Interdisciplinary Studies

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'Creating my own major opened my eyes to many possibilities!'


This major is available for students to design their own major before they complete 70 credits. Students who have more than 70 completed credits are advised to meet with their advisor or a CLA professional advisor to discuss alternative options. The Interdisciplinary Studies (I.S.) proposal should be thought out carefully with as much expert consultation as possible. Proposals can include courses within other UMD collegiate units. Within the proposal, students incorporate at least three different areas of study (i.e. PHIL, ART, and GEOG). Here is a listing of some creative and successful designs:

  • Law & Society
  • Classical Heritage
  • Ancient Studies
  • Marketing Communications
  • Fashion Design, Development & Expression
  • Peace Studies


THE DIRECTOR OF INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES - Katie Van Wert, CLA Assistant Professor (office: UMD English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies)

The Director is the initial contact for students interested in the I.S. major. Students should schedule an appointment with the Director to discuss preliminary proposals, program expectations, and guidelines.

THE ADVISOR OF INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES - Pam Spencer, CLA Advising & Academic Services

The Advisor functions as an initial contact, a liaison between the students, the I.S. committee, and faculty advisors. Advisement and proposal questions may be directed to the Advisor.


Students must submit their applications before they complete 70 credits and with a cumulative GPA of 2.50. The program consists of a list of courses which constitute the major (40 credits minimum at the 3xxx level or above, including 3 different areas of study), a Statement of Purpose which supplies the rationale for the proposed program, and all faculty supporting documents. NOTE: At least 12 credits within the proposal must be from CLA course offerings. Applications are reviewed after the 8th week of every term. Upon approval, it becomes an individualized Course of Study for a major leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree.

The following documents are required in the application:

  • completed application form
  • Statement of Purpose (at least 250 word document)
  • supporting statements from all listed faculty advisors (at least 250 word document from each advisor)
  • transcript or APAS report

Note: Unlike many majors at UMD, Interdisciplinary Studies is available only by formal application and committee approval. However in order to register for the Senior Project their Course of Study must be approved. Students should not apply for a change of advisor until their programs have been approved.


Prospective majors identify either on their own or with advisement two or three faculty advisors on their individualized major Course of Study form: one of these persons is the principal advisor whose responsibilities are noted below. Other advisor(s) who have counseled the student during their program may be asked to review the student's Senior Project.

Each faculty advisor must submit a 250 word document in support of the individualized proposal. These supporting documents will be submitted with the application.


The principal advisor is empowered to authorize routine changes in course of study (substitutions because of conflicts, cancellations, special topics opportunities, etc.) and to approve the forms that are typically associated with the pursuit and completion of a B.A. degree. However, a copy of final projects must be submitted to the Director for final clearance. The principal advisors assist the students to determine the appropriate credits for the Senior Project, and they assign the Senior Project final grade. The Director posts the grade on the student's record.


I.S. students are responsible for keeping advisors informed of their progress toward completion of their Course of Study. Students are also responsible for procuring and completing collegiate and all-university requirements. Students may request a change in advisor at any time, although a new advisor must be approved by the Director.

Individuals who have any disability, either permanent or temporary, which might affect their ability to perform in this major are encouraged to inform the Director at the start of the program. Adaptation of methods. materials, or testing may be made as required to provide for equitable participation.