Interdisciplinary Studies

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences recognizes that undergraduate students’ academic and professional interests may lie within more than one discipline. As interdisciplinary approaches, research, and curricular activities increasingly shape academia, the college is pleased to offer the opportunity for students to develop their own interdisciplinary program of study or embark on one of our established interdisciplinary concentrations.

Students whose academic and/or professional interests are not met by a traditional academic department may apply to the IDS Program through the Dean’s Office. IDS applicants can initiate and design an individualized interdisciplinary program of study with the help of at least (2) tenured or tenure-accruing faculty sponsors.

Interdisciplinary majors may also graduate with honors recognition. Requirements are the same as for departmental majors, with the additional provision that magna cum laude or summa cum laude recognition must be recommended by two members of the student’s supervisory committee (including the principal supervisor), who will affirm that the student conducted an individual project in IDS 4906 (or equivalent).

“Good thing I paid attention in organic chemistry.”

Kathy Fields is the founder of Proactiv and Rodan+Fields, top skincare brands in the U.S. She spent long hours in the lab for a neurobiochemistry degree.

“I want to experience science around the world.”

Phillip Dmitriev is a Frost Scholar studying for his Master’s at Oxford. He majored in microbiology and neurobiological sciences, and he plans to become a physician specializing in cognitive disorders.

Before applying, please review all requirements and information for students.

Application Deadlines


First Submission: September 15
Second Submission: November 1


First Submission: February 1
Second Submission: March 15

Note: If the application deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, please submit the next open weekday.

Minor in Interdisciplinary Studies

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences also offers an IDS minor in any of the established concentrations. You do not need to be an IDS student in order to apply, but please note that some majors preclude certain minors.

Learn more and apply at Academic Advising Center in Farrior Hall.

In addition to the ten established concentrations below, students may design a customized course of study in consultation with faculty advisors relevant to the interdisciplinary thesis project. If interested in this option, students should first contact the associate dean for IDS majors, Margaret Fields.

View a general list of concentrations, or select a concentration below for more information:


Catelyn Cantrell ’14

Medieval Literature, Culture and Modeling

“The IDS program required me to consider the purpose of my undergraduate studies. I centered my classes, thesis and research around a single inquiry: How did medieval spatial thought inform the literature of the High Middle Ages? Being able to work across disciplines introduced me to new professors and interests, which led me to two conference presentations and a fellowship. Through these experiences, I learned how to manage products and develop my own ideas. My IDS mentor, Dr. Mary Watt, was key to my professional development and an invaluable reference. The IDS application and program prepared me for a successful application cycle for graduate programs in both literature and education. For students interested in graduate study, the IDS program is a logical choice because of its research requirement and mentorship opportunities.

After receiving offers to a few different programs, I decided on a career in secondary education. Having been an IDS major, I understand both the differences and connections between different subject areas. On a more practical level, my interdisciplinary background will allow me to obtain certification in English and Social Studies. I look forward to learning how to use the knowledge I built as an IDS major to benefit communities outside of the university.”

Leanne Dumeny ’13

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

“Doing the IDS program in biochemistry and molecular biology helped me to make the most of my undergraduate experience. I became interested in the IDS program because of the flexibility to do research and take the classes needed to develop my project. The additional exposure to research also allowed me to make progress on my own research project and develop a strong background to support any project in graduate school. I was drawn to pursue an MD/PhD because I can gain both research and clinical experiences to know how to treat patients and to improve therapies through research. I was also able to satisfy all the requirements for medical school while getting exposure to the fundamentals for research such as molecular biology, genetics, physiology, and microbiology.”