Interdisciplinary Self-Designed Major - ISDM

The Interdisciplinary Self-Designed Major (ISDM) allows a student to combine two or more disciplines in a way that meaningfully and creatively addresses an interdisciplinary question, problem, or theme, and/or prepares a student for further study or a career in an interdisciplinary field. This program has two pathways.

The Advanced Pathway is intended for students initially declaring a major in this unique program of study. Students following this pathway should complete the formal proposal process during the sophomore year. Students studying abroad during the sophomore year are encouraged to begin the pathway early. A student must be in good academic standing at the college prior to application to the Advanced Pathway.

The Individualized Pathway is aimed at students wishing to explore a self-designed option later in their college career (i.e., students changing an already declared major). Students should complete the formal proposal process and have their program of study approved at least two semesters before anticipated graduation.

Both pathways within the major have the same credit/course requirements, as outlined below. Inquiries regarding procedures, timelines, and other details for either pathway should be directed to the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Credit/Course Requirements for all ISDM pathways (minimum 10 courses and 29 credits)

  • Four 100-200 level introductory courses from at least two disciplines (3-4 credits each, 12-16 credits total)
  • At least four 300-400 level courses, distributed across focal areas of study (3-4 credits each, 12-16 credits total)
  • One 300- or 400-level course that prepares the student for her comprehensive project (2-4 credits)
    • Examples include, but are NOT limited to:
      • A methods course in the sciences, social sciences, or humanities
      • An upper division course in the arts that develops key techniques or skills
      • An upper division course in a professional program emphasizing key approaches in a field of study.
  • One senior seminar or independent study (400-level) for completion of the senior comp (2-4 credits) chosen from:
    • One of the two focal areas of study OR
    • Another area of study that comes closest to meeting student needs

Note: No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a second major and/or minor program. No more than three LO1 courses from the Sophia Program may be double counted with the proposed program of study. In keeping with college policy, no more than 6 hours of independent study may be taken within the program of study, with no more than 9 hours total counting toward the total 128 hours needed for a degree. This total excludes an independent study used for completion of the senior comprehensive. For internships, generally no more than 6 hours may be applied toward the fulfillment of major requirements or toward the 128 hours required for a degree. In keeping with college policy, at least one half of the major course work must be completed on Saint Mary's campus.