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Goddard Graduate Institute

Slider: BA in Individualized Studies

Graduate Institute

Bringing together faculty from across the humanities, social sciences, and health arts disciplines, the Graduate Institute seeks to integrate scholarship and personal development with social, ecological, artistic and cultural action to support students who want to effect positive change in the world. The pursuit of knowledge involves both a deep and rigorous intellectual endeavor and well-grounded and effective transformative practice. The Institute values theory and knowledge as agents that inform and guide transformative practice. The Graduate Institute’s programs offer support and guidance for students whose individualized studies reach across and beyond established liberal arts and sciences disciplines to inter- and transdisciplinary studies.

The program offers three tracks leading to the Master of Arts degree:

  • Individualized Studies: For students interested in pursuing a question, project or career interest that is interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary, and personally compelling. The emphasis is on helping each student find and hone a focus of inquiry that brings together deep interests with relevant theory and actual practice. 
  • Health Arts and Sciences: Students may undertake theoretical and practical study in such areas as community and environmental health, women’s health and midwifery, men’s health, botanical medicine and ethnobotany, nutritional health, expressive arts, body and movement therapies, integrative health systems, integrative nursing, mind-body studies, ecopsychology, and cross-cultural healing.
  • Social Innovation and Sustainability: Prepares scholars and practitioners to address significant social, economic and ecological concerns, on local and regional levels. For scholar seeking to explore issues and solutions more deeply and seasoned practitioners looking for strategies that will enable you to have greater and more sustained impact.

Program Structure

Students in Goddard’s low-residency programs collaborate with a faculty advisor to design an individualized curriculum that fulfills the student's personal needs and interests, as well as Goddard's degree criteria. Individualized study plans are combinations of readings, essays, analysis, field experiences, artistic expressions, cultural engagements, and dual language activities.

At an eight-day residency at the beginning of each semester, students work closely with an advisor to develop a comprehensive, individualized plan of study and attend workshops, courses, seminars, and lectures. Students in the master’s program complete a plan for their entire degree at the first residency.

After the residency and upon return to their communities, students submit their work in five “packets” at specified periods throughout the 15-week semester. Packets may include book reviews, critical essays, reflective journal entries, artistic and cultural projects, analysis of field notes, or other demonstrations of learning. The faculty advisor reads and assesses the work, and provides written feedback. At the end of the semester, students receive a narrative assessment of the semester’s work. Goddard does not give grades; narrative transcripts serve as documentation of the studies.