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Focus Your Studies

Fostering Individual Development

CEP empowers students to take charge of their education and pursue their own learning goals. We believe that the growth of the individual occurs holistically, not just in the classroom. Our unique structure helps students explore their interests and focus their studies through self-selected methods courses, internships, senior projects, and more.

Students draft an Individualized Study Plan (ISP) upon entering the program and compile all of their work in a digital portfolio before graduating. These documents help students detail their academic pathway, draw connections between their experiences, and critically reflect upon their time at the UW.

The Individualized Study Plan (ISP) is the most important planning document that you will write in CEP. It is the program’s way of ensuring that you are intentional about your education, and that you use the freedom the major offers to chart your own educational path.

We want you to chart out your next two years in a way that is consistent with your goals as well as your graduation requirements. In this manner, the ISP is both an academic road map, laying out the courses you plan to take and the activities you plan to engage in, and a written reflection of your educational aspirations and accomplishments.

Your plan will evolve during your time in the major. You should think of the ISP as a living document, regularly revising it top reflect the changes you make as you discover new opportunities and interests.

How this works:

  • We have time set aside during Governance for you to work on your ISP
  • You will submit a draft ISP on Canvas at the end of Autumn Quarter of your Junior Year
  • The CEP Academic Advisor will update your DARS to reflect your self-selected courses
  • You continue to update your ISP quarterly, and the advisor continues to update your DARS
  • We repeat this process this until your ISP is complete and you are ready to graduate!

Getting Started:

1. Review the ISP Guidelines
2. Download the Course Worksheet Template
3. Search for interesting courses:

Example ISPs:

All CEP students are required to complete a 130-hour internship in their field of study by the time they graduate. This equates to 13 hours per week over the course of a 10-week quarter. However, students can work more hours per week over a shorter period of time, or less hours per week over a longer period of time.

CEP 446: Internship (5 credits) is a required course that is meant to be taken in conjunction with the internship itself. It provides a forum for sharing and analyzing the internship experience with other students and experienced faculty. To register for the course, fill out the CEP Internship Learning Contract and send it to

Getting Started:

1. Search for internships:

2. Review your Resume
3. Meet with a Career Coach

The senior project is the culmination of a student’s time at the UW and in the major. It is an opportunity to demonstrate what you have done, what you have learned, and how you have grown. In this manner, senior projects are not only a form of conclusion, but are also a means by which the student author and the major may be measured. Senior projects take many forms depending on the interests of the student and the needs of the project itself. Common project types include academic research projects, client-based work, artistic endeavors, or community organizing efforts.

Over the course of nine-months students identify, plan, carryout, complete, and evaluate a substantial project that they define and manage. In addition to the core work of the project itself students meet a number of required benchmarks designed to help them successfully complete the project in time for graduation. They describe and analyze their project in a formal write-up and present their findings at our annual Senior Project Night.

In Spring of 2021, we hosted our second annual Senior Project Film Festival where students created 15 minute short films to document the work they did for their senior projects. The films centered on topics of community engagement, food systems, urban design, equity, resiliency, and more. Watch the films here.

How to Choose a Project:

  • Brainstorm — What are you interested in?
  • Look backwards — What knowledge have you been pursuing?
  • Look ahead — What are you hoping to achieve?
  • Meet with a mentor
  • Partner with a client
  • Continue a class project
  • Expand your internship

The CEP portfolio is a personalized web-based collection of work that documents, demonstrates, and contextualizes your collegiate experience in CEP and the UW. As learning tools, portfolios do several important things. First, they serve as extensions of the ISP, allowing you to better plan and track your progress toward your personal learning goals. They are integrative spaces that allow you to draw connections between different elements of your educational experience. They can be reflective spaces where you can comment on your own work and see more clearly how you change and develop as you progress through your educational career. They are records of your personal educational journey where you can display the skills, knowledge, and ability that you acquire during your time in the CEP program. Lastly, they are a way for your instructors, advisors, and peers to view your work in a holistic format and provide you with feedback.

What to Include:

  • Individualized Study Plan (ISP)
  • Senior Project
  • Important artifacts
  • Reflective statements

Example Portfolios: