silhouettes of different graduate disciplines    IIP

Individual Interdisciplinary Program (IIP) PhD:

Montana State’s Individual Interdisciplinary graduate program 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 the advanced degree but don’t have an immediate path forward in an existing doctoral program. Students who pursue this degree are highly motivated and enjoy addressing challenges that are problem-oriented, rather than discipline or technique-oriented.



For inquiries contact:

Dr. Craig Ogilvie

[email protected]



Program Details:

The Individual Interdisciplinary Program (IIP) doctoral degree is an option which prepares students to address challenges that are problem-oriented and provide opportunities for students with interests spanning multiple fields of study. The success of the IIP program relies heavily upon familiarity with MSU degree programs and faculty, the students' initiative and self-discipline and the commitment of the student’s doctoral committee.

The IIP is not intended to be an online degree or be a replacement program for those who can receive the doctoral degree in well-established program. Rather, students who are interested will have a research idea in mind and will flush the idea with MSU faculty who would eventually want to serve as their committee members and chair. See below in Application Requirements to learn more on writing your application proposal.

All basic policy, rules and requirements pertaining to any Doctor of Philosophy degrees at MSU apply to the IIP.

For specific program information, please refer to the IIP Handbook

Is this the path for you?

- Do you have a project or research focus that does not fit into traditional academic disciplines?

- Does MSU have the faculty and experts that will be able to support you on your project? 

- Are you ready to address big challenges that cross over into multiple and diverse disciplines?

More questions?  Submit an inquiry and REVIEW: Frequently Asked Questions 

Application Requirements:

Prior to applying, all applicant must prepare a full proposal. If you are considering the IIP, please take time to review this entire document on this webpage: Directions to Developing a Proposal. This proposal is your entire application, including your reference letters from your committee; uploaded into your application as your Statement of Purpose. Therefore, before applying you will need to secure agreement from three (3) MSU faculty members from at least two (2) departments that they agree to serve on your graduate committee if you are admitted to the program. One of these faculty members will need to  serve as your committee chair. These three committee members will also act as your reference letter writers, with these letters included as part of your proposal.Once your application is received by the Graduate School, it will be reviewed by the Graduate School Dean which may take 4 to 6 weeks. You may apply any time, for any term. 

If you are not currently an MSU student

As the IIP that requires identifying and working closely with faculty advisors within the various disciplines, it is suggested that any applicant interested in the IIP who is not an MSU student consider applying and attending MSU as a non-degree seeking graduate student.  This will allow you to become more familiar with the faculty within the departments and develop the necessary proposal.

See Applying as a non-degree  

See Gaining residency

See Transferring credits


Fund your Education

The Graduate School at Montana State is dedicated to helping students secure funding during their time at MSU. Some resources the certificate program and Graduate School offer include:

Within the Individual Interdisciplinary program, many graduate research assistantships are available. Some of the GRA research sources include state, farm commodity groups and federal grants.