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Interdisciplinary Studies

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 |


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Patricia La Noue

Interdisciplinary Studies Committee

Robert Deluty
Brian K. Grodsky
Kriste Lindenmeyer
Robin Majeski
Steven McAlpine
Timothy Oates
Julia M. Ross
Carrie Sauter
Geoffrey Vaughan
Frederic Worden


Susan Schreier

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.

Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Design Process

Students should visit 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 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

  1. 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:
  2. 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.
  3. A minimum 2.5 GPA is required to submit a degree proposal.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. All university degree requirements must be met, including the general education and upper-level course requirements.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.