The College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (CGPS) encourages realignment of traditional disciplines into new patterns, crossing department and college boundaries where this will foster new areas of learning. Towards this goal, CGPS provides opportunities for students to develop individual interdisciplinary programs leading to the M.A., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees. Information on the academic requirements for these degrees is provided under designated sections in the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies section of this Catalogue.

Students in interdisciplinary graduate programs are not restricted by traditional academic boundaries. Many departments and colleges have graduate programs that allow sufficient flexibility to students to complete an interdisciplinary program while enjoying affiliation with an established academic unit. Individual interdisciplinary graduate programs are not intended to compete with or replace these programs.

Each individual interdisciplinary graduate program is administered by CGPS through the Interdisciplinary Studies Committee. Candidates interested in graduate interdisciplinary programs are advised to consult the Interdisciplinary Program website for information on program requirements (including INTD 990.0, GPS 960.0, GPS 961.0 if research involves human subjects, and GPS 962.0 if research involves animal subjects) and on the procedure to be followed for developing their program proposal.

The completed program proposal, developed by the applicant with the support of a prospective supervisor(s), will be reviewed by the Interdisciplinary Studies Committee together with other materials including transcripts, reference letters, an itinerary of taught courses that will support the dissertation work, and a listing of prospective advisory committee members. To be considered “interdisciplinary”, the proposed program must integrate course work and research into a concise program that is not available within the traditional, discipline-specific academic setting.

While the primary purpose of the degree program is to support the candidate in contributing new knowledge at the interface of two or more distinct disciplines, the program is also intended to build a capacity for interdisciplinary scholarship in general. The program will facilitate seminars and events that examine the benefits and challenges of interdisciplinary work while celebrating interdisciplinarity in all its forms.

Depending on the individual interdisciplinary graduate program being pursued, various specialized courses may be relevant and available. For details see the Course Descriptions in the Course and Program Catalogue.