College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Interdisciplinary Self-Designed Program > About > Learning Outcomes & Unique Features

Learning Outcomes & Unique Features

The Interdisciplinary Self-Designed Program is a customizable graduate program designed primarily for working adults. Though students typically take courses in a wide variety of fields, there are common intellectual goals for all students. The skills that contribute to these goals are introduced and assessed in the Core courses, developed in the electives and demonstrated in the student's program culminating project, either the thesis/integrating project or an alternative. Students may use these goals as a way of understanding the rationale behind the design of the program. They may also think of them as guideposts or rubrics for self-evaluation over their course of study. Specifically, students who enter the Program after Summer 2008, will use these goals in the self-evaluation exercise of the Midpoint Essay and the Culminating Point Essay. Even students who entered the program before the requirement was instituted will find these goals useful in thinking about their academic progress. Faculty will also use them to evaluate an individual student's intellectual growth in the capstone.

Students in the program are also asked to review these goals when formulating the Statement of Academic Purpose, and to incorporate the goals that apply to their individual degree plans. Applicants are required to include at least two of the below Learning Goals in the learning goals enumerated in his or her Statement of Academic Purpose.


  1. Students will be able to analyze and interpret discourse and media in a variety of academic, literary, professional and popular genres.
  2. Students will be able to use multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches to knowledge.
  3. Students will be able to analyze the social and/or historical context of phenomena.
  4. Students will be able to analyze value systems.
  5. Students will be able to demonstrate ability to write in a variety of academic and/or professional genres, including expository essays, critical analysis, research papers, white papers, etc., culminating in an extended capstone.
  6. Students will be able to make effective oral presentation of ideas, and engage in thoughtful oral exchange of ideas.
  7. Students will be able to incorporate, analyze and properly cite a variety of academic and professional resources, including scholarly books, journal articles and vetted web resources, in conducting research.
  8. Students will be able to use their knowledge of the methods and approaches of at least one particular academic or professional discipline to complete academic writing projects.
  9. Students will be able to utilize current technology appropriate to their academic or career paths.


Simplified Application Process: an uncomplicated application process that can be completed in a few weeks’ time.

Year-round admission: The program admits students on a rolling basis. However, students are strongly encouraged to begin in the Autumn Quarter in order to take advantage of the gateway course, MLS 401: Visions of the Self.

Convenient class times: Classes meet in the evening once each week and are available on both DePaul’s Loop and Lincoln Park Campuses.

Tuition scholarships:Partial tuition scholarships are available for qualified students.

Personal advising at every stage, from admission to graduation.

Workshops that assist returning students with graduate level writing and library research.

Parking facilities close to classrooms.

Faculty who are selected by the director for their excellence in teaching and their interest in adult learners.

Small classes, especially in the core courses, to encourage discussion and exchange of ideas. ​