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Explore JMU: Academic Open Houses - Nov. 12

Learn about this program and more. Join us to get a first-hand look at what makes the Madison Experience so special!

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Pursue your unique combination of passions to design your own major as an Independent Scholar.

The Independent Scholars program provides motivated students with the flexibility to pursue academic pathways tailored to their interests. Each student in the Independent Scholars program identifies an area of inquiry, and creates a plan for course work that includes an independent research or creative project and experiential learning. The major is geared towards students whose interests cross-cut traditional disciplinary boundaries, and who are seeking control over their academic career.

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The mission of the Independent Scholars major is to provide students with a learning environment in which they develop and pursue self-designed curricular pathways and research goals, identifying unique domains of inquiry and interweaving multiple modes of thinking. Students are empowered to cultivate their own academic and professional interests in ways that foster the ability to comprehend and contribute uniquely and innovatively to a wide array of topics, questions and problems.

IS majors will develop topic-based interests and inquiry strategies to pursue those interests; enhance creativity, self-directedness and perseverance required for inquiry; learn research, technical and communication skills relevant to their inquiry; situate their inquiry in relation to contemporary notions of disciplinary thinking; enhance aptitude and confidence in working independently and collectively; and apply knowledge and skills in experiential-learning settings.

Independent Scholars
  • Degrees Offered: 
    • B.A. in Individualized Study
    • B.S. in Individualized Study
  • Concentrations: None
  • Minors: None

For detailed program information and curriculum, please visit:

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