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Individualized Professional Studies

You can use previously earned college credits and earn college credit for the knowledge and skills you've gained through your work and life experiences. Credit for prior learning allows you to save time and money earning your degree.

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Individualized Professional Studies

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If you have five or more years of work and life experience past high school and are seeking to advance your career, the Individualized Professional Studies (IPS) program is for you. Designed for the adult learner, the Associate of Science (A.S.) degree allows you to develop a specific focus area related to your occupation of interest. With help and advice from our academic experts, you can identify your ideal career objectives and then create a unique sequence of courses to achieve your goals.

The IPS program was developed in consultation with corporate, nonprofit and academic leaders, who validated the program's accelerated curriculum and flexible degree outcomes as a vital resource needed throughout the workforce.

IPS Features

  • Save money by earning credit for prior learning
  • Finish your degree faster
  • Maximize your previously earned credits
  • Transfer seamlessly to the four-year college or university of your choice
  • Receive personal degree planning assistance and support
  • Work with other adult learners; average age of IPS student is 41
  • Join ASAP: Adult Success through Accelerated Pathways

Note: Military personnel and veterans can use military college credits in their degree plans.


Associate of Science (A.S.) in Individualized Professional Studies – 60 credits

Coursework   Program Planning Guide

Individualized Professional Studies Curriculum – 30 credits

All courses must support stated degree objectives, but may come from any discipline, including liberal arts.

Planning Courses (highly recommended, but not required)

Course Number Title Credits
Planning Courses - highly recommended (0-4 credits)
INTS 1010 Educational Planning and Assessment 3 cr
INTS 1011 Prior Learning Assessment Development 1 cr

Liberal Arts Curriculum – 30 credits

Course Number Title Credits
ENG 1108 Writing and Research Skills 4 cr
COMM 1100, 1110, 2230, or 2240 3 cr
Math or Lab Science (See Goal 3 or 4 of MnTC) 3 cr
Social Science (See Goal 5 of MnTC) 3 cr
Humanities/Fine Arts/Literature (See Goal 6 of MnTC) 3 cr
Any course Goals 7-10 of MnTC 3 cr
Liberal Arts Electives Restricted to MnTC courses 11 cr
Total Credits: 30

Planning Courses

Here's what you'll do in Educational Planning and Assessment (INTS 1010) and Prior Learning Assessment Development (INTS 1011):

Become an educated consumer of higher education by researching careers along with two-year and four-year degree options as well as what knowledge and skills you have that can translate into college credits.

Save money and time earning your degree by applying your prior college credits, national certifications, military experience and other training.

Develop your own individual degree plan, two-year and/or four-year, with strategic course selection to accomplish the following:

  • Validate and advance your current career
  • Prepare for a new career
  • Ensure easy transfer to a four-year school

Translate your knowledge and skills to earn college credits through a Prior Learning Assessment.

Design your program area courses with a specific focus/concentration; previous student examples include:

  • Human Resource Management
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Youth Advocacy
  • IT Communication

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

You can get credit for real college learning you have accomplished on your own. Combine your accrued learning with new learning on concepts and theories in the subject area that interests you most. The skills and knowledge you have gained through work, volunteerism and/or personal experience are valuable and should be validated.

You can get credit through a Prior Learning Assessment, saving you time and money as you achieve your academic and professional goals. Below are a few examples of areas where students commonly complete PLAs:

  • Business
  • Communication
  • Computers
  • Office systems
  • Human services
  • Sociology
  • Interdisciplinary studies

PLA benefits

Prior Learning Assessments can be used in your liberal arts, major and/or core curriculum, or as additional credits for transfer purposes.

You will save money and time by earning college credit for your knowledge. You can cut your degree (two- and four-year) completion time by 75 percent compared to students who don't take advantage of this program; PLA was developed especially for adult learners.

There is no limit to the number of credits you can earn through prior learning; the number of credits you earn depends on your knowledge and skill base.

Prior learning credits transfer to four-year schools, including:

  • Metropolitan State University
  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
  • Concordia University, St. Paul
  • The College of St. Scholastica

Reasons to choose an IPS degree

  • Job validation: Design your degree focus area to match what you actually do in your career
  • Advancement: Promotions frequently depend on earning a college degree
  • Career change: Combine your current skills with new knowledge to land your dream job
  • Personal reasons: Be a role model for the people you love by earning a college degree
  • Transfer to a four-year: Go on and earn your bachelor's and then on to graduate school
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Common Transfer Options

The A.S. in Individualized Professional Studies at Inver Hills transfers to four-year colleges and universities with accelerated bachelor's degree completion programs. Below are a few examples of potential transfer schools:

  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
  • Concordia University, St. Paul
  • The College of St. Scholastica
  • Augsburg College
  • Metropolitan State University
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Employment Information

With new career fields evolving in a fluctuating job market, employers frequently seek talented, experienced employees with skill and knowledge sets that span more than one discipline. Employers also require workforce members to take on more schooling to increase performance and open doors for advancement. The Individualized Professional Studies A.S. degree allows you to tailor your education to meet your specific career goals while saving you time and money in the process.

Career possibilities with an IPS degree
  • Art and life science
  • Art therapy
  • Medical ethics
  • Bioethics
  • Business in a changing society
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Creative writing and performance art
  • Outdoor education and leadership
  • Economic development and micro-financing
  • Photography and journalism
  • Ecotourism
  • Poverty studies and social work
  • Pre-law and public accountability
  • Entrepreneurship and minority-owned businesses
  • Environmental awareness and education
  • Public health and indigenous populations
  • Environmental justice and politics
  • Science and art
  • Culture and human services
  • Science and faith
  • Feminist perspectives in advertising
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Film and globalization
  • Social problems and the law
  • Gender and society
  • Special education and the built environment
  • Geochemistry and lake chemistry
  • Theater for social change
  • Human rights, ethnic policy, political reform
  • Youth subcultures and education
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Why Inver Hills?

Completing your A.S. in Individualized Professional Studies degree obligations at Inver Hills is smart on several key levels:

  1. Design a degree that fits your unique interests and professional goals
  2. Save time and money by turning your experiences into college credits
  3. Accelerate your career alongside expert faculty
  4. Receive an excellent education with one-on-one interactions with Inver Hills faculty and student support staff
  5. Work and study with students your own age with comparable experience sets
  6. Continue your academic and professional careers with less student debt *

* On a national scale, student loan debt has mushroomed to $1.2 trillion, which is greater than credit card debt and auto loan debt combined. In Minnesota, the average debt for four-year grads tops $30,000; 70 percent carry a student debt load.

Tuition and fees for one year at Inver Hills costs a little less than $5,300. Compare that to $15,000 to $20,000 at a for-profit college, or $40,000 to $50,000 at a private college or university. You can complete your first two years at Inver getting a topflight education firsthand from Ph.D. instructors and then transfer to a four-year as a junior all while saving thousands of dollars. It's a no-brainer.

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