Graduate Academic Catalog 2019 - 2020 
    Jun 14, 2024  
Graduate Academic Catalog 2019 - 2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Individualized Master of Arts Program

Program Director: Bret Kincaid, Ph.D.


The Individualized Master of Arts program (IMAP) provides a structure for master's-level study in areas where the university has significant strengths but does not offer a formal program. The program offers the opportunity for students, in consultation with a mentor/advisor, to design a program around specific areas of interest subject to approval by the IMAP Council and the availability and willingness of university faculty to supervise study in the proposed area. A significant provision of the program is the possibility of drawing on expertise and resources outside the university in pursuing the proposed study. All proposals are subject to approval by the IMAP Council.

Program Structure

The degree typically consists of a minimum of 36 units, or their equivalent, that constitutes a coherent disciplinary or interdisciplinary focus. The course of study must include a core of at least 3 units in biblical/theological/ethics studies or a related area and 4 units of thesis or project work. The 3 units of biblical/theological/ethics study are required as part of the university's commitment to the Christian faith. At least 24 units must be taken at FPU. Six units are to be taken in a setting that provides for interaction with others-in a classroom or online.

The content and structure of each course of study is negotiated with the program advisor and may combine taught courses, independent study or research, tutorials, seminars or supervised field experience. Each final study plan is subject to approval by the IMAP Council and the dean(s) of the school(s) in which the area of study resides.

A maximum of 12 units completed prior to admission may be considered for transfer from other accredited graduate programs and must be included in the proposed program. No course may be more than 10 years old at the time of completion of the IMAP.


The program director and an IMAP Council provide general oversight to the program under the auspices of the graduate academic committee. The IMAP Council oversees the general and core requirements of the program and appoints a faculty mentor/advisor for each admitted student. Advisors are regular university faculty. Individuals from outside the university with recognized experience and expertise in the area of study may be invited to serve as instructors or supervisors of student learning experiences.

Admissions Requirements

  • Three current reference forms
  • Interview with program director
  • Letter of explanation if GPA is under 2.75

In addition students submit a preliminary proposal of study. Students are expected to have sufficient background in the proposed area of study to make their success in the program likely. The IMAP Council may recommend or require prerequisite studies if deemed appropriate.

  1. Prospective students schedule a meeting or make a telephone call to the program director (or representative) to discuss their interests, to determine whether or not the program is likely to meet their needs and whether or not Fresno Pacific University is able to offer study in the proposed area.
  2. Applicants must prepare a preliminary proposal of study (two to three pages long) that will later be developed into their final study plan and that includes their proposed objectives, a proposed concentration, a summary of their preliminary proposal of study and a summary of their background for study in the proposed area.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

  1. The student will identify and explain the key concepts in the chosen field of study.
  2. The student will demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively and responsibly both orally and in writing.
  3. The student will interpret and appraise the literature related to the chosen thesis topic.

Proposed Course of Study

The IMAP course of study must demonstrate internal coherence and should include a section that pays attention to the theoretical context of the proposed study. The proposed plan should provide evidence that specified outcomes are likely to be met. The proposed course of study should include at least these components:

  1. Theoretical context for the field(s) in which the study will be undertaken.
  2. Rationale and objectives for the program of study, including how they fit into professional and/or personal goals.
  3. A title that reflects the field of study and a brief description of the content.
  4. Key questions to be investigated and/or skills to be developed.
  5. Lists of activities and experiences, including proposed courses, faculty and unit credit information. (Courses of study should typically involve at least five faculty members.) A proposed time frame for completing coursework should be part of this exposition.
  6. A tentative focus for the master's degree project or thesis.
  7. The major resources to be accessed, including preliminary overview of available bibliographic and human resources.

The proposed course of study, when approved, is considered to be a learning contract and students will be held accountable to it at the time the IMAP is completed. At the same time, the plan is not intended to be constraining. What students discover and learn during the early part of their study may lead to modifications later on. Any substantive changes in coursework must be put in writing and must be approved by the program advisor and the IMAP program director, with a copy placed in the student's file.

Locations Offered

Main Campus Fresno, Visalia Campus, Online