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Individualized Master of Arts Program, M.A.

School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences

When you can design your future,
the possibilities are endless.

The individualized master of arts program provides a structure for master’s-level study in areas where the university has significant strengths, but does not offer a formal program.

It also makes it possible for students like you to pursue interdisciplinary graduate degrees. To gain expertise and an appropriate selection of courses, the individualized master of arts draws upon resources outside of the university.

It offers maximum flexibility, combining taught courses, independent study or research, seminars and other approved experiences. The overall content of the program is negotiated with a faculty advisor.

Program Highlights

  • Design an individualized program around a specific area of interest
  • Learn in the context of small classes
  • Work with published scholars in your area of interest


The Individualized Master of Arts program (IMAP) provides a structure for master's-level study in areas where the university has significant faculty 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 proposed course 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 a telephone call with 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/project 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, Online

Possibilities Await
With an FPU Education

The decision to embark on graduate studies is a big one. Our 40+ graduate programs will equip you to succeed in your career and in your life. You’ll become part of a small community of learners, thrive in a flexible learning environment  and be challenged by a rigorous curriculum. Learn how much further you can go at FPU!  

For more information, contact the campus nearest you, attend an information meeting or ask about a program.

First Steps to Admission

  • Apply online
  • Submit 2 reference forms (Varies based on program of interest)
    These can be filled out by academic or professional acquaintances familiar with your ability to complete graduate-level work. Print the reference form.
  • Include statement of intent.
    You can also provide an addendum explaining your interest in the program, any long-term goals and your experience in the field.
  • Request official transcripts.
    Transcripts must be from accredited institutions to verify your bachelor’s degree. Send transcripts electronically to or mail sealed transcripts to the Registrar’s Office at 1717 S. Chestnut Ave. Fresno, CA 93702.
  • Complete program requirements.
    These requirements are specific to your program of choice. You will be contacted for an interview and additional requirements if applicable.
  • Apply for financial aid.
    You can apply for FAFSA.  Use FPU school code: 001253
  • Schedule an appointment.
    Meet with your Student Financial Services Advisor. You can contact them at 559-453-2041 |

Program Requirements

  • Orientation interview with program director and faculty advisor
  • One current professional reference form
  • Writing sample

Cost & Financial Aid

The below listed prices reflect the current and upcoming Fall and Spring semesters and do not include any financial aid. Paying for college can be an overwhelming step in your education journey. We can help you find all the opportunities to reduce your out of pocket costs.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition per Unit Amount
700 Level $730
Teacher Education $730
MBA $785
MSN and LEAD $750
KIN $590
Other Costs Amount
Student services fee (per semester) $60
* Field Placement Fee (charged for both the international and regional trip semesters) $1,500
Tuition per Unit Amount
700 Level $705
Teacher Education $705
MBA $757*
MSN and LEAD $720
KIN $570
Other Costs Amount
Student services fee (per semester) $60
* Field Placement Fee (charged for both the international and regional trip semesters) $1,500

* This is an estimate. Costs subject to change. Please refer to the Catalog for additional fees. Cost of attendance figures are used for budgeting purposes only and represent an estimate of projected tuition and fees for the coming academic year. Actual tuition rates are approved by the Board of Trustees and may vary.

Types of aid

Financial aid can refer to scholarships, grants and loans, which are available to you from the government, the university or outside sources. Aid types vary depending on the type of student you are.

View Graduate Private Scholarships

Career Opportunities

Because this degree offers such a wide range of options, career opportunities are virtually endless. The IMAP can be used to pursue scholarly interests as well as to strengthen specialized skills required by certain jobs.

Career Development Happens Here

The staff in our Career Development and Experiential Learning Center are here to help you prepare to enter the working world. Whether your a freshman or an FPU alum, there are a number of resources and trainings offered to help you find the internship and job you’re looking for.

  • Resume writing classes
  • Career assessments, exploration & planning
  • Job search and networking opportunities
  • and much more

Visit the Career Development Center