Degree Overview

For reasons including broad interests or career aspirations that do not fall categorically into a single major, students may seek out alternative options for earning a bachelor’s degree. The Interdepartmental Major is an individualized program of study designed to meet the needs of these students. This option allows students to pursue an interest not supported by a current major to blend offerings from at least three traditional disciplines into a new major of their own design. As such, proposals for IDMs are expected to integrate these areas of study around a single theme. Developing a curriculum plan can take considerable time and thought, so students should consult as soon as possible with faculty advisor(s) and/or the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) to develop a proposal that meets their needs and the requirements of the program.

A student interested in this program should seek out a faculty advisor, who will work with him or her to construct an individualized program that meets the student’s educational objectives, fulfills the requirements of University Studies and the College of Arts and Sciences, and demonstrates academic credibility to the University. Students may elect either a BA or BS degree in this major.

Required Courses

The Interdepartmental Major must include a minimum of 45 credits including:

  1. A minimum of 18 credits from one department within the College of Arts and Sciences (the primary department) and a minimum of 12 credits from each of two other departments within the University. 

  2. At least 15 of the 18 credits earned in the primary department and 6 of the 12 credits earned in each of the other departments must be in courses numbered 300 or above.

  3. A capstone course (IN495 or a capstone course approved for a major sponsored by the primary department) that includes a senior project and a reflection on what has been learned through this interdisciplinary study.

The student is responsible for writing a rationale for pursuing the interdepartmental major. This rationale should be developed in close consultation with a faculty member from the College of Arts and Sciences. This rationale must include:

  1. a narrative, naming and describing the major and how it fits into the student’s plans or aspirations;

  2. a description of at least 3 key learning outcome goals for the major;

  3. a description of how the learning outcome goals will be assessed through the capstone course; and

  4. a tentative plan of study that includes the courses selected from each of the three departments

The individualized program plan of study must be approved by a committee of the chairs of all relevant departments (or their designees) and by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The committee, in consultation with the student, will select an advisor. Subsequent revisions of the plan of study must be approved by the advisor after consultation with this committee.

A copy of the IDM program plan of study must be filed with the Registrar’s Office and any subsequent changes in program or substitutions of courses in any of the three areas needs to be reported to the Registrar in a timely manner.

Internships and Capstone

IN478. Interdepartmental Internships (1-3) Opportunities outside the classroom designed to help the student develop professional skills and experiences specifically in the career interest of the student. Internships are established in cooperation with agencies, businesses, and institutions in the local area. Maximum of 4 credits toward the major.

IN495. Interdepartmental Capstone (3) Senior Interdepartmental majors complete this independent study course in the first semester of their senior year. The student will prepare a project/thesis/study that provides opportunity to reflect upon and synthesize the intention of the major.