About IDM


The Interdisciplinary Major Program presents a special opportunity for students to take advantage of the University's strengths in the professions and the liberal arts, by designing individual programs of study that cross the lines between traditional majors.

In this program students learn:

· To identify and develop an independent research project
· To design an individual, thematic curriculum
· To engage in self-directed research
· To integrate perspectives and methodologies from different fields; and
· To work with scholars in different disciplines who share a common academic interest

Additional learning outcomes depend upon the particular focus of the research project and the disciplines chosen to investigate it.

This is a program intended for students with superior academic records and excellent writing skills who have focused ideas as to the curricula which might be most meaningful to them--students whose individual intellectual interests have led them out of the center of a major into an area which interacts with one or more other disciplines in exciting ways.

Admission to the program is competitive. A demonstrated capacity for individual work is absolutely essential. The minimum GPA requirement is 3.0, although students with GPA's below 3.3 are the exception. The screening committee considers types of courses taken as well as overall grades. Each applicant for an Interdisciplinary Major writes a 3-4 page proposal describing the areas of study to be combined, and suggesting possible directions for a senior thesis.

The Interdisciplinary Major Program is not a back door into competitive programs or a reduced version of a double major: students are required to submit and complete individual research projects with foci that are compelling to them and to the faculty of their guidance committee. During their senior year, each IDM major writes a thesis of thirty pages in length, which must be accepted by his or her thesis director and guidance committee.

Past projects have studied genetic predictors of ovarian cancer; the relationship between epileptic seizures and learning; the art and science of dance; graphic arts and the Ballet Russe; Japanese music and philosophy; the social role of photography; linguistic theoretical models in international relations; the post-apartheid generation in South Africa; a history of the region where Mexico City now stands; the Chinese political economy; questions of value in business and philosophy; conceptions of childhood; animated interactive narratives; representations of the Shoah; globalization and social movements; and the efficacy of non-violence.

If you have a topic of personal interest that really fascinates you and would like to discuss the possibility of designing your own undergraduate curriculum, contact the Interdisciplinary Major Program office.