silhouettes of different graduate disciplines    IIP

Individual Interdisciplinary Program (IIP) PhD:

Montana State’s Individual Interdisciplinary Program (IIP) Ph.D. offers students the unique opportunity to incorporate multiple disciplines into their area of research and study. The program, which leads to a doctorate in philosophy, is designed to serve students who wish to pursue an advanced degree but whose research interests are broader than a single discipline. Students who pursue this degree are highly motivated and enjoy addressing challenges that are problem-oriented, rather than discipline or technique-oriented. The IIP PhD allows students to work with faculty on a research project tailored to their unique academic, creative, and professional needs. 

Is this the right degree option?  

  • Do you have a project or research focus that does not fit into traditional academic disciplines?  
  • Does MSU have the faculty and experts that can support you on your project?   
  • Are you ready to address big challenges that cross over into multiple and diverse disciplines?  

If the answer was yes to any of these questions, then please complete this inquiry form to chat about all the options and ideas for interested students with our staff. This is the best step to begin the path forward as a prospective student into the IIP program.   

Program Details   

Student success in the IIP Program depends on understanding MSU degree options and developing relationships with faculty. This success is driven by students with self-initiative, a focused goal/research project in mind, and the ability to actively participate in one's educational process.   

The IIP is not intended to be an online degree or a replacement for those who can receive a doctoral degree in well-established programs. Rather, students who are interested in the IIP will already have a research idea in mind and work with MSU faculty who can give guidance in preparing a draft research proposal and would eventually serve on their graduate committee.   

Application Requirements

As part of the application process, students must first prepare a draft research proposal and secondly identify faculty willing to serve on their graduate committee.  

All applicants must prepare a draft research proposal. This is then uploaded as the student’s statement of purpose within the application portal. All prospective students who are considering the IIP, please take time to review this entire document on this webpage: Directions to Developing a Proposal.  

Students will need to secure an agreement from three (3) MSU faculty members from at least two (2) departments to serve on their graduate committee. One of these faculty members will need to serve as the committee chair. These three committee members will also write the reference letters mentioned above.  

Once a student’sapplication is submitted, it will be reviewed by the Graduate School Dean which may take 4-6 weeks. This program has rolling admission, and applications are considered for the following term after they are submitted.   


If you are not currently an MSU student

Since the IIP PhD requires a strong relationship with MSU faculty, students not currently enrolled at MSU may consider applying as a non-degree graduate student. This allows interested students the opportunity to enroll in courses of interest at MSU, build relationships with faculty in departments that align with their research goals, and begin developing their research proposal draft.   

See Applying as a non-degree  

See Gaining residency

See Transferring credits

See Funding & Fellowship Opportunities 

Past Dissertation Titles

Exploring Extrusion Technology in Developing Value-Added Products from Montana Lentils 

Building an Inclusive Land Management and Conservation Decision-Making System with Local Stakeholders of Ulaan Taiga Special Protected Area in Mongolia 

Toward a Learning Orientation: The Impact of Design Thinking Pedagogy on Creative Identity Formation in the First-Year Experience 

An Exploration of Whole-Genome Comparative Genomic Strategies for Polyploid Crop Genomes 

Diverse Approaches in Agriculture and Education Enhance Problem-Solving Capacity 

Diet-Induced Alterations to Postprandial Metabolism and the Gut Microbiota