With the exception of participating in the Global Studies program, the Department of Political Science does not proactively offer an interdisciplinary major (ID), and we generally discourage them UNLESS there is a compelling reason why a particular interdisciplinary major would actually create a positive and meaningful academic package not available through a traditional major, double major, or a major and a minor.
In order for the department to consider a request for an interdisciplinary major incorporating political science, a student needs to submit a written proposal outlining the courses he or she intends to take and explaining how this will lead to an integrated and cohesive academic outcome. The student needs to demonstrate that the proposed interdisciplinary major is superior to adding a political science minor to a major from another department. A major in one discipline is generally a superior academic experience and credential. If you are approved for an interdisciplinary major, the political science component of the major consists of 101, 102, and six relevant upper-level courses.
The reasons for seeking an ID major approval should be primarily academic in nature. In petitioning to create a new interdisciplinary major, students should focus on demonstrating that their proposed course of study is an integrated and cohesive whole. Proposals will be evaluated upon the following criteria:
- Does the proposal demonstrate how coursework in the two departments will complement each other as an integrated and cohesive whole? In other words, such proposals need to clarify the benefits of combining political science with another discipline, rather than simply stating that both fields are relevant to the student’s future plans.
- Does the proposal explain clearly why the interdisciplinary major would be a superior academic credential to a political science major or a major in another department with a minor in political science? Traditionally, students with broad or diverse interests complete a full major in one discipline and add a minor in a second discipline. How is the proposal academically superior?
- Is the proposal a thoughtful and prospective roadmap, rather than a retrospective attempt to cobble together a degree with courses already taken? A student should propose an interdisciplinary major with political science before embarking on a course of study, rather than expecting approval of courses already taken, e.g., in a final year of study. Ordinarily, the proposal should be submitted when majors are declared, by the end of the first semester in a student’s sophomore year (transfer students should declare by the end of the first semester of their junior year). The department will not approve an interdisciplinary major proposed simply because a student has failed to complete an existing major in a timely fashion. Similarly, Political Science will not approve interdisciplinary majors that appear to be due to student efforts simply to avoid required courses in another major or minor.