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4.5 - Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program

A nontraditional program may be selected by students who do not choose to specialize in one of the prescribed program areas. The authority for designing and awarding an interdisciplinary doctoral degree is vested with the Graduate Council. This does not imply the relaxation of standards and levels of performance. It frees the candidate from the need to satisfy specific degree requirements of a department or unit which may not be particularly relevant to the program of study desired by the candidate. This determination is made by an Advisory Committee and the Graduate Council.

Because regular departmental programs usually require some course work in related areas, these programs must be defined so that they differ from conventional departmental programs. To this end, an interdisciplinary program is defined as one in which the candidate takes less than the normal number of courses required for a doctoral student in the disciplinary program but may require more didactic coursework than for the traditional doctoral degree. The procedures for candidacy and for earning a doctoral degree in an Interdisciplinary program are:

  1. The candidate must apply and be admitted to a graduate program authorized by the State Regents to grant the doctoral degree. Admission to the graduate program does not necessarily imply subsequent acceptance into an Interdisciplinary program.
  2. To be admitted into the Interdisciplinary program, the candidate must submit a petition to the Graduate Dean consisting of: a statement justifying the need for investigation in the proposed area; a list of courses to be included in the program of study; how this program significantly differs from existing programs; a research proposal; and a statement about the program from the proposed members of the Advisory Committee.
  3. The Graduate Dean, or a person designated by the Dean, is an ex-officio member of the Interdisciplinary Advisory Committee. The Graduate Council must approve the rationale, courses, and members of the Advisory Committee. The Graduate Council may require the student and the student’s mentor attend a Graduate Council meeting and defend the program of study. Any changes in an approved program must be authorized by the Graduate Dean.
  4. The majority of the graduate courses leading to the Interdisciplinary degree must be taken in departments or units authorized to offer the doctoral degree. Credit received for research for the doctoral dissertation may not be used to meet the preceding requirements.
  5. For the Interdisciplinary program, the degree granted will bear the name of the program in which most of the candidate's courses are taken, for example, Physiology/ Interdisciplinary.
  6. Subsequent procedures follow the rules of the Graduate College, except that the Advisory Committee is not constrained to follow the specific degree requirements of a particular department or unit.

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