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Interdepartmental Programs


Has your educational path made you think about a more personal, autobiographical degree, one that is built on your individual and academic interests investigated from a variety of disciplinary perspectives?

Interdepartmental majors, minors, and clusters are an avenue for Rochester undergraduate students to forge their own academic experience by combining courses already offered at the University to create a customized program of study.

Interdepartmental Requirements

Major: Consists of ten core courses (40 credits) from at least two departments, and up to four supplementary courses. The major is supervised by two faculty advisors, and is approved by the Committee on Individualized Interdepartmental Programs (CIIPC).

Minor: Consists of six courses (24 credits) and is supervised by one faculty advisor.

Clusters: Consists of three courses. Students should use the following flowchart to determine if the cluster should be considered and to determine next steps.

Getting Started

If you have a preliminary idea for a major or minor, you should ask yourself: “Is it possible for me to follow a similar course of study through some combination of existing majors, minors, or certificates?” If your answer is “no,” then you may want to consider applying for an interdepartmental program.

If you have determined that your interests cannot be met within the framework of existing programs at the University, meet with an advisor in the Multidisciplinary Studies Center in order to further explore your options. Be particularly careful when your area of interest has a professional as well as a liberal arts orientation. Degrees or minors of a pre-professional nature (e.g., pre-med or physical therapy) cannot be approved.

How to Apply

The deadline to submit application materials is either November 1 or March 30. Interested students should meet with an advisor in the Multidisciplinary Studies Center well before this deadline to help ensure their proposal meets interdepartmental guidelines.

All applications must include: 

  • Completed interdepartmental proposal form
  • Proposal essays
  • Completed recommendation form(s) from faculty advisor(s)

Application Materials

You must download and electronically fill out all forms which apply to you.

*Please see the interdepartmental cluster flowchart for specific guidelines.

Other materials:

Deadlines: Spring 2020

Draft Deadline

For the spring 2020 semester, all interdepartmental applicants are strongly encouraged to submit drafts of their proposals to the Multidisciplinary Studies Center by Wednesday, March 18, 2020, to ensure complete applications by the April 1 submission deadline. In spring 2020, April 1, 2020, is on a Wednesday.

Proposal Deadline

Completed proposals (interdepartmental proposal form, proposal essays, and completed faculty advisor recommendation forms) are due by April 1, 2020.

Please note: November 1, 2019 is the last opportunity for seniors to submit interdepartmental proposals (this includes interdepartmental clusters); second semester seniors are noteligible to submit interdepartmental proposals.