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College of Arts and Letters


Interdisciplinary Studies


Ind. Interdis. Studies

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Individualized Integrative Studies (IIS) might be for You

The IDS Individualized Program gives undergraduate students the opportunity to design their own degrees based on majors that are offered at other universities, career research, and consultation with academic experts. It is an alternative for students who may be interested in emerging fields of study, or whose interests do not fit neatly within the requirements of a traditional department.

An interdisciplinary studies major requires perseverance, initiative and thoughtfulness. It is an excellent alternative for those who enjoy setting high standards for themselves, who want courses and other learning experiences to be personally meaningful, and who really are ready to do the thinking and consultation needed to design their own degree.

Students may declare an IIS major as any other major. However, formal acceptance into the interdisciplinary studies individualized program is more involved than declaring a major in a traditional department: the university must approve each individual program of study. To be accepted, the student must be in good academic standing (2.00 GPA) and must submit a proposal outlining an appropriate sequence of courses and other learning experiences. This course sequence cannot duplicate any other major and must include at least 30 hours of courses to be taken after the student is accepted by the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. Acceptance decisions are made by the Coordinator of Interdisciplinary Studies, the Advisory Committee, and faculty sponsors.

Since developing the proposal often takes several months, it is necessary to begin the process early. Students planning to major in interdisciplinary studies should begin the process in their sophomore year. Detailed application procedures will be provided to prospective students after counseling from interdisciplinary studies staff.

Course requirements for the interdisciplinary studies major will vary, but a minimum of 120 credit hours in four basic areas (university requirements, interdisciplinary studies courses, concentration and electives) is required for graduation. University general education requirements are detailed in the university catalog. These courses are not to be duplicated in the concentration area.

Interdisciplinary studies courses (6 credits) include the following, required of all interdisciplinary studies students:

IDS 300W (3 hrs): Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies      
IDS (3 hrs) Integration Project (which is comprised of one of the following): 

  • IDS 368: Interdisciplinary Studies Internship (Prerequisite: IDS 300W and senior  status required)
    Internship Guidelines (.pdf)
  • IDS 497: IDS Individualized Senior Project (Prerequisite: IDS 300W and senior  status required) 
  • IDS 493: Electronic Portfolio (Prerequisite: IDS 300W and senior  status  required)
    The area of concentration consists of course work (at least 42 credits) in the student's chosen disciplines. No more than two-thirds of these course hours may be from one discipline, and at least 30 credits must be taken at the 300/400 level. The program need not conform to any one department's degree requirements.

Note: As part of the requirements for each of these courses, a final report demonstrating interdisciplinary understandings and skills is required. Additional information about the Senior Integrative Project Essay.

Electives (the remaining credits) should be taken in courses that will strengthen the concentration area or satisfy other interests.

Students will be eligible for a degree upon satisfactory completion of the agreed upon program of study. Satisfactory completion includes an overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.00; a grade of C- or better in all courses taken within the concentration area and successful completion of an IDS Integration Project.

View a video that answers important questions about the IIS degree.