College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Interdisciplinary Self-Designed Program > About > Frequently Asked Questions
Interdisciplinary Self-Designed Program students are free to combine several disciplines or create a unique academic path for themselves. Students in the program individually custom design their graduate studies to meet their academic and professional goals. It is a program for people who want to push the boundaries of college education.
The Interdisciplinary Self-Designed Program offers three self-designed graduate degree tracks:
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies
Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies
The classes taken over the course of the self-designed degree determine which of the above degrees the student ultimately earns.
There are a few. Since the program is interdisciplinary in nature, no more than six courses may be taken in any one department or program and no more than five courses can be taken in the College of Commerce (Kellstadt Graduate School of Business). The five-course limit in the graduate school of business includes the thesis in a traditional business subject (as opposed to an interdisciplinary thesis which addresses business issues. You many take no more than two approved 300-level courses (upper division undergraduate courses). Students in the program may not take courses from the College of Law or certain performance-based courses in the schools of Music and Theatre. Please see Questions on Course Selection, Registration, Transfers, and Changes of Program for a more detailed explanation.
The Core Courses or their equivalents are designed to transform the adult learner’s intellectual curiosity into finely honed academic skills. You will be treated as an adult as you learn the skills of analytic thinking and writing. You will be taught research skills that employ not only traditional sources such as books and periodicals, but the vast array of electronic materials available through the DePaul libraries. A variety of specialized writing courses are also available.
We offer a partial tuition scholarship awarded on a competitive basis. Any student may apply for this assistance after completing one quarter of study in the program. The university also offers a number of loan packages. To view more details visit our Financial Aid section.
Advisement is one of the hallmarks of the program. Whether your advisor is the director, associate director or other faculty, you will receive guidance at every stage in your academic career. The program endeavors to help students form community through thoughtful course scheduling and social events.
Programs usually consists of twelve or thirteen courses including the Capstone Project. Most students who work full-time find that a single course per quarter is a reasonable load, but some take more. Our own courses are usually not offered in the summer, but there are courses in other divisions of the university which students can take for credit, thus accelerating progress toward the degree. If you are not working at a full-time job it is possible to complete the program in a little more than two years, but most students take longer. Many students say they enjoy the program so much they are reluctant to bring it to a conclusion.
Since students know that eventually they will be creating a thesis or other Capstone Project, they generally begin to think about a topic in their first or second year. Students work closely with a Program Advisor and their academic advisors to help shape a Capstone, and to select the particular Capstone option that is best for them. Past Capstones have dealt with an astonishing variety of subjects in the humanities, social sciences, public affairs, business and management issues, the arts, and issues of contemporary life, all from an interdisciplinary perspective. Sometimes students use the Capstone to explore a topic that engaged them in one or several of their courses. Often an issue that relates to the personal or professional life of the student becomes the topic of investigation. The average thesis-style Capstone Project is between 35 and 50 pages, though some are longer. Besides the thesis-type project, students can also do a Practicum--a Capstone in which a creative or community project is the main activity, but accompanied by an essay describing and analyzing the project. Students can also choose the Exit Course or Enhanced Portfolio Essay Capstones. Copies of all Capstone Projects are deposited and catalogued in the DePaul Library, as well as in the offices of the Program. Some Capstones go on to further life in publication, or distribution via the web and other media.