College of LAS > Academics > Interdisciplinary Studies > About > Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes IDS different from other graduate programs at DePaul?

IDS 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. IDS is a program for people who want to push the boundaries of college education.

What do IDS students major in?

All IDS students major in customized individual graduate study. This means that if you are only interested in communication, business or philosophy, IDS probably is not the right graduate program for you. But, if you want to study communication and business or computer science, telecommunications and information systems and public policy, then IDS is the place for you.

Who can apply to the program?

Any student who has completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university can apply for admission into the IDS program.

Can I apply for admission at any time?

Yes, admission is on a continuous basis and you can apply for any quarter. It takes at least five weeks to process your application after all the materials have been submitted.

Is there a limitation to the courses I can take?

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).  IDS Students 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.

How will my proposed list of courses be evaluated?

The director of the program will evaluate and assess your proposed List of Courses (LOC) in terms of the goals as indicated in your Statement of Academic Purpose (SAP). The Director of the Program will consult the Chairperson or Program Director of every department and program in which you intend to take courses. Your admission will be approved only after the director of the program has approved your entire program.

Can I add, drop or change coures once I am in the program?

Yes and many students do. However, the director of the program must approve each change or new course proposed before you can add it to your list. This is done to assure that your course of study has coherence and is consistent with the goals you have stated in your Statement of Academic Purpose. Please review the  Questions on Course Selection, Registration, Transfers, and Changes of Program page.

Can I take an independent study course?

Yes. An independent study is usually a course designed by you and a professor in a subject area you’re interested in. Through independent study, you can design your own project and work one-to-one with a professor who is an expert in the field. You can also design the independent study to engage in various forms of experiential learning by doing an internship with countless institutions in Chicago. You cannot take more than one course as an independent study.

Is there a possibility of doing a thesis or culminating project as part of a graduate program in interdisciplinary studies?

The MA/MS in Interdisciplinary Studies, like its sister MALS Program, has a 12-course option that includes a thesis or thesis-like capstone, and a 13-course option that includes other capstone options.  The thesis option provides students with a chance to pull together the many various strands of their program in a coherent and original piece of scholarly or professional work. It can be especially valuable for those considering career change or further advanced academic work. If you choose this option, your thesis project will be under the guidance of a faculty supervisor and a committee of two other faculty members drawn from the university.

Can I transfer graduate courses taken elsewhere?

Yes, under some circumstances. A limited number, usually the equivalent of 12 quarter hours or 3 courses, may be transferred only after you have been admitted to the program. You must provide appropriate evidence of transfer courses with your application.

Can I take courses at any of DePaul's campuses?

Yes, as long as the course is part of your approved program. DePaul offers courses at its Loop and Lincoln Park campuses, and at its satellite campuses.