How to prepare an Integrated Sciences Proposal

I am in the Integrated Sciences program meaning that I designed my own degree.  The concept is similar to pursuing a double major because you integrate 2-3 disciplines (essentially majors).  Integrated Sciences requires a bit more initiative because you have to pick and justify every single course that you plan to take, and find a faculty member to back up your proposal.

After creating my Integrated Science proposal, I was pretty excited and happy to be studying exactly what I am passionate about so I also hope that anyone lobbying for a custom design major will also end up with a major of all courses that you’re interested in and passionate about. I was beyond excited to part of a program of such supportive staff and faculty and of older students willing to mentor ( and of other students like me who took the initiative to build the major of their dreams!

General Timeline for your Integrated Sciences Proposal 

  1. As you take classes in first and second year and gain experiences outside of school, reflect on what your academic interests are.  I realized that I loved Pharmacology and Neuroscience/Psychology.
  2. By October, find and get guidance from a faculty member who is generously willing to back-up your proposal to create this custom major (thanks Dr. Horne!!)
  3. Obtain a Peer Mentor to advise you on how to improve your application
  4. By November, write up a draft of your statement on what your educational and career goals are (lots of thinking about what you want to do with the rest of your life -eek!) –> don’t worry, this will probably change drastically by the time you submit your official application
  5. By the end of winter break, write up a coursework rationale. You will write why each and every one of the courses you plan to take from now until you graduate is important for achieving your goal. Quadruple check that your custom degree fit all the graduation requirements and Faculty of Science of requirements
  6. By end of the first week of January, send your proposal to your Peer Mentor for edits and your Peer Mentor should get back to you within a week.
  7.  By the second week of January, Your Faculty Mentor must officially sign on to your degree proposal online to indicate he or she is your mentor. At this point, you should review your proposal with your Faculty mentor  -> make edits as needed.
  8. By Mid-February, you must have completed and submitted your Degree Proposal to your mentor for official approval by this date. 
  9. By Mid-March, you must have submitted your Degree Proposal to the ISci program for approval
  10. You will receive feedback from the proposal reviewers on to change. Make this edits and re-submit as soon as possible.
  11. Receive your official approval. Welcome to Integrated Sciences!

How to efficiently utilize your time with your Peer Mentor

You will be matched with a senior students integrating areas the same/similar to your interests. This year I will be a Peer Mentor to 3 students.
The most efficient plan of action would probably be:
  1. Tell your mentor where you are in your Integrated Sciences proposal timeline. E.g. do you have already have a draft and looking for edits on your curriculum rationale? Do you want suggestions on courses?
  2. If you don’t have a draft yet, when do you plan to complete it? i.e. November? Winter break? Early January?  Give him/her an honest estimate based on your personality. That way, they know when to set aside time for you and when to be conscious about checking for emails from you.
  3. Try to finish a draft of your proposal on your own first 
  4. Email your questions about specifics e.g. you want to know what extra courses you can use for pharmacology discipline or about the breadth requirement
  5. If you would like edits, email me your proposal and I’ll try to send it back to you within the week (even sooner if earlier in the semester)
  6. Optional: we can also meet to discuss edits at this point over Skype


Quadruple-check that you will be able to graduate!

  1. Check that you meet the Faculty of Science requirements for graduation. This is a helpful checklist:
    • Pay special attention to the “Breadth requirements” (courses outside of your major area)
    • Make sure you have 3 courses of Math or Statistics
    • Arts credits used in your disciplines can be used as arts credits for graduation.
  2. Check that you meet all the Integrated Sciences requirements:
  3. Physically go to the Science Advising office and ask an advisor to check that you will meet all the requirements for graduation
  4. Physically go to Integrated Science Advising to check that everything is good with them.
The hidden perk of Integrated Sciences.
  • This program is so sweet that they have courses where you and your class can travel to Iceland or Hawaii for course credit! Y’all should rush to apply.
Integrated Sciences vs. Double Majoring
  • The Integrated Sciences program is all about combining different science disciplines. If you are more interested in blending Arts and Sciences, check out this post by my fellow Blog Squad writer on her cool blend of Behavioural Neuroscience and English!
Let Me Know in comments! Would you be interested in mentoring services being offered on this blog for anyone wanting help with:
  • the MCAT
  • Organizing your study routine & becoming a more efficient studier 
  • applying to university and scholarships
  • applying to Integrated Sciences
  • Anything else 🙂
  • My wish is to “pay it forward” in thanks to the older students who mentored me!
 Shout out to Iris for being a reader of this blog and my mentee! I’m always thrilled and grateful to those of you who actually read this blog! 

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