The Individualized Study Program awards both BA and BS degrees to UMBC undergraduates who have used the INDS 335 class to assemble a degree proposal and had this proposal approved by the Individualized Study Committee (ISC).

Each of our students works with INDS staff and two hand-picked members drawn from the broader UMBC faculty and/or professional world to create this individualized education program. In addition to providing a core curriculum to help students combine courses from different disciplines, we also encourage internships and independent research.

From 1969-1979, INDS was called Option II. From 1979-2018, INDS was called Interdisciplinary Studies. In 2018, it was renamed Individualized Study.

Recent Submissions

  • The Evolutionary Origins of Genetic Information 

    Freeland, Stephen (The American Scientific Affliciation, 2011-12)
    Any living branch of science achieves progress by testing new ideas. The results of these tests determine whether each new idea is accepted as a change to what we thought we knew, is dismissed as incorrect, or simply ...
  • Boron Enrichment in Martian Clay 

    Stephenson, James D.; Hallis, Lydia J.; Nagashima, Kazuhide; Freeland, Stephen J. (PLOS, 2013-06-06)
    We have detected a concentration of boron in martian clay far in excess of that in any previously reported extra-terrestrial object. This enrichment indicates that the chemistry necessary for the formation of ribose, a key ...
  • Unearthing the Root of Amino Acid Similarity 

    Stephenson, James D.; Freeland, Stephen J. (Springer, 2013-06-07)
    Similarities and differences between amino acids define the rates at which they substitute for one another within protein sequences and the patterns by which these sequences form protein structures. However, there exist ...
  • Extraordinarily Adaptive Properties of the Genetically Encoded Amino Acids 

    Ilardo, Melissa; Meringer, Markus; Freeland, Stephen; Rasulev, Bakhtiyor; Cleaves, H. James II (Nature, 2015-03-24)
    Using novel advances in computational chemistry, we demonstrate that the set of 20 genetically encoded amino acids, used nearly universally to construct all coded terrestrial proteins, has been highly influenced by natural ...
  • Rethinking Abiogenesis: Part 1, Continuity of Life through Time 

    Boring, Emily; Stump, J. B.; Freeland, Stephen (The American Scientific Affliciation, 2020-03)
    Evolution teaches that any particular organism, population, or species is a point on a continuous lineage that extends back to life’s origins. Apparent discontinuities (for example, species) often reflect subjective, ...
  • Evolution as a Guide to Designing xeno Amino Acid Alphabets 

    Mayer-Bacon, Christopher; Agboha, Neyiasuo; Muscalli, Mickey; Freeland, Stephen (MDPI, 2021-03-10)
    Here, we summarize a line of remarkably simple, theoretical research to better understand the chemical logic by which life’s standard alphabet of 20 genetically encoded amino acids evolved. The connection to the theme of ...
  • Adaptive Properties of the Genetically Encoded Amino Acid Alphabet Are Inherited from Its Subsets 

    Ilardo, Melissa; Bose, Rudrarup; Meringer, Markus; Rasulev, Bakhtiyor; Grefenstette, Natalie; Stephenson, James; Freeland, Stephen; Gillams, Richard J.; Butch, Christopher J.; Cleaves II, James (natureresearch, 2019-08-28)
    Life uses a common set of 20 coded amino acids (CAAs) to construct proteins. This set was likely canonicalized during early evolution; before this, smaller amino acid sets were gradually expanded as new synthetic, proofreading ...