The Directed Interdisciplinary Studies Degree (DIS) 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 DIS 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 Honors College Academic Advisor 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 DIS degree curriculum, therefore, has the potential to be uniquely suited to each individual student. The DIS 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.  

The DIS degree is open to all students at Montana State University. To apply for admission to the DIS degree, students must submit an academic transcript with grades earned (3.5 minimum GPA) and two letters of reference attesting to the motivation of the applicant and their ability to work independently. Successful applicants will be granted admission to the Honors College at Montana State University and must remain in good academic standing in that College, by maintaining a cumulative GPA above 3.0.

A key component of the DIS degree is close faculty supervision by the Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC), who along with the Honors Academic Advisor, will prepare a semester report on the student’s progress toward degree each term for review by the DIS Oversight Board. This degree will advance and further institutionalize our university’s commitment to interdisciplinary studies, through an academic path which is attractive to a significant number of high achieving students.


Students may formally apply for admission to the DIS program no earlier than the second semester of their freshman year through the first semester of their junior year, and will be admitted on the strength of their written application, academic record, letters of recommendation and personal interview. Applications will be reviewed by the DIS Oversight Board, which will be comprised of representatives of all the academic colleges at Montana State University.

Applicants for admission to the DIS degree options must provide appropriately detailed answers to the questions listed below. Particular attention should be given to Question #3: Statement of Senior Year Research/Creative Project, and Question #4: DIS Course Plan. If necessary, applicants may attach additional documentation, which might be useful to the DIS Oversight Board’s deliberations.  

Applicants must also include an academic transcript with grades earned (3.5 minimum GPA) and two letters of reference attesting to the motivation of the applicant and their ability to work independently. Applicants must have gained admission to the Honors College at Montana State University, and be in good academic standing in that College.

All applicants will be invited to discuss their proposals with representatives of the DIS Oversight Board during a formal interview, and applicants may resubmit amended proposals if they wish.

  1. What are your reasons for wishing to undertake the Directed Interdisciplinary Studies Degree program? Comment briefly on your undergraduate education thus far, and give a brief account of why an interdisciplinary program is particularly appropriate to your intellectual/academic goals.

  2. Describe your anticipated and/or career goals after graduation from Montana State University.

  3. Describe your anticipated Senior Year Research/Creative Project. It is understood that in consultation with your Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC), you may amend this initial proposal prior to the beginning of your final year of study as a DIS major.

  4. Provide details of your anticipated DIS Course Plan. (See Proposed DIS Course Plan Worksheet) 

A minimum of 120 semester credit hours will be required for graduation. No B.A. or B.S. DIS Degree will be awarded with fewer than 92 semester credit hours of DIS course work (30 per academic discipline), nor fewer than 62 semester credit hours of DIS course work at the Upper Division level. At least 15 credits must be at the 400 level. Students must complete 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). Of particular use to the students in this curriculum will be existing Honors contracts including HONR 292 or HONR 492 Independent Study; HONR 450 Honors Tutorial; HONR 490R Honors Thesis; and HONR 494 Honors Seminars.

The Senior Year Research/Creative Project must represent no fewer than 8 semester credit hours. Upon successful completion of their thesis defense, students will be required to present their Senior Year Research/Creative Project in a public forum.

Students will not be eligible for the award of a DIS Degree unless they have also satisfied the Montana State University Core Curriculum requirements.


Students interested in pursuing a DIS degree are encouraged to schedule a brief meeting with Dean Lee to discuss the process.

Application materials (application, letters of recommendation, DIS Course Plan Worksheet and transcript/s) are due February 28, 2017 and interviews will be held in mid-March. Applicants will be notified of their status by the end of March.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 994-4110 or e-mail


DIS Interactive Application form

DIS Course Plan Worksheet