Preparing a Proposal
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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.
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. 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.
Make an appointment and keep it.
Bring along a draft of your "Statement of Purpose."
If you think a person would be a good advisor, ask if they would be willing to be one of your advisors.
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 of prerequisites and prior knowledge, as well as restrictions on space available.
Many courses list 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!
Statement of purpose. This is where a student addresses the purpose of the major being proposed. Be concise and to the point, and after you have written your statement, ask "Did I make a convincing case for this particular major?".
Proofread and correct the entire application. 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 CLA Advising office. Make an appointment to discuss your draft proposal with the Director and, after discussion, revise your proposal if necessary. Submit your final draft to the Director before the end of the 8th week of the semester. The I.S. committee will meet to consider applications the week or two after the deadline. You will receive an email notification of the status of your application.