Applying to the Program
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An Interdisciplinary Studies major application includes the following documents:
- A completed application form
- A Statement of Purpose (at least 250 word document)
- Supporting statements from all listed faculty advisors (at least 250 word document from each advisor)
- A transcript or APAS report
The Interdisciplinary Studies Committee scrutinizes applications carefully, because these become curricular contracts for highly individualized courses of study. Each application is unique and the following tips may help you:
- Set up a meeting with IS Program Director Katie Van Wert. She will be your primary contact person as you navigate this process.
- Allow plenty of time. Most students need a few weeks to get the application ready. Read the instructions and form carefully, trying to fill in the blanks mentally and noting things you have to learn.
- Get lots of faculty advice. Make (and keep!) appointments with faculty members whose expertise aligns with your proposed major. Faculty members know about their own disciplines and departmental requirements, but each one may not be well informed about other components of your proposed major. If you think a person would be a good advisor, ask if they would be willing to be one of your advisors.
- Draft your Statement of Purpose and bring it to your meetings with faculty. The Statement of Purpose is where a student addresses the purpose of the major being proposed. Be concise (250 word maximum) and to the point, and after you have written your statement, ask, "Did I make a convincing case for this particular major?"
- Get to know the UMD Catalog. Theoretically, any course at UMD is available for incorporating into an Interdisciplinary Studies major, but in actual practice there are real limitations from prerequisites, availability, and your own knowledge of what's out there.
- If you choose a course with prerequisites, these should be listed on the Lower Division/Prerequisite page of the application. Sometimes prerequisites can be waived by the instructor or department for I.S. Majors. If you do this, list the appropriate persons on your application form as Consulting Advisors-and get their signatures before submitting the form!
- Make an appointment to discuss your draft proposal with the Director and, after discussion, revise your proposal if necessary.
- Proofread and correct the entire application. Is your Statement of Purpose up to date? Are the course numbers correct? Any spelling errors? Did you name your advisors? Did you date the application?
- When satisfied with the application, get all advisors' signatures (both principal and consulting).
- Include advisor statements.
- Make a copy for your files and submit the original application to the Director.
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. You will receive an email notification of the status of your application.