose
  2. A program of at least 48 units, including 32 numbered 300 or greater
  3. A proposal for the Comprehensive Project
  4. Plans for faculty involvement, including regular meetings with the entire committee;
  5. An overall GPA of 3.25 or better at the time the IPS proposal is submitted for approval. 
The program of study must be endorsed by an IPS committee, composed of three members of the faculty, with no more than two faculty from the same department.

The procedure for proposing an IPS begins with the submission of a proposal to the Student Progress Committee no later than six weeks before the end of the sophomore year. (Appropriate forms are available here) The proposal, after any necessary revisions, will be presented by the student to the assembled IPS committee in preparation for final submission. Final proposals for IPS must be approved no later than the end of the sophomore year.

The student’s transcript will have “Independent Pattern of Study” listed under the heading of “Major.” The title chosen for the IPS will be identified on the transcript as an emphasis in the major.