Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies
Arts and Sciences
Time to Completion
Evening Courses Offered
Distance Learning Courses Offered
Weekend Courses Offered
Contact InformationDepartment Website
102 McMicken Hall
PO Box 210037
What Is Interdisciplinary ?
Interdisciplinary studies is a unique degree program that offers students in UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) the opportunity to design their own programs of study in order to meet personal or career goals that cannot be achieved through established B.S. or B.A. degrees. It is an opportunity to examine the complex, interconnected world we live in by exploring relationships among established fields of study.
Students can be successful in interdisciplinary studies if they are highly motivated, goal-oriented and enjoy working independently. Interdisciplinary studies students appreciate the challenge of making connections across disciplines and seek opportunities that take them outside of the traditional boundaries. These students are not seeking an ?easy out,? nor are they attempting to corral disparate course work into a generalized degree. Rather, they have the organizational skills and vision to translate a career or personal goal into a solid academic plan.
Liberal arts majors with strong interdisciplinary training are prepared to undertake a wide variety of leadership positions that stress teamwork and visionary thinking. Each individualized degree plan endeavors to enhance career potential within the identified major.
The bachelor of interdisciplinary studies (B.I.S.) is a special degree program that enables students, working with two advisers of their choice, to design a curriculum structured around a coherent theme. This self-designed ?major? is outlined in an original narrative, accompanied by a course list and submitted to a college committee. The committee will expect B.I.S. students to complete college and general education requirements as well as the individualized curriculum outlined in the proposal.
The B.I.S. may not be appropriate for all students. Students who have already compiled more than two years of credit or who are not able to articulate their educational theme will generally find it difficult to construct a program that will meet with approval. Degree proposals are to be prospective, and former credits that were taken for other purposes might not be appropriate to the student’s new educational theme. The B.I.S. also may not prepare students adequately for some graduate and professional schools. Students may wish to check with graduate admissions offices regarding undergraduate degree requirements. In general, students are urged to pursue a traditional B.A. or B.S. degree program, all of which incorporate some multi-disciplinary study.
However, for those with unique educational goals that can only be met through specialized interdisciplinary program design, the B.I.S. offers an exciting alternative degree option. Who can submit a B.I.S. proposal? B.I.S. students must be matriculated in the UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. Preference is given to students who have completed course work sufficient to become familiar with the college’s programs and faculty. Such students are in a better position to design a customized curriculum, working with faculty who know and support their educational goals.
Minor DetailsMinors are not available in interdisciplinary studies.
This curriculum information is intended as a general information guide for students considering enrollment in this major. These online tools are designed to assist you, but are not a substitute for planning with an academic or faculty advisor.
If you are currently enrolled at UC, you can audit your degree online. If you are considering transferring to this major from another school use the course applicability system (CAS) to see how credits you have earned will apply to this major at UC. For course descriptions by college, click here.
Students interested in the B.I.S. program are encouraged to meet with college personnel to learn more about options and possible program directions (see below). Once the student has determined a theme of study, she/he will select advisors to oversee the proposal. Two advisors chosen by the student will assist in the development of the B.I.S. proposal and endorse it in writing. One of these advisers must be a member of the faculty of A&S; the second may be another faculty member, a practitioner in the field of study or someone outside the university who has expertise in the area of interest. Once the proposal is approved, students will consult with their designated advisors as they work toward completion of their program.
a) At least one-third of all credits earned (60 cr. hrs.) from UC as well as from other institutions accepted in transfer must be at the junior and senior level. Generally speaking, community college credits are defined as freshman and sophomore level courses.
b) Two-thirds of all credits earned (120 cr. hrs.) must be in the liberal arts; that is, either offered by the College of Arts and Sciences or accepted as liberal arts courses in transfer, as opposed to professional or technical courses.
c) No more than sixty credits (60 cr. hrs.) may be from a single department or discipline.
d) The student’s proposal must include at least sixty-three (63) credits taken after approval of the proposal. In practice, more than that may be required, as earlier credits may not contribute significantly to the theme of the proposal.
e) The same 180 minimum credit-hour total and 2.0 GPA required for the B.A. and B.S. apply to the B.I.S.
Special OpportunitiesStudents in McMicken College of Arts and Sciences enjoy many benefits afforded through study at a research-intensive institution ranked among the nation's top 25 public research universities. UC's urban, Tri-state location offers exciting opportunities for global education, research and service learning, while its student-centered focus includes an 11:1 faculty-student ratio, a nationally recognized Center for Exploratory Studies and a highly successful First Year Experience program that teaches critical skills for first-year students and provides connections with important campus resources.
The interdisciplinary studies (individualized) option provides a special opportunity for qualified, highly motivated students to design and complete a major that complements their unique interests and strengths while drawing upon the wide-ranging expertise of a notable liberal arts faculty. This program is especially attractive to students whose goals and visions extend beyond traditional academic boundaries and disciplines. The cross-disciplinary nature of interdisciplinary studies helps enable students to learn how to integrate a variety of perspectives and methodologies. By connecting skills and knowledge from multiple sources, students will be better prepared to face real-world situations in their communities, their workplaces and their homes.
Admission criteria for this program vary based on the relative strength of test scores, class rank and GPA. Please see the Freshman Class Profile for this major in the Quick Facts sidebar on this page for the range of academic credentials typically accepted into this program. Test scores in the lower range may be acceptable with higher class rank and/or GPA. Freshmen applying to this program should also have completed the following state of Ohio articulation requirements with no more than two units missing:
- English (4 units)*
- College-preparatory mathematics (3 units)*
- Science (2 units)
- Social science (2 units)
- Foreign language (2 units)*
- Additional college-prep subjects (3 units)
*A&S does not allow units missing from these areas.
Program Specific Admission
After meeting with college personnel, students will begin the process of drafting their proposal. The B.I.S. proposal consists of three parts:
1) A narrative is a statement of purpose, articulating the rationale for this customized interdisciplinary program. The narrative spells out what the student wants to accomplish in terms of skills, knowledge, acquisition or background for certain kinds of work after graduation. The narrative includes an explanation of why the student cannot accomplish her/his academic goals within a traditional major. The proposal, as described in the narrative, should be capable of being summarized in a phrase, such as ?Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations,? ?Foreign Broadcast Journalism,? or ?Understanding Urban Marketing Factors? (all titles of actual proposals). The narrative should not exceed three typed, double-spaced pages.
2) The list of proposed courses serves as the curriculum for the program of study. It is a list of the courses within the university that the student plans to take until graduation. It must meet the distributive criteria noted above. It is understood that some courses currently offered might not be available in the future and that new courses will be developed. Changes to the program are always acceptable if they are in the spirit of the proposal and endorsed by the student’s advisers. Note: When assembling a list of proposed courses, students must include a three-credit capstone course (15 INTR 505) to be completed in their senior year. Methodology and internship courses are also advised.
3) Letters of support from two advisers must be included in the proposal packet. These letters should confirm the advisers’ approval of the curriculum and structure of the proposal as well as their willingness to meet with and advise the student as necessary until the program of study is completed.
Students interested in learning more about the individualized B.I.S. should contact Dean Billie Burton, French West, 2nd Floor (513 556-5860).
Applicants to A&S whose most recent enrollment was not in any of the UC colleges must apply to the Office of Admissions. Applicants in this category must submit transcripts for all secondary school and college-level work. A cumulative GPA of 2.0 for all college-level work is required for admission consideration. Admission to A&S is generally available for any off-campus applicants who have received the associate degree from an accredited college or university and whose cumulative GPA is 2.0 or higher.
Although midyear off-campus transfer students are not able to participate in priority registration in the quarter prior to their enrollment, they are included in the summer registration period prior to their fall quarter enrollment.
Changing Major Requirements
Applicants to A&S whose most recent enrollment was as a degree student in one of UC’s other colleges can apply directly to the A&S college office. Admission to A&S is generally available for any on-campus students who have:
- at least a 2.0 GPA in all college-level courses (both at UC and at other institutions),
- successfully completed two quarters of English Composition or its equivalent, and
- gained credit for a college-level mathematics course.
A&S students must meet the college residency requirement of 45.0 hours which begins immediately upon matriculation in the college and consists of courses taught within McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.
To graduate from McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, students must:
- Earn at least 180 credits. This can include transfer credit, AP credit and free electives, but does not include preparatory coursework. Students who have met all other degree requirements must continue earning credit until the total number of their earned hours comes to at least 180.
- Attain a 2.0 grade point average for all courses taken at the University of Cincinnati.
- Be in good academic standing, that is, not on either academic probation or disciplinary probation or suspension.
- Complete the residency requirement by earning at least 45 credits after matriculating into the college. These minimum 45 credits must be taught within A&S, and also must be completed after gaining admission to the college.
- Complete all of the requirements of at least one major (individually designed for the B.I.S. degree).
- Complete the College Core Requirements.
- Submit an application for graduation to the registrar's office by their posted deadline.
UC operates on a quarter system, with 10-week grading periods beginning in late September, early January, late March and mid-June. While midyear admission is possible, the fall is generally the best time to enter the college, since many course sequences begin in that quarter. Applicants to McMicken College of Arts and Sciences who are enrolled or who were previously enrolled as degree students in A&S or in other UC colleges should apply for admission directly to A&S (in French West, 2nd Floor). All other applicants who wish to earn an undergraduate degree from A&S should apply through the Office of Admissions (3rd Floor, University Pavilion).
Students should complete their B.I.S. proposal prior to the start of their senior year. Sophomore-level applicants are encouraged.