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The purpose of the individualized field of concentration is to equip students with the skills necessary to pursue a clear career objective that falls outside of the seven standard fields of concentration. Most career objectives can be easily met by pursuing one of seven standard fields within the business school. If this is the case, pursuing an individualized field of study is not recommended. When career goals cannot be accommodated by one of the standard fields, an individualized field of concentration can be considered.
An individualized field will not be approved if a specific career choice is not clear and outlined well in the proposal. Students will be advised to choose a standard field of concentration if career choices are broad and undefined. In the past students have pursued individualized fields in the following areas: Accountancy (only for students not interested in sitting for the CPA exam), Emergency Response Management, Electronic Commerce, Health Administration, Media Management, Performing Arts Management, Real Estate Development, Small Business Management and/or Entrepreneurship, Special Events Management, Strategic Management, and Theatre Entrepreneurship.
The program of study for individualized fields varies greatly depending on the individual student. The student creates an individualized field composed of the following requirements: an Analytical Tools Elective, a Field Tools Elective, four Field Courses, and a Field-Related Elective. All courses are chosen under the advice of a faculty sponsor. A faculty committee reviews completed individualized field proposals and makes a final decision on approval. Approval is not guaranteed!
There are several steps involved in pursuing an individualized field. First, students should explore all other fields to be certain they cannot achieve their career objectives by pursuing one of them. Then students should meet with the Individualized Field Academic Advisor in The Advising Center to discuss the complete process of pursuing an individualized field.
The next step for students is to begin researching the individualized field that they intend to propose. This should include interviewing a professional in that field, obtaining program information from other universities that offer a similar program, and speaking with faculty members about potential opportunities in that field. As students are conducting their research, they will need to choose a faculty sponsor (or sponsors if their field is interdisciplinary). Students will then need to meet with their faculty sponsor(s) to discuss their research and outline their potential proposal.
After the initial meeting with their faculty sponsor(s), students need to write their individualized field proposal. Upon completion, their faculty sponsor(s) and academic advisor should review the proposal before submission.
In reviewing the individualized field proposal, the faculty committee will use the student’s specific career goals and program information from other schools to determine the appropriateness of a “GW” individualized field in the chosen area.
The individualized field proposal process could take as long as twelve weeks, so it is imperative that students start this process before the end of their first semester junior year. Students are advised not to take the proposed courses prior to approval of the individualized field of concentration.
An Individualized Field of Concentration Application can be obtained at The Advising Center, Duquès, Suite 456.
See Academic Advisor for course guidelines.