Interdisciplinary Studies Major

Individually Designed Thematic Option Major

The Individually Designed Thematic Option allows students to pursue a major or minor that is not available at Towson University but is offered at other colleges or universities. Because it is individually designed, this option places significant additional responsibility on the student.

  1. The student finds a model for the major or minor they wish to pursue in the catalog of another accredited college or university and determines whether TU offers the courses necessary to complete the major or minor. The Thematic Option Major IS NOT a 'design your own major' degree.
  2. The student meets with the director of Interdisciplinary Studies to ask for preliminary approval of the proposed major or minor.
  3. With the assistance of the director of Interdisciplinary Studies, the student identifies a professor with the necessary expertise who is willing to serve as their adviser.
  4. Under the guidance of the adviser, the student creates a plan of study that includes a title for the individually designed thematic option, a description of its goals, and a list of required and elective courses. The proposed plan of study can in no way resemble any major or program currently offered at TU.

After formal approval by the faculty adviser, the student and the director of Interdisciplinary Studies, the agreement will constitute the requirements of the student’s major or minor. Any changes to the plan of study must be approved by the director of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Students interested in the Individually Designed Thematic Option should declare their major or minor as soon as possible, ideally no later than the first term of the junior year. The Thematic Option major typically requires a minimum of two years of study once the plan of study is approved. No unapproved plan of study may be used for graduation. Students are responsible for keeping their plan of study updated and approved by the IDIS director.

The Interdisciplinary Studies Program provides students with the opportunity to pursue a course of study unavailable through any single discipline at Towson University. The Program consists of 45 units and offers students two alternatives: an Individually Designed Thematic Option or four formally designed major concentrations. 

Requirements for the Major:

  1. A plan of study consisting of a minimum of 45 units in the major approved by the director of Interdisciplinary Studies.
  2. At least 21 of these units must be taken after formal approval of the plan of study.
  3. The required 45 units must incorporate courses from at least three departments or programs.
  4. All course work must be upper-division (300-400) unless the faculty adviser and the director of Interdisciplinary Studies approve the inclusion of some particularly significant course work (no more than 9 units) at the lower-division level.
  5. Students must complete an Interdisciplinary Studies portfolio.
  6. Students must complete one of the following concentrations or an individually designed thematic option:
  • American Studies
  • Animal Behavior
  • Asian Studies
  • Latin American and Latino/a Studies
  1. Students possess the ability to integrate knowledge and modes of thinking across two or more disciplines.
  2. Students communicate effectively in the presentation of interdisciplinary materials through various modes of transmission.
  3. Students conduct, analyze and apply research from two or more disciplines or through interdisciplinary research.