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Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Independent Interdisciplinary Major

What will I learn?

IIM is an approach to answering questions, solving problems and/or addressing social issues from multiple disciplinary perspectives. You will design the IIM around a topic, theme, issue or set of questions that cannot be adequately addressed within a single existing major and choose your classes accordingly. By doing this, you will learn how to build bridges between academic disciplines to create something new.

This May Term course begins with an on-campus week of readings, discussion and a brief reflection paper. The classes will involve systematic and rigorous study of the major conceptual themes of community, service, compassion, social justice, social change and leadership. This is followed by an intensive week-long service experience that addresses a specific need such as homelessness. Finally, you will participate in a retreat to reflect on the studies, the week of service, and to incorporate the experience into an understanding of your own gladness in relation to the hunger witnessed and addressed during the service week.

Can anyone complete an Independent Interdisciplinary major?

To propose an IIM, you must have a strong academic record demonstrated by a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. You will need two letters of recommendation from faculty or staff to demonstrate seriousness of purpose and an ability to work independently and in a dialogue with faculty advisors. You can submit a proposal for an IIM after the completion of your first year and before the second semester of your junior year.


What can I do with my degree?

Career opportunities are as wide and varied as the interdisciplinary majors our students create. The additional benefit of an IIM is that you will be able to show authentic growth and application of essential skills - communication, critical and creative thinking, scientific and quantitative reasoning, intercultural and global competence - necessary for navigating today’s dynamic and interconnected world.

Take a look at some of the Independent Interdisciplinary majors our students have created.