Some students find that concentration in one of the majors offered at HMC does not meet their educational goals. As an alternative, any student may devise an individual program of study (IPS) designed to serve his/her academic interests. An IPS program is initiated by the student; it must be consistent with the nature and strengths of the college, but it may cross departmental and even college lines.
An individual program of study must have the following characteristics:
(1) The program must be constructed predominantly from the disciplines of science and engineering and be consistent with the purposes of Harvey Mudd College. It must differ from the other majors in a significant way and must have the approval of a faculty member and the dean of faculty. Each student in the program must have two faculty advisers, one from the humanities and social sciences department and one from one of the technical departments.
(2) The program should contain at least 14 courses (42 credit hours) that make up a coherent set. Flexibility to choose among a large number of courses should not be at the expense of depth of concentration. Thus, at least two of the courses of this requirement should be taken in each of the last four semesters, and at least three of the courses should constitute a sequence.
(3) At least seven of the courses submitted under requirement (2) above must be taken at Harvey Mudd College.
(4) A student may not enter IPS after the sixth semester without prior approval by the Scholarly Standing Committee.
Many individual programs of study are interdisciplinary in nature. For example, a program may center on a field combining two of the traditional majors or on a field in science or engineering that is only partially covered by one of the majors. Alternatively, a program may seek to relate mathematics, physical science or engineering to an area of the social sciences or humanities. As illustrations of these possibilities, students have designed programs in architecture, environmental studies, geology, and politics and technology.