When one program does not fully meet your career objectives, consider Interdisciplinary Studies
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. Students may choose between the Master of Arts and the Master of Science degree options.
1. A degree in interdisciplinary studies is not meant to be a watered-down master’s degree; it is a rigorous program that integrates two or more existing graduate programs.
2. The degree will read “Master of Arts” or “Master of Science” with a major in Interdisciplinary Studies; no other major will be recorded on the diploma or academic records. However, the transcript will show all courses taken while enrolled in the College of Graduate Studies.
3. In an Interdisciplinary program the student must be willing to take the initiative in bringing together the committee and to be responsible for making sure that all requirements are met and all procedures are followed.
4. If the student chooses the thesis option, he or she may use up to six credits of INTR 500 toward the degree.
5. Students in the Interdisciplinary Program must read the graduate section of the General Catalog and be sure they are complying with all the requirements of graduation.
6. Interdisciplinary students should consult frequently with their major professor, and should not hesitate to call or visit the College of Graduate Studies office they have questions or problems.
WHAT IT TAKES
Admission to the program
1. Regular enrollment 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 college or university accredited by a recognized accrediting association, and (2) has an undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Learn more about applying at Graduate Admissions.
2. A student wishing to apply to an interdisciplinary degree program should contact the College of Graduate Studies to discuss his or her proposed course of study prior to applying.
3. The GRE General Test is required.
4. With the application for admission, the student must submit a written statement specifically describing the interdisciplinary proposal and outlining his or her reasons for undertaking an interdisciplinary program. The student must have a major professor who has agreed to counsel the student in the proposed program. The major professor will be a faculty member from one of the disciplines named in the proposal and the professor must have graduate faculty status. If the student chooses the thesis option, the major professor will be the thesis director.
CONTENT AND PROCEDURES
1. The student and major professor nominate a program committee; the committee must have at least four members, at least one from each of the principal departments or disciplines involved in the student’s program; at least half of the committee members must be members of the Graduate Faculty.
2. After preliminary discussion and planning with the major professor, the student and the committee members develop a list of courses (a proposed study plan) that the student will take. The study plan must fulfill all of the general university requirements for the M.A. or M.S. (as outlined in the Graduate section of the U of I Catalog-30 credit minimum, at least 18 at the 500 level), and must place major emphasis on courses offered by two or more departments. This study plan must receive unanimous approval of the committee members and graduate dean. (The class schedule and the catalog will help the applicant prepare a list of possible courses. The applicant will explain how they work together to meet his or her career objectives in the admission statement.)
3. Both thesis and non-thesis options require a comprehensive report to evaluate the student's ability to integrate all disciplines included in the program. A non-thesis report form is filed with the Graduate College by the major professor.
4. The student, the major professor, and the other committee members must agree early in the student’s program on the nature of any examinations to be administered and, where applicable, on the nature of the thesis and the number of credits to be awarded.
In addition to courses drawn from two or more departments, some of the following 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. Their registrations for independent study should be in INTR 499 or 502; for research not directly related to a thesis, INTR 599; and for seminar, INTR 400 or 501.
400 or 501 Seminar (credits arranged)
404 or 504 Special Topics
499 or 502 Independent Study
500 Master’s Research and Thesis
599 Non-thesis Research
Your major professor will contact the College of Graduate Studies to get these courses on the class schedule.