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Interdisciplinary Studies Masters Program

Boise State University offers a Master of Arts/Master of Science degree program in Interdisciplinary Studies. In consultation with faculty, students may combine courses from more than one school or college or more than one department to create an individualized program of educational experience. The program is designed for mature students who wish to continue education at the graduate level but do not seek specialized training concentrated in a major area. This program is not a substitute for the traditional graduate degree; rather, it is intended for students with broader interests in several fields or those whose career goals do not match fully with a single identifiable academic unit or department. Emphasis is placed on continued intellectual and cultural development in a constantly changing society where new career interests may extend over several traditional specializations.

The Interdisciplinary Studies Program is administered by the Graduate College, housed in the College of Arts and Sciences and directly supervised by the Program Director of Interdisciplinary Studies. A university-wide Interdisciplinary Studies Committee consisting of the Graduate Dean and one member from each academic School or College appointed by the respective Deans oversees the program. The Program Director of Interdisciplinary Studies serves as the chairperson of that committee. Each student in the program will also have a Graduate Committee composed of three graduate faculty members from the disciplines making up the interdisciplinary program. The student’s Graduate Committee will have the responsibility of helping the student select his or her particular course of study and will recommend to the Interdisciplinary Studies Committee that it be accepted as the student’s formal Plan of Study, thereby indicating that the members of the committee regard it as a viable program of graduate study.

The Interdisciplinary Studies Committee shall have final approval of the members of the recommended Graduate Committee and for deciding whether to approve the student’s plan of study.

Application and Admission Requirements

A prospective student must first satisfy general admission requirements and complete the process for admission to the Graduate College, as described in the BSU Graduate Catalog. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with the Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program prior to applying for admission to the Graduate College, in order to ensure the viability of their proposed program. General admission to the Graduate College does not guarantee admission to a graduate program in Interdisciplinary Studies. For admission to the MA or MS Program in Interdisciplinary Studies, a student must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. A cumulative undergraduate GPA in all prior college level work of at least 3.00 (though students who fall below this requirement but who have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 for the most recent 60 credit hours will also be considered).
  2. Successful completion of the IDS Program’s application process. Transcripts and two letters of recommendation (item 8. below) should be submitted via the online process for application for admission to the Graduate College. All other application materials must be submitted to the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies on paper forms provided by the Director. The application process includes:
    1. A meeting with the IDS Program Director to discuss the student’s educational goals and be advised as to the remainder of the application process,
    2. selection and meeting of a graduate advisory committee composed of three graduate faculty members, one of whom is to serve as chair,
    3. meeting with committee to discuss and prepare degree plan,
    4. submission of Personal Data form,
    5. submission of a completed form stating that the student’s committee has met and approved the degree plan.
    6. submission of a degree plan and three page written statement of justification which (i) states intellectual, professional, or vocational reasons for requesting entry into the program; (ii) explains why traditional degree programs do not meet the applicant’s needs, and (iii) justifies the selection of courses in relation to the conception of the individualized program as a whole, (iv) Please attach a justification of the selection of courses in relation to the conception of the individualized program of study as a whole. The justification should consist of a two to three sentence explanation of that relationship of each course.
    7. submission of a list of Learning Goals and Objectives, Outcomes, and Assessment Measures.
    8. submission of transcripts and two letters of recommendation online.
    9. approval of the application by the university-wide IDS Committee.

Applications must be submitted by September 14 for processing during the fall semester or by February 15 for processing during the spring semester.

The student’s graduate committee and degree plan must be approved before the completion of more than 6 credits toward the program.

Degree Requirements

Each program is developed individually according to the student’s interests and background but must be intellectually defensible and clearly interdisciplinary in nature. (The authoritative guide to graduate degrees is the Boise State University Graduate Catalog and students are encouraged to read it and to be familiar with policies and procedures.) The requirements of the IDS Program are as follows:

  1. Course work must be selected from a minimum of two academic areas.
  2. No more than 6 credits of work completed prior to approval of the degree plan by the IDS Committee may be included in the program.
  3. No more than 11 credits of 300G or 400G courses may be applied toward the program.
  4. No more than 9 transfer credits may be included in the program.
  5. No more than 9 credits of directed research (INTDIS 596) may be include in the program.
  6. Aggregate Restriction. No more than one third of the total credit requirement exclusive of culminating activity credit can be met by the sum of credits earned in undergraduate courses, pass-fail courses, and university-wide courses numbered 590, 592, 594-598, and 696-697 (or equivalent courses that may appear as transfer credits).
  7. Courses may not be challenged for credit.
  8. The degree will consist of a minimum of no less than 33 credits, of which no more than 16 credits may be earned in the College of Business. Students may select (with IDS Committee approval) from a thesis/project option or from a written examination option. The thesis/project will carry 6 credits. Under either option, the student will be required to draw critically upon the two or more disciplines studied and to integrate disciplinary insights.
  9. A copy of the student’s prospectus for the thesis/project option must be submitted to the Program Director immediately following the approval of the student’s faculty advisory committee. Students completing the thesis/project option will, upon completion of that option, meet with their graduate committee for a final review of the thesis or project.
  10. Students completing the examination option (typically reserved for programs involving certification) will complete a written examination prepared by the appropriate accrediting body, or by their graduate committee, with whom they will subsequently meet for a review of the results. The exam results will be filed in the IDS office.
  11. Minor revisions to the plan of study may be approved by the Program Director of Interdisciplinary Studies upon the recommendation of the student’s graduate committee; major changes must be approved by the university-wide IDS Committee.
  12. All work toward the MA/MS degree in Interdisciplinary Studies must be completed within a period of seven years.