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Individualized Studies (Western Program)

The Individualized Studies (BA) major within the College of Arts and Science provides students with the opportunity to develop a personalized plan of study. This interdisciplinary program allows for integrated and intentional learning by each student and culminates with a senior research project that serves as an entry point to graduate study or a rewarding career.


Our innovative curriculum enables you to integrate your varied interests through a major in Individualized Studies or a minor in Individualized Studies.

Nicholas Money working with a group of students in the woods.


The Major in Individualized Studies (BA) offers you the opportunity to individualize your course of study by integrating your interests within an interdisciplinary framework. Our introductory courses engage you in integrative, individualized learning. An inquiry-based set of courses emphasizes understanding diverse theories and methodologies that enable you to explore and develop your own projects. The Individualized Studies major is suited for students interested in careers in diverse fields including, but not limited to:

  • education
  • environmental consulting
  • psychology
  • politics
  • business
  • creative arts
  • media industries

Senior Projects

A water bottle with the Western Individualized Studies logo on it with yellow flowers in the background.


The Minor in Individualized Studies is available to students in all majors and is designed to broaden their educational experience and widen professional opportunities. The pair of required WST courses teach students to integrate knowledge from a range of disciplines and perspectives. These serve as an introduction to student exploration of individually-created themes that have captured their interests through courses offered by other programs and majors. Plan of study for each student must be approved by Western Program advisor.

Independent Thinkers

Miami University's Western Program is dedicated to developing students as independent thinkers with the skills to address the complex challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

Classes taught by Western Program faculty engage students in interdisciplinary thinking and form a foundation for individualized and integrated study that draws from the humanities, sciences, arts, social sciences, and professional programs.

The program is centered in historic Peabody Hall where students and faculty work as members of a diverse community of motivated peers. The Western Program values that diversity as well as discovery, creativity, risk-taking, co-curricular learning, and active citizenship.

If you are intellectually adventurous, independently minded, and eager to participate in an exciting new program, then designing a unique course of study with the support of Western faculty might be right for you!

A Western Student speaking at graduation

That's So Western

Western Center

The Western Center for Social Impact and Innovation is housed in historic Peabody Hall, located on Miami University's Western Campus. Named for Helen Peabody, the first head of Western College, the iconic building is the oldest building on Western soil and recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

The Western Center is located in Room 022 of the ground floor of Peabody Hall. As a feature of the Western Program (Individualized Studies major) at Miami, the center is a space for intellectual inquiry, sharing ideas, and free-spirited discussion.

Western students and faculty/staff enjoy some field work fun.


Zackary Hill, Coordinator and Advisor of the Individualized Studies (Western Program), has ten years of experience in academia as either an instructor or an advisor. For further information about Individualized Studies, please contact:

Zackary Hill
Coordinator and Advisor, Individualized Studies (Western Program)
114 Peabody Hall
(513) 529-3796

Arts and Science Academic Advising can also help with:

  • Miami Plan & College of Arts and Science Requirements
  • Course Selection
  • Career Decision Making

Support and Engage with Western

Continuing the rich tradition of The Western College for Women and the Western College Program, the Individualized Studies Program functions at the forefront of academic innovation and community-building with students of diverse interests and backgrounds. In a time when interdisciplinarity has been adopted University wide, the Individualized Studies Program continues to push the boundaries of traditional academic programs. The Program remains fully committed to nurturing student-driven majors reflecting the needs and passions of students that are not met by more traditional majors. And, the Individualized Studies Program creates and supports a community of these students and committed professors that celebrate and promote the diversity that the Program attracts.


The Individualized Studies Program also seeks engagement by friends, alumni, parents, and others through various forms of interaction and participation. The Western Alumni Association at Miami University (WAAMU) provides many different ways to support the program and to engage with the larger Western community. To learn more about ways to support the program through engagement, please visit the WAAMU group website

Designated Gifts

  • scholarships for incoming Western students (5860-001)
  • unrestricted — current program needs (5593-001)
  • Western Center for Social Impact and Innovation (5577-001)
  • senior projects (2969-001)

Over 150 Years of Tradition…


The Western Female Seminary, founded in 1853, was modeled on the College of Mount Holyoke. Classes began two years later with Helen Peabody, a Mount Holyoke graduate, as principal. The seminary was supported by Oxford's Presbyterian church and provided religious practice and low-cost, high-quality, undergraduate education for women.


Western hired Wellesley graduate Leila McKee to be its new principal in 1888 and moved towards accreditation. From 1894 to 1904, the college was called The Western: A College and Seminary for Women. In 1904, the name was changed to The Western College for Women to reflect its status as a liberal arts institution.


President Herrick Young brought an international focus to the curriculum in 1954. Under his leadership, Western recruited many international students and faculty, offered international travel seminars for its students, and emphasized global awareness and cultural studies in its courses.


In 1964, volunteers for the Civil Rights initiative known as Freedom Summer trained on the campus of the Western College for Women. College students from across the country were recruited by the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, Congress of Racial Equality and other organizations to go to Mississippi to teach in Freedom Schools, build community centers, and register African-Americans to vote. Approximately 800 students trained at Western; three of these students were murdered for their activism. The Freedom Summer Memorial, adjacent to Kumler Chapel, commemorates the courage and commitment of all Freedom Summer volunteers.


In 1970, Western initiated another curricular innovation by implementing an interdisciplinary approach to education called "Freedom with Responsibility." Men were admitted in 1971.


Western merged with Miami University in 1974 and became a nationally known leader in the field of interdisciplinary education. In its new institutional home in the College of Arts and Science, the Western Program continues to draw inspiration from its predecessors, aiming to honor the intellectual legacies of Western College and the Western College Program, and to build a diverse community of learners from around the university.

Western's Historic Campus

Peabody Hall is the traditional home of the Western Program. Listed on the National Register for Historic Places, Peabody is a living-learning residence hall that also includes faculty offices, classrooms, learning resource centers, and a theater/lecture hall.

"New Hall" was dedicated in 1904 during Western's commencement activities. This residence hall was renamed to McKee Hall in 1917 to honor Leila S. McKee, president emerita and trustee of the college.

In 1924 construction began on another residence hall. Ten years later the trustees named this dormitory Mary Lyon Hall to recognize Western's relationship with Mount Holyoke and to honor its founder.

Peabody Hall

Individualized Studies (Western Program)

111 Peabody Hall
Oxford, OH 45056