The Interdisciplinary Major Program is offered by the USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences for highly qualified students with a focused subject matter that does not fall within the scope of a single major discipline. Students whose academic goals cannot be satisfied by pursuing an existing major, or combination of majors and minors, propose individual interdisciplinary majors by enlisting the support of two faculty members from different disciplines who are willing to serve as Guidance Committee members on that student's individual project. (One of these two faculty must be from a department in the USC College.) The student complete an application form and attaches a 3-or-4-page desciption of his or her intended program of study.
What does my signature mean?
Support of a student's Indersciplinary Major implies that the faculty believe the project to be worthwhile, that it should form the basis of a coherent undergraduate education, and that the resources necessary to complete it are available at the University, including the faculty member's own time. THere are two supporting roles for faculty to accept:
The Guidance Committee Chair, who will meet with the student, helping to draw up an appropriate curriculum of eight upper-division (300- or 400-level), 4-unit courses plus the Senior Thesis, INDS 494, a ninth course to be completed at the end of the student's undergraduate program. The Guidance Committee Chair agrees to supervise that Thesis, which includes a substantial research paper of 30 pages or so, and may also include other original works such as book manuscripts, screenplays, intermedia projects, and so on.
The Second Reader, who will also meet with the student to assist the student in drawing up a curriculum, particularly in those academic areas in which the faculty has expertise, and to help the student toward the completion of his or her inderdisciplinary project. THe Second Reader will serve as a second reader on the student's final research paper, as well, and may direct a Tutorial or Independent Study with the student in the process.
The Guidance Committee, comprising of a Chair and Second Reader, meets with the student soon after the proposal has been approved by the Interdisciplinary Major Program, to discuss the project together and chart an academic course.
Once or twice a semester, the Interdisciplinary Major Program brings students and faculty working on projects to share their experiences and resources; both faculty and members supporting an individual student are invited. Although students are usually urged to attend, faculty participation at these gatherings is voluntary, respecting your busy schedule.
For more information about the IDM program, pelase call Richard Fliegel at 740-2961.