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Sample Interdisciplinary Studies Majors | Career and Academic Paths | Academic Advising | B.A. or B.S. Degree | Departmental Honors | Internships, Independent Study and Capstone Project | Student Organizations | Two Types of Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Proposals | Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Design Process | Requirements of an Interdisciplinary Studies Proposal |
DirectorPatricia La Noue
Interdisciplinary Studies CommitteeRobert Deluty
Brian K. Grodsky
Julia M. Ross
Courses in this program are listed under INDS.
Interdisciplinary Studies welcomes students with diverse academic interests to explore the possibilities of bridging disciplines, widening perspectives, discovering connections and integrating knowledge. Interdisciplinary Studies is an innovative way for students to accommodate their individuality by combining different fields of study into one unique major.
Since 1969, Interdisciplinary Studies at UMBC has provided students the opportunity to complete a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree by designing a course of study compatible with their specific educational and career goals. Individually designed majors are ideal for students who wish to be engaged in a collaborative academic environment and work closely with faculty and staff. Degree proposals must be developed with faculty guidance, facilitated and supported by the Interdisciplinary Studies advisors, and approved by the Interdisciplinary Studies Committee (ISC). The ISC is composed of faculty members from a variety of disciplines along with the Interdisciplinary Studies staff and is charged with approving Interdisciplinary Studies policy as well as ensuring the academic integrity of each self-designed degree proposal for status as a major.
Students are encouraged to declare Interdisciplinary Studies as a major in their freshman or sophomore year. The earlier students get involved with Interdisciplinary Studies, the more opportunities there are to explore ideas, share in Interdisciplinary Studies events and receive developmental advising as they examine their options.
A completed degree proposal is not required to declare the major. Each degree proposal must be endorsed in writing by faculty advisors and approved by the Interdisciplinary Studies advisor before it can be submitted to the Interdisciplinary Studies Committee for consideration after 60 credits are earned, and approved by the ISC before the student completes 90 credits.
Sample Interdisciplinary Studies Majors
Arabic and Middle Eastern Cultural Studies
Evolution and Literary Theory
Human Computer Interaction
Integrative Health CareInternational and Global Studies
International Security and Counter-Terrorism
Music and World Culture
Religious Studies and Counseling
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education and Inclusion
Spatial Aspects of Emergency and Disaster Response
Studies in Medical Illustration
Career and Academic Paths
Interdisciplinary Studies graduates are prepared to enter professional careers or pursue advanced training. Degree proposals are designed with an eye toward preparing students for their stated career goals. Recent graduates have embarked on careers with international aid organizations, the media, arts, environmental organizations, computer firms, allied health organizations and government agencies. Others have pursued advanced training and completed doctorates in various disciplines. Interdisciplinary Studies alumni also include graduates of professional schools, including medical, divinity and law.
Students are invited to the Interdisciplinary Studies office (Fine Arts, 543) to meet with an academic advisor. Each student will receive guidance and mentoring from professional staff as well as UMBC faculty. Developmental advising is comprehensive in Interdisciplinary Studies, and many students are guided to design an Interdisciplinary Studies major along with another major, minor or certificate. Interdisciplinary Studies advisors are available to discuss academic programs, course selection, internships, independent study, study abroad options and other areas of academic interest.
B.A. or B.S. Degree
Students may complete requirements for either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. Titles of individually designed majors are included on the final transcript (e.g., Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies: Biomedical Ethics).
To graduate with Interdisciplinary Studies Honors, students must have a minimum 3.5 overall GPA and are required to take honors courses including INDS 330H Ways of Knowing or INDS 430H Interdisciplinary Studies Seminar, and INDS 490H Capstone Project Honors.
Internships, Independent Study and Capstone Project
Students are encouraged to complete at least one internship in their area of interest. Interdisciplinary Studies majors have completed internships in such areas as law enforcement, business, government, health care, education, and the environment. Students arrange their own internships under the guidance of Interdisciplinary Studies advisors and enroll in INDS 410 Internship. Students are also encouraged to seek additional research opportunities and, in some cases, may receive credit for INDS 400 Independent Study. The Capstone Project (INDS 490) is required of all Interdisciplinary Studies majors. The student pursues an area of independent research with the faculty mentors closely monitoring the student’s work.
The Interdisciplinary Studies Council of Majors is open to students interested in an interdisciplinary approach to education. The council, which meets bimonthly, sponsors service, social and educational events throughout the year and provides an informal student network among Interdisciplinary Studies majors.
Two Types of Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Proposals
Type A Type A proposals have an identifiable theme of concentration. Students develop a thematic area of concentration that integrates several disciplines with a maximum of 21 credits in one discipline. Representative Type A proposals include: environmental management, cognitive science, international and global studies, arts management, and bioethics. Type B Type B proposals draw from two or three distinct disciplinary or professional concentrations and provide a rationale for the integration of these disciplines or fields. Examples include Education in an Intercultural Setting, and Theatre and English with an Emphasis on Playwriting. Instead of a thematic concentration, students complete a minimum of 18 credits in courses at the 200 level or higher in each of two disciplines, or 15 credits relevant to their learning objectives in each of three disciplines. Students will demonstrate integration of their disciplines in the Capstone Project.
Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Design Process
Students should visit http://www.umbc.edu/inds to view the video describing the program and read through sample Learning Objectives. The next step is to arrange a meeting with an Interdisciplinary Studies advisor to explore the possibility of the major. Students can contact the program at firstname.lastname@example.org. Following the initial advising meeting, students will continue exploring options with their Interdisciplinary Studies advisor who will guide them through the proposal development process. Students will obtain two faculty advisors from two disciplines strongly represented in their degree proposal. One of the advisors must have full-time faculty status at UMBC. Academic requirements must be discussed with the Interdisciplinary Studies advisor while completing the degree proposal form before it is submitted to the Interdisciplinary Studies Committee. Students can declare the Interdisciplinary Studies major at any time before earning 90 credits. Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to declare the major early to maximize the benefits of academic advising.
Requirements of an Interdisciplinary Studies Proposal
- The degree proposal should reflect the student’s intellectual and career goals and should describe an advanced level of study. Proposal forms are available in the Interdisciplinary Studies office and on the Web site: www.umbc.edu/inds.
- The degree proposal must be comprised of courses from at least two academic disciplines, and it cannot duplicate a course of study presently available within an existing academic department at UMBC.
- A minimum 2.5 GPA is required to submit a degree proposal.
- Degree proposals must be submitted after the student earns 60 credits but before 90 credits. Each degree proposal must be endorsed in writing by two faculty advisors and approved by the Interdisciplinary Studies advisor before it can be submitted to the Interdisciplinary Studies Committee for consideration.
- The proposed degree plan must consist of at least 42 credits of standard university course work at the 200 level and above. 100 level courses, although necessary prerequisites, are not counted towards the major. A maximum of 12 transfer credits from another institution may be included. The majority of courses in the proposed degree plan must be at the 300 and 400 levels.
- All university degree requirements must be met, including the general education and upper-level course requirements.
- Each Interdisciplinary Studies major is required to take INDS 330 Ways of Knowing, INDS 430 Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies, INDS 480 Capstone Project Seminar and INDS 490 Capstone Project.
- A capstone project, supervised by faculty advisors, must be completed in the senior year. The project may consist of a research paper, a video, an artistic endeavor exhibiting the culmination of a specific area of study or other work approved by the faculty advisors and the Interdisciplinary Studies Committee. All capstone projects must include a written description of the need for an interdisciplinary framework, a detailed explanation of methodology, and an explanation of the integrative strategies applied.
- A grade of “C” or better must be earned for each course listed on the proposed degree plan. The grade of “pass” is acceptable if a course is offered only on a P/F basis.
- Any change in an approved degree plan must be requested in writing, approved by the student’s faculty advisors, the Interdisciplinary Studies advisor and the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies.