Program Overview

What is Interdisciplinary Studies?

The phrase “Interdisciplinary arts” refers to the type of education typical in American colleges and universities, which focuses on ensuring students develop a breadth of understanding in Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and the Arts. Interdisciplinary Studies encourages students to generate interdisciplinary comprehension, framing, and problem-solving. Interdisciplinary Studies offers three degree programs.

1. The Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies: STEM-H

2. The Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies: Professional Studies

3. The Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies: Arts and Humanities

When was Interdisciplinary Studies established?

In the early 1980s, what was then called West Chester State College offered Interdisciplinary Studies as an Associate of Arts degree. By 1986, Interdisciplinary Studies transitioned to a full Bachelor’s degree. The Professional track was first offered in 2002.

How many students are presently enrolled in the program?  

Interdisciplinary Studies is one of the largest degree programs at WCU with approximately 450 students in the three tracks.

How would you briefly describe the Interdisciplinary Studies degree?

 Interdisciplinary Studies is a flexible, interdisciplinary degree program that allows students to create an individualized program of study tailored to the unique interests and needs of the student.

What can a student do after earning a Interdisciplinary Studies degree?

Students who earn a Interdisciplinary Studies degree have a surprising number of options available after graduation. Many go to graduate school or to post-baccalaureate certificate programs in a field of their choice. Others go on to entry level positions in business, social services, healthcare, and industry, often in an area associated with their academic minors or with their internship if they participated in one. Many discover that their skills, knowledge and experiences open doors in occupations they never considered. An increasing number of employers are less concerned about the title of a degree, and more concerned about the qualities a prospective employee brings in and the value that prospective employee can add to their company.

Searching for the right vocation or the “perfect job” can be challenging. The Twardowski Career Development Center provides a variety of services for students engaged in the search for a career path.

Where is the program office located?

 

The Interdisciplinary Studies office is located in Room 222 in the Lawrence Center. We share space with Exploratory Studies. Students need to schedule appointments to meet with a Interdisciplinary Studies advisor. Dr. Ann Lieberman Colgan or Prof. Bruce Norris  

Students

Who should consider entering the Interdisciplinary Studies major?

IDS is a great fit for these students: 

  • Students who are looking for a major, but cannot find a “good match,”
  • Students who think “outside the box,”
  • Students who want to stay at WCU but major in a discipline not offered, such as Advertising,Real Estate, Animal Science,
  • Students who are more interested in what is IN the major (and the skill set they can develop and hone while pursuing their curriculum), not what the major is called,
  • Students with high number of credits earned who are not enrolled in a major, and
  • Students who are presently enrolled in a major but will not be able to (or choose not to) complete the requirements for that degree.

What are the qualifications for entry into Interdisciplinary Studies?

Any student may apply to Interdisciplinary Studies. Current WCU students should meet with a Interdisciplinary Studies advisor to review their goals and interests and to understand their path to degree.

New first-year and transfer students may request to major in Interdisciplinary Studies on their applications. Once accepted to WCU, new students should also meet with a IDS advisor.

Please note that students on Academic Probation may be accepted into IDS but must commit to raising their GPAs immediately.

How do students find out who their assigned minor advisor is?

 The student may check with the minor department office. The minor advisor may also be identified on the myWCU portal, on the student’s home page. If no minor advisor is assigned, the chairperson of the minor department functions as the student’s minor advisor.

How should students select a minor?

 What would you like to learn more about? What is interesting or seems useful for your future plans? What discipline have you already earned a lot of credits in? If you are uncertain how to proceed, meet with a Interdisciplinary Studies academic advisor to discuss your options. Remember, all IDS tracks require at least one minor, but you can certainly enroll in more than one as part of your concentration. Students should research the minors available and of interest, using the Undergraduate Catalog, the prospective minor department office, and that department’s web page.

Why should I meet with my academic advisor?

While the flexibility and individualized nature of Interdisciplinary Studies is appealing, it also creates the need for great care in planning and executing the student’s academic plan. By meeting on a regular basis with your academic advisor, you reduce the likelihood that mistakes will occur.

Students work with their advisors to create an academic plan for completing all the requirements for graduation. Your academic advisor is a good sounding board for any issues you might run into.

Importantly, students must meet with an academic advisor at least one time each semester in order to have the Advisor Hold lifted. Students may only enroll in courses at the appointed time IF they have already met with their advisor.

Academic advisors are also interested in helping the student clarify their short-term and long-term goals. The selection of minors and of elective courses may depend to some degree on those goals.

Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to know what the requirements are for earning their degree, and to then complete them. The academic advisor is an excellent resource to use to ensure that the student is on the correct path.

When should I meet with my academic advisor?

Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor whenever they feel a need to do so.

Students are required to meet with their academic advisor at least once each semester to review their progress toward degree completion, discuss course selection for upcoming semesters, and address other important issues. At that meeting, advisors will remove the Advising Hold, which will permit scheduling at the assigned date and time.

It is very important for students to meet with their academic advisor(s) before it is time to schedule for the next semester. 

How should students prepare for an academic advising session?

 Prior to the appointment, students should review materials received in previous sessions. Be aware of outstanding requirements, and if possible, identify possible course selection options for the upcoming semester. Consulting with minor advisor/s prior to meeting with your IDS advisor is also wise.

In addition, students should prepare a list of questions they have. Students should bring their IDS folder with them to each advising meeting.

What is the Degree Progress report and how does it impact me as a IDS major?

 The Degree Progress Report (DPR) is generated by the Registrar’s Office and accessed through the myWCU portal. It is designed to provide students with a snapshot of where they are in terms of completing degree requirements. The DPR includes the general education requirement, major requirements, total adjusted credit count and cumulative grade point.

Communications

How do I schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor?

Use our scheduling links to make advising appointments:

Dr. Ann Lieberman Colgan, Director and Faculty Academic Advisor

Dr. Cristobal Cardemil-Krause, Faculty Academic Advisor

Students should NOT email us to schedule advising appointments.

If WCU is operating remotely, your advisor will send you a Zoom link on the morning of your meeting.

May I contact my advisor through email?

Sure, if you have basic question which you could not find the answer to after searching online, please email your adivsor: acolgan@wcupa.edu or bnorris@wcupa.edu.

Use your WCU email account if you currently have one.Complex questions requiring longer, in-depth answers should be saved for face-to face/ Zoom meetings or phone calls.

Required Courses

IDS 300 – Interdisciplinary Practice and Theory

Course Description: Think of an issue facing the world today. No matter which you select, it is likely to be a complex issue, which does not lend itself to simple solutions. Typically, such issues have broad implications requiring input and problem-solving from multiple disciplines. This course will introduce the concept of interdisciplinarity across the Interdisciplinary arts, requiring students to develop intellectual integrations of general education, minor, concentration, and elective courses in a unique process which examines the perspectives and insights of multiple disciplines. 

This course requirement is waived for students who transfer 75+ credits.

IDS 490 – Interdisciplinary Studies Capstone

Course Description: IDS 490, Senior Capstone, prepares students for professional and graduate opportunities through group and individual activities, readings, course discussions, and various written assignments. Students integrate the interdisciplinary skills and mindsets acquired while taking the courses used to fulfill the general education requirements, their minor and self-designed major courses, as well as other electives, and their applied life experiences. As a result, students come to an understanding of the professional and educational opportunities available to them related to their self-designed major well as areas outside those fields for which they might qualify.

As a capstone course, IDS 490 requires students to reflect on, and integrate, the goals of the Gen Ed program.

Internships

Are there internship opportunities?

Yes, IDS 450 is an elective internship course, so students can develop professional skills and earn credit towards graduation. Students are encouraged to participate in internship experiences. Students must speak with their advisor EARLY if they plan to obtain an internship since planning for this independent, experiential learning must take place in the semester PRIOR to the internship.

For further information, contact the IDS Director: acolgan@wcupa.edu

Graduation

When should I begin the graduation process?

Students should apply for graduation when approximately 30 credits remain untaken. Typically, this occurs when the student has earned 90 credits. At this point, students have ample time to identify any unmet requirements and take those final courses. Students should consult their academic advisor.

Graduation applications are submitted online, via myWCU and students receive an email confirmation of their application. The one-time fee is posted to the student’s account online. A Bursar hold will also be posted on the account, which may create scheduling problems if not remedied.

There are deadlines by which you must access the online graduation application. If a deadline is missed, students must apply in person at Registrar’s office, since the portal application is unavailable after the deadline. Specific deadline dates should be checked in the Graduation section of the Registrar’s website.

During this time, students must regularly contact (at least once a semester) their IDS and minor academic advisor/s. Work with advisors to identify and take any unmet requirements. The Graduation Analyst from the Registrar’s office also reviews general education and major courses. Students should contact the Graduation Analyst in the Registrar’s office or the major academic advisor with any questions.

What happens if I am not cleared to graduate when I had planned?

A notification is posted in the graduation notes section of your Degree Progress Report if you are missing any degree requirements. The missing requirements will be identified along with contact information to address the deficiencies. Students who receive this graduation note notification must act quickly to address the deficiency. All identified deficiencies must be rectified in order to earn your degree.

How are IDS students cleared for graduation?  

The final graduation clearance process is initiated by the Office of the Registrar. A list of all students who have filed their final application for graduation for the specific term is sent to the IDS Director. The Director reviews the record of each student on the list and indicates if the student has satisfied the degree requirements. Minor advisors must also certify satisfactory completion of minors. The completed clearances are then submitted electronically. Once the list is submitted, all graduation notes will be added to the student’s DPR. Finally, the graduation analyst in the Office of the Registrar verifies the student completed the general education requirements.

A “NO” from any one for these offices will prevent the student from graduating

For Commencement, IDS students celebrate as part of University College

Interdisciplinary Studies is part of University College, and the Dean, Dr. Tabetha Adkins confers degrees to IDS graduates.

When am I officially a graduate of West Chester University?

 

Final and formal awarding of your bachelor’s degree typically occurs 3-4 weeks after your final semester, assuming you have met all graduation requirements and outstanding obligations. December graduates should remember the university is closed for approximately one week for winter break, so that delays the process somewhat. You can monitor the Degree Progress Report on your myWCU. Your status will be updated there. Once your degree is awarded, you can order official transcripts to be used for employment seeking and graduate school applications.

When will I receive my diploma?

 

Once you receive final clearance for graduation, your degree is officially awarded. Your academic record reflects the awarded status of your degree, along with the academic minor/s. Your diploma is sent shortly after final clearance. Your diploma may take about six – eight weeks to arrive. Please contact the Graduation Analyst with questions.

Make sure your current mailing address is listed on MyWCU because this is where WCU sends your diploma. If this information is not up-to-date, contact the Registrar’s Office.

Where can I find general information about graduation?

The Office of the Registrar's Graduation and Commencement website contains the information regarding graduation in general and about the ceremonies for the current semester. The Quad, WCU's student newspaper, also presents information in a timely manner.

 
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