Interdisciplinary Studies Major

Georgetown College offers a majors program in interdisciplinary studies that affords a limited number of qualified students the opportunity to pursue a major that integrates several disciplines. The interdisciplinary studies (IDST) major is typically developed during the second semester of the sophomore year with the guidance of faculty from the integrated disciplines. College sophomores in good academic standing may apply.The program presupposes that most of the student’s core requirements will have been fulfilled prior to beginning the Major.

The IDST major is research intensive and organized around central questions articulated by the student with the guidance of the faculty advisors. Successful IDST Majors must be self-motivated and independent, able to ask, pursue, and reframe questions across courses. IDST Majors must take responsibility for designing their own major in collaboration with two faculty advisors and the IDST Program Director (Dr. Bernie Cook).

A viable proposal for an IDST major must span two or more departments or programs in the College. Applicants must show that the proposed major cannot be accommodated within an existing departmental major or through the combination of an existing major plus minor. A full-time faculty member from each of the departments or programs must commit to serving as a major advisor and thesis reader (with the approval of the appropriate Department Chair or Program Director). The applicant should select a balance of coursework from each discipline in order to pursue their research questions. Students may propose to build an IDST major from an approved interdisciplinary program offering a free-standing Minor with the support of appropriate faculty.

The proposal should include a 1–2-page introduction to the proposed topic that justifies the major and outlines the research questions that guide the course of study. In consultation with faculty advisors, the student should identify 12–14 courses from College departments or programs that deliver breadth and depth in the disciplines to be explored. The curriculum should include up to 4 introductory courses, up to 4 intermediate courses, and a minimum of 4 upper-level courses  Each IDST Major must complete at least one capstone course or senior seminar (this may be a tutorial course taken with a faculty advisor). The Major is understood to involve 4 semesters in residence on the main campus (IDST Majors may not graduate early after 3 semesters). IDST Majors must receive endorsement from their faculty advisors and approval from the Program Director in order to study abroad as part of the Major. At the end of each semester, IDST Majors will produce reflective summaries of their learning across their classes. Before senior year, IDST Majors will produce a statement of integration, an updated and expanded annotated bibliography, and a thesis rationale. IDST Majors must produce a senior thesis project that explores the key questions and integrates their curriculum. This project may be a traditional written thesis or maybe an experimental or creative project (with the approval of support of the faculty advisors and the Program Director).

Applications for the IDST major should be made in the spring of the sophomore year to the College Dean’s office. Students must convey preliminary interest to Dean Bernie Cook, IDST Major Program Director, by February 1 of their sophomore year. Final proposals are due by March 1. Applicants should submit the proposal with signatures of the ordinary faculty advisors as well as the appropriate department chairs or program directors. Application forms are available online or in the Office of the Dean, ICC 303.