What is a Major?

Defined in its simplest terms, a major is an intentional collection of courses that reflect the knowledge and skills of a particular field of study. In addition, nearly all majors –with the exception of a few – are designed to reflect a particular academic discipline, not a specific kind of occupation or job. 

So, will an Interdisciplinary Studies major be seen as equal? Yes! Will the coursework you choose to study be an intentional collection of coursework created by the faculty? Yes! Will it prepare you to understand particular academic fields of study? Yes! And, will there be value in you being able to say you have studies in two or three different academic fields? Of course!

The names of specific majors rarely do much to tell people what a student knows, understands, or is able to do. It’s about how you frame your major and talk about it to others that counts. When you tell someone that you combined two or three different fields of study to work toward a specific goal, they will recognize and appreciate your approach.

For example, let’s say a student is interested in nonprofit organization, humanitarian work, etc. This student can pick one major, or she could do a combination or a number of small programs such as nonprofit organizations and social entrepreneurship,  nonformal and community-based education, global peacebuilding, data analytics, and digital writing and publication. Now, if you tell someone that you want a career in nonprofit work and that your Interdisciplinary Studies major included three of these programs, what do you think they will say?

Or let’s say you spent some time studying engineering but needed to change you major. But you have a good number of engineering credits. Why not combine that engineering knowledge with anticipatory intelligence and data analytics minors so you can work in the security fields. Do you think anyone won’t take your learning seriously? 

Please contact Tom Liljegren (Academic Advisor) or Matt Sanders (Faculty Mentor) with questions.


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Students may apply for admission to the Interdisciplinary Studies major after completing 30 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.25. Students who wish to pursue the Interdisciplinary Studies major must submit an application to a specific college containing the following information:

  1. A statement of the student’s educational/professional objectives and how the Interdisciplinary Studies major would help achieve those objectives.
  2. A proposed program of study including specific courses, groupings of courses, minors, and/or certificates that will comprise the student’s interdisciplinary major.  
  3. An estimated timeline for completion of the major.The application will be reviewed by and discussed with an academic advisor.

Students will then work with an academic advisor to create a plan for the major in Degree Works.

Program Requirements

  • Total Credits: 45
  • Interdisciplinary Focus: Courses used for the major must include at least 15 credits each from two different programs or disciplines.
  • Upper Division Coursework: At least 24 of the 45 credits must be at the 3000 level and above.
  • Internship Credit or Capstone Experience: Completion of the major requires one of the following courses: 1-3 credit internship, capstone course within an existing academic program, project-based upper division course, ISTU 4010, or ITDS 4900.
  • Minimum Grade Point Average to Apply to and Graduate in Interdisciplinary Studies: 2.25 Overall GPA
  • Credits in Residence: At least half (50 percent) of the credits earned for the Interdisciplinary Studies major must be earned at USU. As many as 21 credits completed at other colleges or universities may be used to partially satisfy major requirements. For more information, students should contact their advisor.

Minimum Grade Requirement: A maximum of 3 credits of a D grade can count toward the major.