This self-designed degree is perfect for students interested in multiple disciplines, or whose career dreams don’t fit the traditional division of academic subjects at the university. The Interdisciplinary Studies (BS) – Individually Designed degree lets you assemble courses from two or more science and/or social science disciplines and make connections among them. You’ll gain a breadth of knowledge unparalleled by most academic majors, while also attaining depth in a particular area through a required minor.
This degree is especially effective for students interested in emerging fields or who want to remain open to changing career plans. Many students select this major because they see a societal problem they want to help solve, or they are interested in an academic program not currently offered at Appalachian – or one not easily pigeon-holed in one discipline. Professors teaching the course Interdisciplinary Connections: Design (IDS 2002) will guide you in putting together a clear, defensible statement of your goals and developing a contract that consists of 24 semester hours from your selected disciplines.
Examples: Hispanic Health (combining biology, health care and Spanish); Sustainable Nutrition (combining nutrition and sustainable development); Cross-Cultural Studies (combining anthropology, psychology and sociology); Documentary Studies (combining communication, film and media classes).
Employment: Many students move directly into their chosen careers. Given the wide range of interests covered by students through the self-designed degree program, our graduates have gone into a wide range of careers in healthcare, education, the entertainment industry, museums and cultural heritage sites, new media design, marketing and many other professional fields.
Graduate School: Some students choose to pursue graduate study, law school, medical school, or other professional programs.
A minor is required. Students often choose a minor that complements their self-designed program of study and demonstrates depth in a particular domain of knowledge — for example: Game Design, with a minor in Computer Science; Leadership and Community Engagement, with a minor in Non-Profit Organizations; or Eco-Therapy, with a minor in Sustainable Development.
Engagement Outside the Classroom
Appalachian has more than 400 clubs and organizations, representing lots of interests that may pertain to focus areas selected for this degree.
Appalachian is committed to introducing students to different cultures and teaching them how to live and interact in a global society.
An approved “Program of Study Contract.” This contract will consist of a minimum of 24 semester hours selected from two or more disciplines with at least 12 semester hours at the 3000 level or above. The contract may be changed, but only with the approval of the IDS advisor and the department chair. A copy of the approved contract must be on file in the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office.
- Students attracted to this degree tend to be independent minded. Many come from Appalachian’s interdisciplinary-focused Watauga Residential College.
- This create-your-own major has a strong focus on experiential learning, such as internships and service-learning, as well as undergraduate research.
- The degree is housed in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, which promotes creative, cross-disciplinary investigation of complex systems and problems.
Number of Students
50+ in the BA and BS programs combined
Method of Delivery
On campus only
- Clothing designer
- Director of theater programs
- Environmental consultant
- Court reporter
- Communications officer
- Government affairs coordinator
- Audio recording engineer
- Yoga instructor
- Youth advisor
- Park ranger
- Web project manager