Interdisciplinary Concentration Proposal
A proposal for an interdisciplinary concentration includes five elements:
- A cover sheet with signatures of appropriate faculty (see p. 2) – Department Chairs/Program Directors from all departments/programs that will contribute courses to the concentration need to sign off on the proposal. The proposed advisor for the concentration (i.e., the person who will serve as an academic advisor and who will supervise the senior thesis) also needs to sign the cover sheet. The other materials for the proposal should be prepared before you seek signatures so that faculty members can assess your program and decide whether or not to endorse it, provide you with feedback, etc.
- An explanation of the concentration – An interdisciplinary concentration integrates courses from at least two departments into a coherent logical whole. You cannot design a personal concentration within a single department in order to avoid departmental requirements. Your proposal should, therefore, make clear how the pieces of the various disciplines fit together, and should show an orderly progression of increasingly difficult courses. Proposals which paste together numerous introductory courses are unlikely to be approved. The concentration should culminate in a senior project (INTER 500) that integrates previous courses, and your junior year should be planned to prepare for that project. In 1-3 typed pages, you should define the concentration, state your goals, explain why these goals cannot be as efficiently achieved by a regular concentration and minor, and justify your desire for a special, individual course of study. Your goals should be numbered and should focus on the following questions: What do you plan to achieve with your concentration? What particular skills do you intend to gain? What body of knowledge do you hope to master? If you intend to declare a minor or second major, explain. Remember that your statement will be evaluated by faculty members who will notice and be displeased with mistakes in spelling and grammar.
- A goals sheet and chronological plan (see p. 3) – The Committee on Academic Standing expects to see at least two courses in each goals category; each course should appear only once on the list. If you have not yet met a goal, note how and when you intend to meet it. You may supplement lists of courses with explanations of how you have interpreted or satisfied the goals in ways that are uniquely your own. The Committee on Academic Standing is generally more receptive to the student who satisfies the goals using a variety of departments than to the person who uses only a few. You must also demonstrate to the Committee that your plans can be realized within the time available.
- A statement of support from the proposed concentration advisor. Advisors should submit a detailed letter supporting the proposed concentration and senior project and indicating that they a) reviewed the complete schedule of courses for the proposed concentration with the student, b) approved the specific list of courses and chronological plan on the goals sheet (p. 3 of this application), and c) understand that these courses are likely to be available when the student wants to take them. Advisors should also acknowledge that students will be allowed to substitute a maximum of two courses from the list on the goals sheet without needing approval from the Committee on Academic Standing. If students want to change more than two courses then they need to re-submit their proposal to the Committee along with advisor support for those changes.
- A report on the progress/plan for completion of other degree requirements – You need to describe how you will meet the Writing Program and SSIH requirements