INTRODUCTION

The Directed Interdisciplinary Studies Degree (D.I.S.) is for undergraduates interested in pursuing an area of scholarly/creative inquiry which falls outside the established departmental structure and existing degree programs at Montana State University. The D.I.S. degree will capture the integration of a minimum of three academic disciplines, as identified by the student and approved by the student’s Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC). The FAC members will represent three academic disciplines and will work collaboratively with the student and D.I.S. Director to design and approve both an array of appropriate coursework and an independent research project to address the intersection of the student’s interests. The student, with approval by the FAC, will determine whether the degree will be designated as a B.S. or a B.A., depending on the specific combination of academic disciplines for their degree.

This degree is designed to afford self‐motivated and independent learners the opportunity to design their own curricula under close faculty supervision and guidance. Each D.I.S. degree curriculum, therefore, has the potential to be uniquely suited to each individual student. The D.I.S. degree option is intended to provide highly motivated and high achieving students the opportunity to pursue diverse academic disciplines in a structured and timely manner.  

We expect students graduating with a D.I.S degree to have cultivated the following (outcomes of the D.I.S program):

  1. Three specific technical skills related to disciplines of focus
  2. Ability to use consilience to solve complex interdisciplinary problems
  3. Project Management Skills
  4. Communicate and collaborate across disparate communities
  5. Develop a professional network
  6. Produce a professional, scholarly product related to the D.I.S. project

APPLICATION PROCESS

The D.I.S. degree is open to all students at Montana State University. To apply for admission to the D.I.S. degree, students must submit an academic transcript with grades earned (3.5 minimum GPA) and two letters of recommendation attesting to the motivation of the applicant and their ability to work independently, along with the essay questions and Research/Project Proposal (all below). Successful applicants will be granted admission to the Honors College at Montana State University.

Students may formally apply for admission to the D.I.S. program no earlier than the second semester of their freshman year through the first semester of their junior year.

If you are entering a professional field, such as Art, Education, Engineering, or Nursing, you should consult your Faculty Advisor, or relevant Department Head about a double major with the D.I.S. degree and the corresponding major.

How to Design D.I.S. Curriculum:

A minimum of 120 semester credit hours will be required for graduation.

  • 30 credit hours per academic discipline are required for a total minimum of 92 semester credit hours of D.I.S. course work.
  • 62 credit hours of D.I.S. course work are required at the Upper Division level, with 15 credits hours required at the 400 level.
  • HONR 201 and HONR 202 (Texts and Critics: Knowledge and Imagination) or HONR 301 (Text and Critics for transfer students or students who enter the program late in their academic careers) are required courses in the D.I.S. curriculum.
  • 8 credit hours devoted to the D.I.S. Research/Creative Project are required. These credits can be taken from HONR 292 or HONR 492 Independent Study; HONR 490R Honors Thesis. At the discretion of the FAC, Independent Study or Thesis courses from other departments may count toward this requirement. Upon successful completion of their thesis defense, students will be required to present their D.I.S. Research/Creative Project in a public forum.
  • HONR 450 Honors Tutorial; HONR 494 Honors Seminars may also be included in the D.I.S. curriculum.

The Course Plan must be designed and approved by the FAC. Students will not be awarded a D.I.S. Degree unless they have also satisfied the Montana State University Core Curriculum requirements.

To Apply:

  • Complete all D.I.S. Application Forms
  • Meet with your FAC (all faculty advisors must be present)
    • Finalize Course Plan based on FAC advice
    • Adjust Project Proposal based on FAC recommendation
    • Obtain signatures
    • Submit current academic transcript
    • Obtain two letters of recommendation attesting to the motivation of the applicant and their ability to work independently. Letters should be sent directly by the recommenders to honors@montana.edu.
    • Submit all parts of the application to honors@montana.edu.

The Selection Process:

Students will be admitted based on the strength of their written application, academic record, letters of recommendation and personal interview. Applications will be reviewed by the D.I.S. Oversight Board. If students are not selected for the D.I.S. program, they may reapply at any time.

MORE INFORMATION

 

Students interested in pursuing a D.I.S. degree are encouraged to schedule a brief meeting with the D.I.S. Director Chris Organ. The D.I.S. Oversight Board Members are advocates for the program, so please reach out to them with questions you may have. The board currently consists of:

Dr. Chris Organ, D.I.S. Director (organ@montana.edu)
Dr. Ilse-Mari Lee, Honors College Dean (honors@montana.edu)
Dr. Ann Bertagnolli (abertagnolli@montana.edu)
Dr. Ben Leubner (leubnerb@gmail.com)
Dr. Logan Schultz (logan.schultz@montana.edu)

Please contact the Honors College for any assistance, such as scheduling a meeting with the FAC, questions, or advice.

INFORMATION FOR FACULTY

  • During the application process, D.I.S. advisors should help the student refine their project with milestones, assessments, and clear deliverables. The advisors should also help design a curriculum sufficient to complete the proposed project.
  • Each semester, the student is responsible for arranging a meeting with their entire FAC to discuss progress, setbacks, and any necessary amendments to the curriculum or Project.
  • The student’s last semester, they will present their Research Project. Faculty advisors are expected to attend.
  • The FAC will work to help the student succeed

Application materials are due October 22, 2018 and interviews will be held in mid-November. Applicants will be notified of their status by the end of November.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 994-4110 or e-mail honors@montana.edu

FORMS