Individually Designed Majors

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Individually Designed Majors

Engineering is evolving rapidly. Many of the most interesting areas of study no longer fit within the purview of a single, traditional department. While interdisciplinary programs abound at Stanford, some undergraduate students may still find that no existing degree program meets their unique educational goals. For these students, the school offers the Individually Designed Major (IDM).

An IDM program is designed by you, with substantial faculty guidance and review. It's a rigorous process requiring a strong commitment: You must clearly define what you want, demonstrate that your interests lie outside any established program, then search out the courses, faculty, and fields that define a robust, coherent plan of study. It's not for everyone?but the rewards can far outweigh the effort.

Getting started

As a first step, you should contact Professor Brad Osgood, Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs and the head of the IDM review committee, to discuss your proposed course of study. Two faculty advisors are required to provide help and approval, at least one from the School of Engineering. You must then complete, submit, and secure approval for a comprehensive written proposal.

The proposal should be accompanied by a completed Individually Designed Major program sheet and a Four Year Plan sheet. Submit one paper copy and one electronic copy of all these documents, plus a copy of your unofficial SU transcript, to Darlene Lazar in 135 Huang, dlazar@stanford.edu. You must have at least four quarters of undergraduate work remaining at Stanford after the quarter in which your proposal is submitted. Proposals are reviewed three times per year: October, February, and May. The completed program will result in the degree of Bachelor of Science in Individually Designed Major in Engineering, plus the approved title of the IDM program. For more about requirements and procedures, please consult the Undergraduate Handbook.

Some examples

Below are some past IDM programs in which the vision of students has complemented the interdisciplinary spirit of the school:

  • Art & Architecture in Engineering
  • Energy & Infrastructure Engineering
  • Biochemical Engineering
  • Engineering for Sustainability
  • Biomedical Informatics
  • Energy Engineering & Business
  • Interactive Design Engineering
  • Organizational Design and Engineering
  • Energy & Environmental Design
  • Neural Cybernetics & Engineering
  • Sustainable Design and Engineering

All of these and more can be viewed and copied in 135 Huang, Office of Student Affairs.