Interdisciplinary Studies (M.A. or M.S.)

Master of Arts/Master of Science. Major in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Admission for graduate study leading toward an M.A. or M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies may be granted to a student who

  1. has received a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, and
  2. has an undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

As the application requirements are significantly different for the interdisciplinary graduate program, a student wishing to apply to an interdisciplinary degree program should contact the College of Graduate Studies to discuss their proposed course of study prior to applying. 

With the application for admission the student must submit the following:

  1. a written statement specifically describing the interdisciplinary proposal and outlining their rationale for undertaking an interdisciplinary program,
  2. the name of a faculty member with graduate faculty status from one of the disciplines named in the proposal who has agreed to counsel the student in the proposed program and serve as major professor,
  3. a proposed study plan, and
  4. a program committee.

The program committee must have at least four members: at least one member from each of the principal departments or disciplines involved in the student’s program and one member appointed by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. At least one half of the program committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty. 

The objective of the graduate interdisciplinary studies degree is to provide a student with the opportunity to design a specific program of study when the student’s needs or desires do not fall within an established graduate program. The M.A. or M.S. degree in interdisciplinary studies is a rigorous program that integrates existing graduate level coursework from two or more graduate programs. Students may choose between the Master of Arts and the Master of Science degree options, and either option can be non-thesis or thesis. A student choosing the thesis option may use up to six credits of INTR 500 toward the degree. Of the minimum 30 credits required, at least 18 must be at the 500-level. The remainder may be at the 400-level. In addition to graduate courses drawn from two or more departments, some of the courses from the Interdisciplinary Studies “Courses” section of the Catalog may be useful. Students majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies should register for INTR 500 for their thesis research, INTR 502 for directed study, INTR 599 for research not directly related to a thesis, and INTR 501 Seminar for seminar. The major professor or department administrative assistant will contact the College of Graduate Studies to enter these courses on the class schedule. No more than ten credits in total of directed study, special topics, or seminar will be allowed. 

There is no typical study plan for an interdisciplinary studies degree program. Each student seeking the master's degree in interdisciplinary studies must, with the counsel of a major professor, develop a study plan which blends the two graduate programs and supports the student's interdisciplinary proposal. The proposed study plan must be unanimously approved by the student's program committee and the dean of graduate studies.

The program is administered by the department of which the student's major professor is a member. For both the thesis and non-thesis options, there must be a comprehensive examination that evaluates the student's ability to integrate all disciplines included in the program and to respond logically to related questions of a general nature. The general university credit requirements for the M.A. and M.S. degrees apply to the interdisciplinary studies degree as well; see the College of Graduate Studies section for the requirements applicable to all M.A. and M.S. degrees.

Procedural details for developing, receiving approval for, and carrying out an interdisciplinary degree program are available from the College of Graduate Studies.