Interdisciplinary Studies (PhD)

Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies
Unit: Graduate School (GI)
Department/Program: Interdisciplinary Studies 
Academic Plan Code(s): IS_ _PHD
 

Program Information

The Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies provides a mechanism for accommodating the interests of students and faculty in areas in which the faculty expertise is not confined to a department or individual academic unit. It permits students to establish individualized programs and groups of faculty to establish interdisciplinary specializations.

Individually-Designed Programs of Study

An individual interested in exploring advanced studies in a field that transcends established academic/institutional boundaries may design a program of study in consultation with faculty and the Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies. A program for this degree must involve at least two academic departments/units and it must cross traditional disciplinary organizational structures and programmatic lines of study. An individual interested in this program will need to develop a general proposal that can be reviewed by faculty who, in turn, must agree that they will participate in the program if approved. Before agreeing to participate in the supervision of an interdisciplinary master's student, faculty must obtain the consent of their departmental chair or dean.

The specific curricular requirements of the program must be worked out with a supervisory committee consisting of a chair and at least two additional faculty members representing at least two different departments or programs. The Program of Study must justify the need for an interdisciplinary program and address the potential for career placement upon degree completion. The proposal must contain a curriculum plan and a description of the qualifying exam required to advance to candidacy. The student will be fully admitted to the Graduate School after the interdisciplinary program proposal is approved.

Interdisciplinary Study: Interdisciplinary PhD Specializations

Faculty may propose interdisciplinary programs of study that will form the basis for suitable areas of specialization to train students. The specialization must meet the criteria outlined above in terms of minimum credit hours and the distribution of coursework across disciplinary lines. Proposed areas of specialization will be subject to approval by the following academic bodies:

  1. Unit Curriculum and Budget Committees
  2. Graduate Council
  3. Faculty Senate
  4. Provost

The development of an interdisciplinary specialization is the responsibility of the faculty, but the Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies will provide assistance and guidance. Participating faculty must have the consent of their departmental chair or dean to participate in an Interdisciplinary specialization. Students must choose a primary mentor, but may have co-mentors.

Requests for further information or assistance should be addressed to:

Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies
Graduate School

Houchens Building, Suite 105
University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky 40292
Phone: (502) 852-6495
Email: graduate@louisville.edu

Admission Requirements 

Applicants for interdisciplinary doctoral programs must present complete admission credentials and have an approved program of study in order to be formally admitted by the Graduate School.

The required credentials are:

  1. A 3.25 grade point average.
  2. Scores at or above the 60th percentile on the Quantitative, Verbal, Critical Thinking and Analytical portions of the Graduate Record Exam.
  3. Proof of a Baccalaureate Degree and official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work.
  4. International students for whom English is not their primary language must show English language proficiency by one of the following:
    1. TOEFL examination score at or above 550 (paper based test and a 5.0 on the TWE test), 213 (computer based test),79 (internet based test)
    2. IELTS test score of 6.5 or higher
    3. Demonstration of a degree awarded by an acceptable English-language institution.
  5. Three letters of recommendation from individuals who are able to comment on the student’s academic abilities and potential for success in graduate studies.

Design of Interdisciplinary Degrees

In addition to established Graduate School policies and requirements, each Interdisciplinary PhD Program will be required to meet specific criteria as follows:

  1. The curriculum must include coursework representing each of the disciplinary areas in the interdisciplinary degree program. An overall minimum of 36 credit hours of graduate level coursework is required, but may be higher to reflect the standards for doctoral study in the disciplines represented in the interdisciplinary degree program.
  2. Each program must be designed so that it is not dominated by a single department's offerings. A minimum of six (6) credit hours of 600-level course work must be taken in each of at least two different departments or programs offering graduate degrees.
  3. The curriculum plan must include coursework that provides training in research methodology deemed suitable to the interdisciplinary nature of the program.
  4. A dissertation involving original research that crosses established disciplinary lines is required.
  5. Faculty serving on committees and as mentors in the Interdisciplinary Studies PhD Program must have a doctorate degree or substantial evidence of relevant experience and must hold membership in the Graduate Faculty of a unit.
  6. A student’s primary mentor must meet their unit’s minimum guidelines for directing doctoral dissertations. If a student’s mentor has not directed a dissertation in the past, the student must also have a co-mentor who has previous experience directing dissertations.

Program Requirements

Curriculum will be determined by a student’s steering committee during the development of each individual’s program proposal. For an Interdisciplinary specialization, a core of faculty may propose a curriculum that will form the basis for an area of focus.

In addition to established Graduate School policies and requirements, each Interdisciplinary PhD Program will be required to meet specific criteria as follows:

  1. The curriculum must include coursework representing each of the disciplinary areas in the interdisciplinary degree program. An overall minimum of 36 credit hours of graduate level coursework is required, but may be higher to reflect the standards for doctoral study in the disciplines represented in the interdisciplinary degree program.
  2. Each program must be designed so that it is not dominated by a single department's offerings. A minimum of six (6) credit hours of 600-level course work must be taken in each of at least two different departments or programs offering graduate degrees.
  3. The curriculum plan must include coursework that provides training in research methodology deemed suitable to the interdisciplinary nature of the program.
  4. A dissertation involving original research that crosses established disciplinary lines is required.
  5. Faculty serving on committees and as mentors in the Interdisciplinary Studies PhD program must have a doctorate degree or substantial evidence of relevant experience and must hold membership in the Graduate Faculty of a unit.
  6. A student’s primary mentor must meet their unit’s minimum guidelines for directing doctoral dissertations. If a student’s mentor has not directed a dissertation in the past, the student must also have a co-mentor who has previous experience directing dissertations.