Proposal Requirements

The Interdisciplinary Studies Committee will consider a proposal when the applicant meets all program requirements and completes the Program Proposal Form, including the Letter of Intent outlined in part III.

Please use the following checklist before submitting a proposal to the Graduate School:

  1. The admission requirements are met.
  2. The program includes a minimum of 30 semester units for the MA or MS degree.
  3. Only 4000* and 5000-level courses are counted toward the semester units required in the MA/MS Interdisciplinary Studies Program.
  4. At least half of the units included in the program proposal are from 5000-level courses.
  5. A minimum of 6 semester units in one or more disciplines other than the primary field of concentration are included.
  6. A maximum of nine (9) units of independent study are included in a student's program. Independent Study courses are described in the student's proposal in detail equivalent to a catalog course description and the instructor of record is listed for each independent study course. Courses must be taken for a letter grade.
  7. A 4000*/5000-level research methods course appropriate for the discipline(s) is included in the program.
  8. The proposal fully describes the method for the satisfactory completion of the CSU graduate writing competency requirement.
  9. Six (6) units of project or thesis work are included in the student's program. Prior to enrolling in thesis/project units students must have an approved Prospectus Form on file with the Graduate School. An oral defense is required.
  10. A maximum of 9 units of transfer credit are included in a student's program. Credits earned through University Extended Education are subject to approval by the faculty advisor, thesis committee, program director, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  11. No more than 9 units completed prior to admission to the program are included in the student's Interdisciplinary Studies Program.
  12. The Interdisciplinary Studies program normally limits the CR/NC grading option to field studies, practica, and internships, not to exceed 20% of the required coursework. Exceptions will be reviewed by the program Director.
  13. No grade below "B-" may be applied toward the Interdisciplinary Studies degree. Exceptions will be reviewed by the program Director.
  14. Reading competency in a language other than English and/or a comprehensive examination may be required by the Master's committee.
  15. The program title reflects the interdisciplinary focus of the program. The names of disciplines for which traditional degree programs exist may not be used.

*Any 4000-level course offered within a student's Interdisciplinary Studies program must be acknowledged by the instructor as containing assignments and grading which meet the higher standards of a graduate course. The methods a professor imposes to ensure more rigorous standards for graduate students are a matter of instructor preference. Additional readings, research papers, essay questions on examinations, and oral presentations are often employed to satisfy this requirement. Within the first two weeks of each semester, a Verification of 4000-level Coursework form verifying the instructor's acknowledgment of this requirement must be submitted to the Graduate School for each 4000-level course.

Program Proposal Template 


Criteria For Approval of Programs

Applicants must follow the format below when completing the “MA/MS Interdisciplinary Studies Program Proposal” and the “Program Proposal Preparation Checklist.” The proposal must demonstrate advanced analytical and communication skills, abilities the student should have developed as an undergraduate and that suggest future success in graduate school.

Indicators of success include a high undergraduate and post-baccalaureate grade point average, examples of undergraduate preparation, and the ability to write a coherent and persuasive Letter of Intent. The MA/MS Interdisciplinary Studies Committee welcomes quality proposals and employs the following criteria in its deliberations:

  • Adherence to the technical requirements of the program (number of units, etc.)
  • Clarity and completeness of the written proposal, which displays advanced communication skills in English
  • A thorough, clear statement of the academic objectives of the student’s proposed program
  • A cogent explanation of how the program contributes to the student’s professional objectives
  • A convincing justification for the proposed multidisciplinary program including an explanation of the coherence of the program (the relatedness of the subject and title and the selection and relationship of the courses)
  • The strength of the student’s academic record or relevant practical or professional experiences that demonstrate the ability to complete a program of individualized graduate studies

Requirements for Continuation in the Program

  1. Students in the Interdisciplinary Studies MA/MS program must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in courses taken to satisfy the requirements of the degree. No grade lower than a "B-" will be accepted in courses taken to satisfy degree requirements, unless it is approved as an exception. Students who fail to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 will be placed on academic probation and will be notified of the conditions required for removal of the probation. Failure to meet the conditions will result in disqualification.

  2. All requirements for graduation must be completed within 7 years of initial admittance (either provisional or classified) to the Interdisciplinary Studies MA/MS program. Students may be put on probation or disqualified for repeated withdrawal or failure to progress toward degree completion.


Updated: December 13, 2023