Nov 29, 2022  
2022-2023 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2028 
2022-2023 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2028

Interdisciplinary Studies (BS)

Affiliation: Interdisciplinary Studies

Truman’s Interdisciplinary Studies major encourages students to intentionally choose courses from different departments to create a major program that is much more than the sum of its parts. Integration is key to this experience: IDS students are constantly making connections between their courses and learning how valuable it can be to consider an issue from two or more perspectives. Recent IDS majors have included Child Studies, Asian Studies, and Neuroscience, among many others.

Program Objectives:

All degree programs in interdisciplinary studies share the following objectives: 

Knowledge – Students who successfully complete an IDSM degree:

  1. Identify, explain, and apply advanced concepts, terminology, methodology, and subject matter, from multiple academic disciplines;
  2. Recognize and discuss the strengths and limitations of individual academic disciplines;
  3. Employ multiple perspectives, experiences, and approaches to deepen one’s understanding of different academic disciples.

Skills – Students who successfully complete an IDSM degree:

  1. Write, speak, analyze and compute, as expected of all Truman students;
  2. Integrate knowledge from multiple disciplines to understand complex issues thereby demonstrating versatility of thought.

Attitudes – Students who successfully complete an IDSM degree:

  1. Defend interdisciplinary thinking applied to a specific problem or issue;
  2. Present the interconnectedness of academic disciplines;
  3. Advocate the value of a liberal arts and sciences education;
  4. Prepare for and embrace lifelong learning.


All Interdisciplinary Studies majors will develop their skills as speakers and as writers while earning this degree. This development starts in IDSM 175 Intro to Interdisciplinary Studies, where students write to understand various disciplines and work on multiple drafts of their major proposals. Writing skills are reinforced throughout students’ individually designed curricula. Strong competence in writing is shown in IDSM 475 Interdisciplinary Studies Capstone, where students conduct guided research on a topic related to their interdisciplinary concentration, culminating in a final research paper. The IDS major emphasizes speaking in classroom discussions and formal presentations. In their first year in the program, students present their major plans to an audience of their classmates, mentors, and faculty; as seniors they present their capstone projects to an even wider audience at the Student Research Conference.


Truman’s Interdisciplinary Studies program is intended for students with strong academic records, high motivation, a clear sense of direction, and the desire to design a challenging academic program. Accordingly, students who wish to pursue this degree must apply for full acceptance into the program.

The Interdisciplinary Oversight Committee and the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies have established these guidelines for successful applicants to the program:

  1. Students should declare the Interdisciplinary Studies major to signal their interest in applying for full acceptance into this program.
  2. Students should then enroll in  IDSM 175 - Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies  as soon as possible. (This course - one of two courses required for the major - will help students put together their major applications, as this is an assignment in the course).
  3. The application itself requires students to submit two short essays - one describing their chosen interdisciplinary field and another identifying academic and professional goals - as well as two faculty evaluations and the proposed curriculum.
  4. This curriculum must be interdisciplinary - it must “integrate or synthesize content, perspectives, discourse, or methodologies from a number of disciplines.” This curriculum must be intentional, i.e. designed to include a series of significant educational experiences. Finally this curriculum must be commensurate with the size and rigor of other Truman major curricula. (See major requirements below.)
  5. The Interdisciplinary Studies Oversight Committee reviews all applications for IDS majors. Since this committee includes representatives from all five schools, they know the campus well and routinely make invaluable suggestions.
  6. Students must complete at least 45 undergraduate credits after their program of study is approved.


Dialogues Requirements: 42-61 Credits

Missouri Statute (1-4 credits)

Bachelor of Science Requirement: 6-12 Credits

Courses from the areas of sciences, mathematics, statistics, computer science, social science, and logic



No grade of “D” is accepted toward the Interdisciplinary Studies major.

Electives to Total: 120 Credits