A major all your own

Animated movies by Disney and Pixar took  on a new meaning for Sydni Gregg.
Gregg created her animation major through IU’s Individualized Major Program, IMP. Her focus was on 2-D animation.
“As a kid, you don’t realize that it is an art form, and it’s something I still love,” she said. “I am a huge geek for Pixar and Disney and all of those traditional big-name studios, so I just figured that this is what I wanted to do.”

Because animation draws from both the Department of Telecommunications and the School of Fine Arts, Gregg had two sponsors instead of the typical one.
“You find your sponsors and with their help, you start planning your curriculum because you actually have to plan out four years,” she said.
After presenting her major proposal to a committee, Gregg received approval.
“It all built up and then it was, ‘Thank goodness, they accepted me,’” she said.

While IU doesn’t have specific animation classes, digital art classes and telecommunications production classes are offered and teach necessary programs, Gregg said.
“There is a lot of self-exploration and self-teaching,” she said. “The stuff I learn in those classes, I can really apply directly.”

Gregg wasn’t always planning on studying animation at IU.
“Originally, I came to IU as a biochemistry major, and after my first semester freshman year, it was just really clear that wasn’t what I wanted to do forever,” she said.

All IMP students have to make a final project as a culmination of what they have been doing during their time at IU, Gregg said.
“Hopefully by that time, I will have the skill set to make a short animated film,” she said.


IMP is the Individualized Major Program. It allows students to pull from the major classes of multiple departments to create a custom course of study and a personalized major. Students have faculty and department sponsors, as well as IMP advisers to guide them, but it ultimately allows you to control your education.

Many students apply during their sophomore and junior years, according to the program’s website, but you may apply as early as second semester of your freshman year.

The first step is to set up a meeting to discuss your ideas with the IMP assistant director. After that, you identify faculty sponsors and secure their approval, design a four-year curriculum and participate in an admission interview. Then, you continue working on your major and B.A. requirements. The program culminates in a final project meant to show the skills you’ve gained.


Zoology, animation, enigmatology (the study of puzzles), 2-D and 3-D film and television direction, peace and conflict resolution studies, intercultural arts programming and performance, Scandinavian culture and language and magic (yes, magic).

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