Interdisciplinary Studies Program
The interdisciplinary studies program allows highly motivated and self-directed students to pursue a course of study that falls outside of existing majors and minors by developing an individualized cross-disciplinary course of study. Students pursuing an interdisciplinary-studies major integrate classes from multiple disciplines into a unified and coherent course of study. The principles of integration can be historical, regional, thematic or problem-focused. The interdisciplinary-studies major is not a mechanism to avoid those portions of an existing major that are uninteresting or difficult, nor is it simply a mechanism to take courses in several areas of interest. The major must be a unified program that is academically sound and will contribute to the individual student’s intellectual development. This program requires students to actively plan their program and cultivate a working relationship with their faculty advisor(s). The interdisciplinary-studies major culminates in a capstone paper or project that integrates the student’s coursework. Students proposing an interdisciplinary studies major should have a 2.5+ GPA on Berry coursework.
Students may enroll in IDS 210 to assist in the planning of their IDS application. If the course is taken before a student has declared an IDS major, IDS 210 may count toward the elective hours for the major. A student may not take IDS 210 after they declare an Interdisciplinary Studies major.
The requirements of the interdisciplinary-studies major are as follows:
- Satisfactory completion of IDS 300 by the end of the junior year;
- Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 48 semester hours, to include IDS 300 , a three-hour capstone course (see 6 below), and 21 or more additional semester hours at the 300 and 400 level;
- Satisfactory completion of at least two writing-intensive courses:
- Satisfactory completion of a 400-level capstone course or independent study (3 semester hours) in which the student will complete an interdisciplinary senior thesis or project showing how it integrates the student’s course work (typically to be supervised by the student’s interdisciplinary studies advisor).
Please note: Courses of study cannot include more than 25 percent of their content or credit hours in the Campbell School of Business, or by name or any similar means, convey a connotation of a program of study in business administration or management (restriction does not include economics).
Students interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary studies major must first secure an appropriate academic advisor. Then, in consultation with their advisor and the coordinator of interdisciplinary studies, students will write a plan outlining their course of study. The plan must consist of two elements: 1) a two- to three-page essay describing the course of study, and 2) a list of learning objectives indicating courses to be taken to achieve each objective. The plan must be developed and approved before the student completes 70 semester hours.
The essay describing the course of study should address the following points:
- Develop a program title that concisely describes the focus of study, e.g., Classical Civilization, Southern Life and Culture, Area Studies (African American, Latin American, Asian, Middle Eastern), Religion and Personality, Law and Policy in the United States, Women in Society, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Biomechanics, Educational Policy, etc.
- Describe the issue, problem or area of intellectual concern that will be the focus of the interdisciplinary major;
- Explain how courses from two or more disciplines will be integrated to create a unified, coherent program of study;
- Explain why an existing major/minor combination will not meet these needs;
- Describe any experiential-learning components of the plan, e.g., study abroad, internship, field work, independent study;
- Briefly describe a proposed senior culminating thesis or project, which will fulfill the capstone requirement;
- Describe in general terms future plans and how the individualized major will help the student succeed in these plans;
- State the intended degree, either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science, and provide a justification (see items 3 & 4 in General Degree Requirements [Inactive] ).
The coordinator of interdisciplinary studies can provide sample essays and learning objectives.
Students must have their written plan approved by their advisor, the coordinator of interdisciplinary studies, and the dean of the school in which the advisor is assigned, who will forward the plan to the provost. The provost will send a copy of the signed plan to the student, the advisor, the coordinator of interdisciplinary studies and the registrar. Any changes to the plan must be approved by the student’s advisor and the coordinator of interdisciplinary studies, who will notify the dean, the provost and the registrar of any changes. The approval of a proposed interdisciplinary studies plan is not automatic, and the final decision rests with the interdisciplinary studies coordinator in consultation with the appropriate dean. An approved interdisciplinary studies plan is officially recognized by Berry College as the student’s declared academic major.