Interdisciplinary Studies Major
In this Section
Dates & Deadlines
- Fall Deadline: September 1
- Extended to Friday September 8, 2023 for Fall 2023
- Spring Deadline: February 1
A student interest session will be held on Tuesday, August 22 at 6pm (EST). View event details.
The interdisciplinary studies program (IDST) provides an alternative for students whose academic interests cannot be met by an existing major. The IDST major requires considerably more preparation and academic focus than many of the more traditional majors and should not be seen as a default for someone undecided about their course of study. The major must be well conceived and should not parallel existing majors or replicate courses of study in the professional schools. Students are strongly encouraged to complete most of their General Education requirements before pursuing an IDST major.
- Program Requirements:
- Eight core courses from at least three departments, with a maximum of four from any one department.
- At least eight substitute courses
- A grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0
- Sophomore standing (or above) with at least 45 hours left before graduation (approximately three semesters of coursework)
The IDST Advisory Board strongly discourages double majors in the IDST program.
- Additional Requirements:
- Students may not include courses numbered over 699 to count towards the major course of study
- Students may include up to three courses they have already or are currently taking
- Students may not use more than 3 credits of independent study courses (those courses typically end in 93, 94, 95, 96, and senior honors thesis courses numbered 691H – 694H)
All courses must be appropriate for juniors and seniors majoring in those departments. Please be aware of courses that have prerequisites, major restrictions, or have not regularly been offered.
- Review the application form and requirements.
- Identify a faculty sponsor who has teaching and/or research experience directly related to the IDST topic.
- Complete the application form, in consultation with your faculty sponsor.
- Submit a complete and signed application form to the following email IDST-Director@unc.edu by September 1 for the fall semester or February 1 for the spring semester.
- Students will be notified of a final decision within 4 weeks after the application deadline.
A faculty sponsor helps students develop their coursework and program topic. A faculty sponsor is also available for support, advice, and guidance, particularly regarding research opportunities, graduate study, and career options. The faculty sponsor must be from the College of Arts and Sciences and from one of the departments reflected in the core course requirements.
IDST students may participate in the undergraduate research opportunities available in the departments and curricula that constitute their program of study; they sometimes complete an internship either in the summer or during the academic year, and an honors thesis in their senior year.
Examples of Previous IDST Topics
- entertainment management
- cultural studies
- food studies
- museum studies
- medical geography
- medical humanities
- epidemiology and policy
The IDST program is directed by the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Curricula in conjunction with an Advisory Board, representing the three divisions of the College. The Board reads and approves all proposals, and initiates any policy changes.
Questions about the major can be directed to IDST-Director@unc.edu.