Individualized Interdisciplinary Major

Paint being blended with a paintbrush.

Interdisciplinary programs combine two or more established academic disciplines to create a powerful learning experience and emphasize integrative learning, critical thinking, and creative problem solving.

This means that you may design your own, customized major to explore your varied—but related—interests. By drawing on the strengths of multiple academic departments, the individualized interdisciplinary major (IIM) can provide an education that gives you the best of many worlds.

IIM Examples

Here are some examples of recent IIM topics:

  • Art Theory and Criticism
  • Persuasion and Social Change
  • French Linguistics
  • Chinese Language and Linguistics
  • Movement Fundamentals

Official Guidelines

As a student at Luther, you may propose an individualized interdisciplinary major developed in close consultation with a faculty advisor. An IIM proposal should have sufficient coherence in the disciplines/departments involved to achieve a knowledge base and an understanding of the philosophy and methods comparable to those of a traditional major. The rationale should be a product of close collaboration between the student and the faculty advisor.

In addition, IIM proposals should meet the following criteria:

  1. GPA. Students should have a GPA of at least 3.00 at the time an IIM proposal is submitted. (A person with GPA lower than 3.00 may petition for an exception, providing a rationale for the request.)
  2. Credits. An IIM proposal is expected to have between 30 and 40 credit hours. At least 16 credits in the proposed IIM must be in courses numbered 300 and above. The major must also identify a suitable course to meet the general requirement in writing and specify a suitable senior project (1-4 cr) unless a senior project is completed in conjunction with another major.
  3. Approval. The proposal must be approved by a faculty advisor, in consultation with the heads of the departments from which the courses are drawn. In addition, it must be approved by the Registrar and the Course and Program Review Subcommittee (CPR) of the Academic Planning Committee (APC).
  4. Timing. The student must show when he/she anticipates enrolling in each course included in the major. Each proposed course must be signed by the relevant department head at the time of proposal.
  5. Submission. An IIM proposal, together with an unofficial transcript, should be submitted to the Registrar by December 1st of the student’s Junior year. Students may expect a committee response no later than March 1.
  6. Rationale. Every IIM proposal should be accompanied by a two-page typed rationale in which the student, in close consultation with the faculty advisor, describes how and why the IIM relates to the student’s educational goals, the purpose of these individual courses, the relationship that exists among the courses, and how they fit together to support the proposed major. Courses taken at other institutions that are unavailable at Luther may be included.