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Tufts University

Interdisciplinary Studies Major: Application Process

When and Where to Apply

The completed Interdisciplinary Studies major proposal must be submitted during the spring semester of the sophomore year (see deadlines below). Direct the completed proposal to the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at: cis@tufts.edu

Remember that the application approval process requires some time, so you should plan accordingly. It would be best to submit the proposal early in your fourth semester.

Application Procedure

The application procedure will require you to create an advisory committee, develop a proposal for a major, and obtain approval for this proposal.

  1. Advisory Committee. You are responsible for selecting a principal advisor and two other advisors who will support your proposal. At least two of these advisors must be full-time members of the Arts and Sciences faculty with the rank of lecturer or above, at least one of them a tenure stream member of the A&S Faculty, and they must represent at least three departments in two of the previously listed five areas. Should one of your advisors be from outside the Tufts community, a brief indication of his or her professional affiliation should be included. It is important to choose advisors who will not be leaving Tufts while your Interdisciplinary Studies major is in progress. We suggest that you make sure that each of your advisors is familiar with the information presented in this guide.
  2. Proposal. This site includes forms for your program proposal. The proposal should include the following sections:

    1. An overall description of your Interdisciplinary Studies Major. This should include a preliminary title for your major, a rationale for why it is an inherently interdisciplinary course of study, a description of the main problem or problems that you propose to address through your course of study and why they are significant problems to address. (Remember that "problem" doesn’t necessarily mean a social problem, and that "significance" may be defined in many ways, including but not limited to: theoretical or methodological significance, topicality, or social, political, cultural, economic ramifications and so forth). Sample application >
    2. The proposed methodology you will use to address this issue.
    3. A preliminary bibliography of some of the core literature you would be reading.
    4. A list of the courses you have taken, are taking, or plan to take as part of this major.
    5. A copy of your most recent transcript.
    You will find it useful to consult your advisory committee members several times while drawing up your proposal. Writing professionals at the Academic Resource Center and the Chair of the Committee on Curricula can also help you refine, clarify, and polish your proposal. Note that the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Application Form requires a substantive statement of support for your proposed program from each of the three advisors. We suggest that you keep a copy of your proposal for your own records.
  3. CIS Faculty Committee. After your application has been completed, send it via email attachment in Microsoft Word to CIS at cis@tufts.edu. Faculty on this committee are responsible for reviewing your application, possibly suggesting changes, and ultimately approving or rejecting your proposal. The committee will contact you and arrange a time to meet with you to discuss your proposal. If changes are suggested, more than one such meeting may be required.

For Sophomores: Dates to Review

Fall Sophomore Year

Contact IS Major Committee Chair to set up an appointment to discuss your ideas.

IS Major Committee Chair 2016/17:
Julie Dobrow, Director for the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies
Email: julie.dobrow@tufts.edu
Phone: 617.627.4744

Reach out to potential faculty advisors who may serve on your advisory committee for your IS Major.

Spring Sophomore Year

By February 26th:
Send a brief email message to CIS at cis@tufts.edu to inform them of your intent to submit a proposal for the Interdisciplinary Studies Major.

By March 7th:
Deadline for your full proposal, including all letters of support and transcript.

Download the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Application Forms packet.

Send all materials to CIS by email to: cis@tufts.edu

Letters of support should be emailed by the faculty members directly to CIS: cis@tufts.edu

Late March:
Students will be notified if they have qualified for the second stage of the application process, and will be invited for a 20-minute interview with the IS Major Faculty Committee. This interview will include the student giving a 4 to 5 minute "elevator pitch," and explaining to the committee your intellectual goals and rationale for this Interdisciplinary Studies Major.

Early April:
The IS Major Faculty Committee decides which proposals that have qualified for an Interdisciplinary Studies Major. Students are notified via email.