Applying to the Interdisciplinary Studies Major
Unlike many majors at UMD, Interdisciplinary Studies is available through a formal application process as each student works with faculty to design and propose an individualized program of study. Recent creative and successful program titles have included the following:
- Law & Society
- Classical Heritage
- Ancient Studies
- Marketing Communications
- Fashion Design, Development & Expression
- Peace Studies
Students must declare this major before completing 70 credits with a cumulative GPA of 2.50. Exceptions include returning students, transfer students admitted with 70 or more credits, and active military or veteran students, who may declare the Individualized Plan track of the major before completing 90 credits. Students who have more than 70 completed credits are advised to meet with their advisor or a professional advisor to discuss alternative options.
The Interdisciplinary Studies (I.S.) proposal should be thought out carefully with as much expert consultation as possible. The program consists of a list of courses which constitute the major (36 credits minimum at the 3xxx level or above, including 3 different areas of study), a Statement of Purpose which supplies the rationale for the proposed program, and all faculty supporting documents. NOTE: At least 12 credits within the proposal must be from the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences course offerings, though proposals can also include courses within other UMD collegiate units. The proposal should incorporate at least three different areas of study (i.e. PHIL, ART, and GEOG).
Upon approval, the application becomes an individualized Course of Study for a major leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Working with Faculty
Interdisciplinary Studies majors work closely with several faculty members, including:
- THE DIRECTOR OF INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES - Dr. Katie Van Wert, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies The Director is the initial contact for students interested in the I.S. major. Students should schedule an appointment with the Director to discuss preliminary proposals, program expectations, and guidelines.
- THE ADVISOR OF INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES - Gabbie Scott, Advising & Academic Services. The Advisor functions as an initial contact, a liaison between the students, the I.S. committee, and faculty advisors. Advisement and proposal questions may be directed to the Advisor.
- FACULTY ADVISORS. Prospective majors identify—either on their own or with advisement—two or three faculty advisors on their individualized major Course of Study form. One of these persons is the principal advisor (see below). Other advisor(s) who have counseled the student during their program may be asked to review the student's Senior Project. Each faculty advisor must submit a 250 word document in support of the individualized proposal. These supporting documents will be submitted with the application.
- THE PRINCIPAL ADVISOR - The principal advisor is empowered to authorize routine changes in course of study (substitutions because of conflicts, cancellations, special topics opportunities, etc.) and to approve the forms that are typically associated with the pursuit and completion of a B.A. degree. However, a copy of final projects must be submitted to the Director for final clearance. The principal advisors assist the students to determine the appropriate credits for the Senior Project, and they assign the Senior Project final grade. The Director posts the grade on the student's record.
STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES
Although each Interdisciplinary Studies major's curriculum is individualized, all students in the program will develop their ability to:
1. Describe the value and limitations of discipline-based inquiry
2. Analyze a range of cultural products and processes using interdisciplinary methods
3. Collaborate in problem-solving by asking productive questions, listening to peers, and sharing ideas through discussion
4. Integrate insights from multiple disciplines
5. Write focused, persuasive essays that address a complex problem
6. Relate interdisciplinary studies to individual values and goals
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES AND RIGHTS
I.S. students are responsible for keeping advisors informed of their progress toward completion of their Course of Study. Students are also responsible for procuring and completing collegiate and all-university requirements. Students may request a change in advisor at any time, although a new advisor must be approved by the Director.
Individuals who have any disability, either permanent or temporary, which might affect their ability to perform in this major are encouraged to inform the Director at the start of the program. Adaptation of methods. materials, or testing may be made as required to provide for equitable participation.