What is an Interdisciplinary Studies Major?
The IDS undergraduate major is for students whose academic interests do not lie within one of the regular majors. It is a program of study consisting of a coherent set of courses from two or more departments at UF. At least ONE of these departments must be from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Students write a senior thesis or complete a final project under the supervision of a faculty sponsor as a graduation requirement for this major. Students may select a pre-established concentration or they may design their own. A self-designed major must be substantially different from a regular departmental major or major-plus-minor at UF. The plan of study must also have a clearly stated goal with a sound rationale for all courses to be taken in the program. Students may find it helpful to look at relevant majors in catalogues or on web sites from other universities as a model for their desired program.
How do I get admitted to the IDS major?
The IDS major requires at least a 3.0 UF GPA to be considered for admission. In order to apply, students must submit (1) a completed IDS Program application (2) letters of support from both faculty sponsors (3) an official copy of your UF transcripts (4) any necessary documentation if performing tests with humans, animals, etc. (ex: IRB, IACUC). Students are not officially in the program until their proposed plan of study has been approved by the IDS committee. Please note that the committee does not accept students with a GPA below 3.0.
How many courses do I take for this major?
The IDS major consists of a core workload of 20 hours at the 3000-4000 level (or higher). These courses represent the essence of the major and support the writing of the thesis. Additionally, students enroll in at least 7 hours of IDS 4906 credit (no more than 12) while they are researching/writing their thesis. Students must also complete 18 hours of elective courses at the 3000 level or above. These courses may complement the major. An IDS major must also fulfill all CLAS requirements (foreign language, general education, etc.).
When should I apply?
Students can apply when the following conditions are met: (1) student is currently in their 4th semester at UF, or early 5th semester. (2) any prerequisite courses described in the information sheet about the desired concentration have been met (if pursuing a pre-established concentration) (3) a plan of study has been created and student has found two faculty sponsors.
Where do I submit my application?
All application should be submitted in person to 2014 Turlington Hall.
When is it too late to apply for an IDS major?
The committee does not approve admission to the IDS major in the semester during which a student intends to graduate. Planning early for this major is important. Transfer students will need to apply during their second semester on campus since the committee will want to consider at least one semester of UF coursework.
Can I transfer into the program from another institution?
No. The IDS Program can only be applied for by UF students. Transfer students are encouraged to select a relevant major (ex: Microbiology or Chemistry for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology concentration) to pursue until they can apply to the program. In the rare case that this results in a ‘hold’ being placed on a student’s registration for courses relevant to the planned IDS major, the student should consult with the IDS office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to do an IDS major in order to complete research or develop a project?
No. Most departmental majors permit, and generally encourage, a senior thesis or other research experience. Many times this research can also be taken for course credit (if desired).
Do I need to do an IDS major in order to do intensive study in two disciplines?
No. You may double major (two majors in same college), dual degree (two majors in separate colleges), or pursue a major and minor.
Can I double major / dual degree with IDS and something else?
Potentially, but students are encouraged to ask themselves the reasoning behind this. One of the purposes of the IDS Program is to allow students to combine disciplines, thus forgoing the sometimes arduous task of double majoring / obtaining a dual degree. While it is often times possible to do this, please take time to determine whether or not it is absolutely necessary. In many cases students would be better served to do one very good major rather than two majors that lack substance. Also note that core coursework cannot be the same for both majors. Electives in one major can be used for core coursework of the other and vice-versa, but core coursework for both majors cannot overlap.
What kinds of problems do students encounter in planning this major?
The IDS major is not for everyone. To organize and obtain the major, especially an individualized one, requires a great deal of effort and planning. The committee may require students to resubmit an application several times. The IDS major in itself requires a large amount of self-discipline and may also take longer to complete than a regular departmental major.
Why do I need two faculty sponsors?
When you are planning your program you need to get the approval of two sponsors (primary and secondary). You will do your research under your primary sponsor. The second sponsor, who is from another discipline, should review your plan of study to ensure that it is sound and may also provide advice, as requested. View more information on the duties of faculty sponsors.
How do I find faculty sponsors?
Information on established concentrations includes a list of faculty connected with the program, as well as one person responsible for the program as a whole. Students in the science tracks should touch base with the Faculty Director for each track in order to get a list of faculty research. It is the student’s responsibility to interview faculty and find a lab that has space and an opportunity to engage in a challenging research project.
Students designing their own program or doing non-science concentrations should obtain advice from faculty who they have taken courses with or the Undergraduate Coordinators in relevant departments.
It may also be helpful to learn about faculty research interests on departmental web sites, links on the IDS website, and/or the Honors Program research webpage.
Can I change my thesis project after it is approved by the IDS Committee?
Minor changes are permitted with the permission of the main faculty advisor. For more extensive changes, please consult with the IDS office.