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Graduate Education

Interdisciplinary Studies Overview

With economies becoming increasingly global more opportunities are available for those with advanced degrees to expand into new markets, new research and development, and/or new teaching roles. The future calls for more cooperation and cross-knowledge.

New careers are being developed. People beginning their graduate education are in the enviable position of having many new, exciting careers from which to choose or to create. The new focus is on broader, interdisciplinary understandings; thus, interdisciplinary degrees will play an increasing role in tomorrow's world.

The degree will be listed as Interdisciplinary Master of Science or Interdisciplinary Master of Arts. The transcript will reflect the areas of study as a "major." Determination of whether the degree selection is Science or Arts is determined by the greater emphasis in the program of study.

These degrees are truly interdisciplinary in nature, allowing each participating student and the student's committee to select course work from up to three subject areas [plus course work listed as "tools" to build a degree program meeting the student's stated needs.


Admission


Criteria

  1. A 3.25 undergraduate grade point average.
  2. A combined verbal and quantitative GRE score of 1100.
  3. Three positive letters of recommendation addressing the potential for success at the graduate level under the circumstances of an interdisciplinary degree program, from individuals qualified to make the recommendation.
  4. A letter of intent, written by the applicant, indicating the reasons the degree is being sought and a description of what courses will be requested.


Procedure

The admission of students to the interdisciplinary master's degree program will be established through the following process:

  1. A preliminary discussion with a representative (dean or associate dean) of the Graduate School. If agreement is reached to pursue admission to the program, the applicant will be encouraged to submit the application materials. A final evaluation will be made by the Graduate School regarding the applicant's qualifications to meet admission criteria and program requirements.
  2. The Graduate School will contact members of the faculty to determine interest in serving on the committee.
  3. Once the faculty committee has agreed to meet initially, they will meet with the applicant to discuss degree requirements. Any member of the committee may commit to providing office space, graduate assistantship, completion of administrative paperwork, provisions for mail delivery, etc. If agreement on these support issues is reached, the department head of the committee member making the commitments must agree in writing.
  4. If the recommendation for admission is made by the committee, the committee will be formally appointed by the dean of the Graduate School and the student will be admitted to pursue an interdisciplinary degree under their guidance.


Program Requirements


Credit Hours

The program must include a minimum of 43 hours of graduate course work, of which 37 hours will be at the 5000 level and the Program of Study must be on file with the Graduate School within the first semester of study. If the student is following the thesis option the 43 hour requirement will include four hours of 5960: Thesis Research. If the student is following the nonthesis option, thesis hours are not included. In either option, internship hours are acceptable.

Course requirements will be established by the student's graduate committee in consultation with the student, prior to formal admission to the Graduate School. Established Graduate School requirements will be followed. Courses to be included in the Program of Study may be selected from the full range of courses available at the appropriate level. All course prerequisites must first be met.


Graduate Committee

Any member of the graduate faculty at UW is eligible to serve as the student's committee chair or graduate faculty representative. The third member of the committee may come from the non-graduate faculty ranks. Existing graduate committee regulations apply to the interdisciplinary degree programs.

Interdisciplinary students may request research and/or lab access and will negotiate with the appropriate academic unit administering the space and/or equipment. Admission to the degree program does not obligate an academic unit to provide space or equipment. This discussion will most commonly occur through one of the committee members in advance. Since the degree program is interdisciplinary in nature, it is perceived that all support presently existing (including graduate assistantships) within academic units can/may be allocated at the discretion of the unit.


Examinations

Preliminary and/or comprehensive examination standards will be established and documented at the time the Program of Study is submitted to the Graduate School.

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