Interdisciplinary Studies, M.A.

Program of Study

The degree requires 33 credit hours of study in a diverse mix of courses, from methodological seminars to thematic courses to independent studies to internships. All courses earn three credits. Many courses may be taken as an independent study.

Each student takes three foundational and core courses that lead to a self-designed curriculum focused on a particular theme, problem, or mode of inquiry. A substantial thesis, internship, or independent project provides a capstone experience.

Full-time students can complete the degree program in three semesters. Part-time study can be completed in three calendar years.

Component A: Introductory Seminar
IDS 500Interdisciplinary Methods3
Component B: Disciplinary Core
At least two courses must be taken from two different departments that outline basic research methods and current topics in the relevant field. 16
Component C: Self-Designed Curriculum
Program of study that may be individualized or follow a model curriculum to meet intellectual and professional goals. 218
Component D: Capstone 3
IDS 600
IDS 601
Capstone Research I
and Interdisciplinary Research Project II
Total Credits33

Selected as part of the Introductory Seminar, they provide the methodological basis for the individually-designed degree program. Appropriate courses are drawn from existing graduate courses and graduate-level special topics courses in relevant arts and sciences fields.


Self-designed programs might cover themes such as nonprofit leadership, women’s studies, ethnic studies, heritage tourism, professional writing and communication, religion and science, or American culture, to name just a few. A maximum of 12 transfer credit hours may be included in this component.


Two semesters of individual study primarily designed by the student in consultation with the program director. A significant project that reflects the preceding course work may include a thesis (50 pages minimum), internship with outside evaluation, or another initiative (e.g., leading a grassroots environmental campaign or designating a historic landmark). The capstone interdisciplinary project will be conducted over two semesters to allow sufficient time for design, research, revision, and self-evaluation. Successful completion of the program requires an oral defense of the capstone before program faculty.