Interdisciplinary Studies Major, B.A.

Interdisciplinary Studies

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3018A Steele Building, CB# 3504

James Thompson, Program Director

The interdisciplinary studies major, designed by the student and the student’s faculty advisor, is intended for students who wish to develop a major different from those already offered by the departments and curricula belonging to the College of Arts and Sciences.

An IDST major has more focus than many of the more traditional majors and therefore should not be seen as a default major for someone undecided about his or her course of study. The IDST major must be well conceived and substantially different from majors that students pursue through traditional departments, schools, and curricula. Students must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 and at least 45 hours left before graduation so that they can complete the major in their time left. All IDST students must identify a faculty advisor who, in the absence of a department and a director of undergraduate studies, will serve as their mentor on course selections, career planning, graduate work, and advanced study. Students are strongly encouraged to meet all of the General Education Foundations and Approaches requirements before pursuing the interdisciplinary studies major.


In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements
Eight courses chosen from at least three departments and which must be appropriate for juniors and seniors majoring in those departments. 1, 224
Total Hours24

The courses should form a coherent major to which the student is able to assign a title. Additionally, students are encouraged to select electives and General Education courses that complement the eight courses chosen for the major.

Special Opportunities in Interdisciplinary Studies

Qualified students may pursue honors through one of the departments or curricula included in their major core. 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.