Creating your own major at Cal Poly Humboldt

Cal Poly Humboldt launched the Individualized Degree Plan (IDP) Fall 2023 where students now have the opportunity to customize their degrees specific to their desired career path.

IDP is not your traditional degree program – it’s an educational program that’s emerged among polytechnic and ivy league universities across the United States after CPH academic staff analyzed students’ graduation and drop out rates.

“This program is really flexible, students can finish their degree online,” said Director of the IDP, Dr. Rebecca Robertson. “We can work together to put together courses that they can take online. They can do it hybrid and there’s an internship component. If they’re working, that internship could be at their work and basically get credit for the job they’re doing.”

This three pronged program gives students the opportunity to uniquely work with three different advisors. “I think it’s really great for students. I totally support their success and ensure they take the core courses that speak to them, but also to what their goals are,” Dr. Robertson said.

The concept behind this program is to prepare students for the workforce and give them the tools needed to be successfully employed after graduating from college. Students are given the freedom to select courses that are of interest to them and that align to their personal goals.

“Cal Poly Humboldt academic and career advisors offer customized educational plans and career guidance to help the student navigate through competitive hiring pools and professional development,” Dr. Robertson said.

There is still some skepticism attached in pursuing a degree that’s newly developed. According to Kay Aull, PhD, a recent graduate who earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, “The problem isn’t really about being taken seriously, it’s that you have to be treated as a special case … On the plus side, higher-level jobs tend to be tailored to a specific need, so your unusual combination of skills might be perfect for a specific job.”

Another drawback is entering a career path that requires a specific degree such as accounting or finance. “I’ve been with Robert Half for almost ten
years and I work primarily on accounting and finance degrees, clients will request candidates with accounting or finance degrees for potential job placements,” said John Henderson of Robert Half Staffing Agency.

“My degree is in AI human experience and design interactions,” said Cal Poly Humboldt senior Crystal Hensen. “I definitely think it was like the right program at the right time. A strong benefit to the program is having the option to plan my future. I’m definitely super

Indeed’s Editorial Team, surveyed for the top 11 jobs for graduates with a degree in interdisciplinary studies. Positions in demand include: teacher, counselor, journalist, admission counselor, entrepreneur, accountant/economics, public relations specialist and professor. College Factual ranked interdisciplinary studies degrees as #13 in the country in terms of popularity.

“It’s definitely an advising-intensive major. Students get a lot of personal attention sometimes, having a single major doesn’t really suit the student’s needs. With this program, they can couple a number of different interests together, figure out what they like, where they’re really trying to get to, and then pursue it,” Dr. Robertson said.

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