Interdisciplinary Studies


The Interdisciplinary Studies major program is overseen by the Deans Council with the Primary Area Dean as the point person.
Student applications are approved by the Dean over the primary discipline selected. Please see an academic advisor and faculty advisor to begin the process of developing a IDS major proposal.

The Discipline

The Interdisciplinary Studies major effectively allows the student to propose a customized, interdisciplinary program leading to a Bachelor’s degree. Students who wish to pursue an IDS major should plan to declare this major before reaching 75 credit hours. The program is designed to be flexible within certain limits. This is not a collection of courses that together have neither meaning nor focus.

Career Opportunities

The choice of this type of degree needs to be carefully considered in relation to what career opportunities it will provide. Because of its interdisciplinary nature, it may not lead to job or graduate school opportunities which require a rigorous, structured course load in a single subject. Please discuss this with your faculty advisor.  The student has the opportunity to show how their proposal will meet this criterion in their proposal.

Programs and Degrees

B.A. or B.S. Interdisciplinary Studies, with the emphasis areas to be listed on the transcript
Recent interdisciplinary majors that have been approved include:
  • Art/Communications
  • Business/Communications
  • Business/Technical Writing
  • Communication/Tourism
  • Education/Information Systems
  • English/International Business Management
  • English/Theatre
  • Exercise and Sport Science/Business
  • Hawaiian Studies/International Cultural Studies
  • Health Psychology
  • Information Systems/Communications
  • Instructional Design and Development/Art/Information Systems
  • Organizational Behavior/Communications
  • Practical Linguistics
  • Psychology/Social Problems
  • Spanish Education
  • Sports Psychology


Program Outcomes

  1. Demonstrated competence in core learning, abilities and competencies.
  2. A demonstrated positive capability with diversity, civic responsibility, working with others, and to engage in lifelong learning.
  3. Demonstrated breadth in the areas of cultural and aesthetic, social and political, as well as scientific and technical knowledge expected of educated persons in this society.
  4. Communicate proficiently both orally and in writing in the English language.
  5. Effective uses of critical thinking skills to solve problems.
  6. Demonstrate proficiency in a variety of software useful in professional environments.
  7. Learn independently and understand the importance of continuous learning.
  8. Complete an integrated in-depth focused and sustained course of study of sufficient breadth and depth to prepare them for work, citizenship, and a fulfilling life.

Click here for the IDS major requirement sheet

Admission to Program

The Interdisciplinary Studies major is intended to meet the needs of students who have clearly defined academic and /or career goals that cannot be satisfied by completing any other established major program.
To apply for acceptance as an IDS major, the student must supply the following:
  1. The IDS Major Requirement Sheet
  2. A proposed major academic plan (MAP).
  3. A proposal that explains the student’s goals and the rationale behind the proposed curriculum.
  4. An explanation of the proposed capstone experience.
  5. Signature of the Primary Emphasis Dean verifying that the proposed curriculum will meet the goals and needs of the student.
  6. A minimum of 15 semester hours in residence at BYU-Hawaii.

Major Requirements

Students completing a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies will complete:
  1. A minimum of 120 semester hours of earned credit, including all of the General Education and Religious Education requirements.
  2. A minimum of 15 semester hours in residence at BYU–Hawaii.
  3. The completion of a minimum of 27.0 credit hours in an academic area of primary emphasis.
  4. The completion of at least 15.0 credit hours in a secondary discipline that supports the primary discipline.
  5. If using the 2017 GE program, the primary and secondary emphases can count as separate breadth areas, but they cannot replace the need for two additional curricular programs in addition to what is in the IDS major. Three of the emphases and/or minors must be in different breadth areas
  6. A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.
  7. No more than 6.0 semester hours of "D" credits within the major. No "D" credits are allowed in the area of primary emphasis.
  8. A minimum of 24 upper-division credit hours, excluding GE. (300 or 400-level classes)
  9. The completion of a "capstone experience," typically during the student's final semester.

Capstone Experience

The capstone experience is taken for credit typically during the student's final semester such as an independent study course (390R), internship (399R), or as student research (496R) depending on its nature. The capstone experience must meet the following criteria:
  1. It must be clearly relevant to the proposed curriculum and it must integrate the area of primary academic emphasis and the supporting area(s).
  2. It must approximate the academic rigor of a senior-level capstone course.
  3. It must be approved in advance by the department chair of the area of primary focus, and the report/results evaluated by that chair.  Copy of the report to go to the Dean over the primary discipline.
  4. It must receive all necessary approvals before it is undertaken. No capstone experience will be approved "after the fact".
  5. It must be fully described in a written proposal.  The description should include the details of what will be done, how the experience will be evaluated including who will evaluate the experience (department chair and site supervisor where appropriate).


Approval Process

  1. Download forms here.
  2. Meet with your Faculty Advisor to select appropriate courses and plan the capstone experience.
  3. Meet with the academic advisor from your area of primary emphasis to create your M.A.P. and finalize your application.
  4. Submit your completed proposal and all required attachments to the Dean over the primary discipline for final approval. (Note: The final approval may take as long as one month.  Submit your proposal early.)

General Education Options 

Students pursuing the IDS major who opt for the 2017 General Education program will need two minors or certificates (short programs) in addition to their primary and secondary emphases.  Of those four areas of emphasis (primary, secondary, SP1, SP2) three of them need to be in different breadth areas.  The primary and secondary emphases can count as separate breadth areas, but they cannot replace the need for two additional curricular programs in addition to what is in the IDS major.

Financial Assistance

Interdisciplinary Studies is a recognized major, but does not belong to one particular department.  Students who excel academically are encouraged to apply to the department of their primary emphasis for scholarship assistance. Please contact your primary emphasis department to learn more about their award process and applicable deadlines.
Students who graduate with an Interdisciplinary Studies major attend the graduation banquet of the department that signs their proposal.