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Advising Handbook

Interdepartmental Studies

Students interested in pursuing an individualized interdepartmental major, minor, or cluster should be referred to the Multidisciplinary Studies Center in Lattimore 203. Informational handouts and application forms are available there.

Because individualized majors and minors require more time to organize than traditional majors or minors, interested students should begin their preparation as early as possible. Students can apply anytime up until their first semester of senior year.

Previously approved interdepartmental program majors and minors are available online and can be helpful to review when planning your own program.

Creating an Interdepartmental Major or Minor

Planning a Proposal

An interdepartmental major or minor should be a unique course of study that can’t be completed through some combination of existing majors, minors, or certificates.

If you have determined that your interests cannot be met within the framework of existing programs, meet with a multidisciplinary studies advisor to explore your options and see if an interdepartmental program is right for you.

Faculty Sponsors

The student needs a commitment from two faculty members to sponsor his or her interdepartmental major, and one faculty member for a minor.

While initiating contact with the faculty is the student’s responsibility, the center’s staff advisors will help students to identify potential faculty advisors.

Submitting Your Proposal

After consulting faculty and staff advisors, the student submits a proposal. The faculty advisors will be asked to write in support of the proposal, indicating their appraisal of the student’s ability to benefit from the program, their evaluation of its coherence, and their satisfaction with the courses taken.

The deadlines for submitting proposals are April 1 and November 1.

Proposal Assessment

The College Committee on Individualized Interdepartmental Programs decides on the acceptability of the proposal. Students are notified by letter of the committee’s decision within a few days of the meeting.

If the proposal is not approved, students will be given helpful recommendations on alternatives, such as amendments, or referrals to existing combinations of majors, minors, and/or certificates.

Programs of a pre-professional nature (e.g., business, accounting, pre-med) cannot be approved.

Creating an Interdepartmental Cluster

Individualized clusters can be proposed with the support of two faculty members. These clusters generally consist of courses from three separate departments. Talk to multidisciplinary studies advisor in Lattimore 203 before submitting a proposal.

The deadlines for submitting proposals are April 1 and November 1. Proposal forms are available in Lattimore 203.

Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

BS in Engineering and Applied Sciences

Students who want to pursue the BS in interdepartmental engineering (IDE) should meet first with a Hajim School advisor in the College Center for Advising Services to discuss the process. An IDE major requires that students propose and complete three sequences of technical courses of their own choosing, and complete an independent study that culminates in a written senior thesis or design project. The Interdepartmental Programs in Engineering (IDE) Committee reviews each proposal and may accept it, reject it, or require it to be modified. The program approved by the IDE Committee for a given student constitutes that student's degree requirements.