The Interdisciplinary Second Major (ISM) allows students to pursue a unique learning path that integrates material from several disciplines. Working with a variety of faculty members, each student designs a comprehensive curriculum for rigorous study of a specific topic or intense training in a closely defined area.
The ISM is designed for students who have already declared a primary major in an existing program. Students may not use the ISM to achieve a second, and different, bachelor’s degree.
- Each proposed major must have an advisory committee of three faculty members representing two or more different disciplines, one of whom will be chair.
- The advisory committee will help the student prepare a proposal for the major, select courses, and develop a course that synthesizes the diverse work of the major (normally, an existing three-hour independent study course directed by a member of the faculty advisory committee).
- In order to submit a proposal for an Interdisciplinary Second Major, a student must have already declared a first major.
- The proposal should identify at least nine (9) hours of courses that will serve as a core for the major and an array of supporting courses from which the remaining credits will be chosen. In addition, the proposal should identify one synthesis course (at least 3 hours), normally taken during the student’s senior year after the core courses have been completed.
- The minimum number of hours for an interdisciplinary major is thirty-six (36). Of that number, at least eighteen (18) must be upper-division. No more than eighteen (18) hours may be taken from a single discipline. No more than nine (9) hours may be selected from courses that are used towards any other major.
- The selection of courses must ensure depth in the area of study as well as breadth of exposure to varied perspectives.
- A student who wishes to pursue an Interdisciplinary Second major must submit a proposal before the end of the second semester of the junior year. The proposal form may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.
- The Interdisciplinary Second Major Committee will consider this proposal and, if approved, will recommend it to the University Curriculum Council for final approval.
- The advisory committee will monitor the student’s progress toward the major, provide guidance, and evaluate any changes to the course of study.
- During the semester in which the student completes the coursework for the major, he or she will make a public presentation to his or her advisory committee in order to demonstrate a mastery of the interdisciplinary topic. This presentation must be organized in conjunction with the student’s synthesis course.