Individually Designed Thematic Option Concentration

If none of the traditional majors or formally designed options meet your needs, you may pursue the second Interdisciplinary Studies alternative: the individually designed thematic option. This option provides you with the opportunity to complete a major that is available at other colleges or universities, but not currently offered at Towson University. Examples of such majors might include nature writing or recreation management.


Student thinking about designing his own major

If you are interested in the individually designed option, you should first consult catalogs from the colleges or universities offering the desired major to determine whether Towson University offers the course work needed to complete the major. You should then meet with one or more professors who have expertise in your proposed area of study. With a professor’s assistance, you will design and submit for approval a plan of study. This proposal must include a title for the program (e.g., Nature Writing) and a description of the program’s goals. It will also list the courses you will take to complete the requirements of your major.

An individually designed thematic option major must fulfill the following course requirements:

  • A program of study consisting of a minimum of 45 units of courses directly related to the academic theme or area of academic study defined in the program of study.
  • At least 21 of these units must be taken after formal approval of the program of study.
  • Courses must be drawn from at least three departments or programs.
  • All courses must be upper-division (300-400 level) unless the faculty adviser and the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies approve the inclusion of significant course work at the lower division. For example, a course important to the student's theme might exist only at the lower division.
  • Students must complete an IDIS portfolio.

An individually designed thematic option minor is also available.  Please refer to the Undergraduate Catalog for specific requirements.

The IDIS Thematic Option major is neither a ‘degree completion major’ nor a ‘design your own major.’ The IDIS TOM is a complete, planned program major that recreates a major or program offered at another university that is not offered at Towson University currently. Significant course work is required after the formal approval of the IDIS Thematic Option Major Program of Study.

Additionally, an IDIS Thematic Option major cannot resemble in any way a major or program currently offered at Towson University. In short, an IDIS Thematic Option major cannot be a ‘major lite,’ a program that excludes a particular course or set of courses required for a major at Towson University.

Anyone considering an IDIS Thematic Option major should contact the IDIS Director as soon as possible to discuss the IDIS Thematic Option major proposal process.

All individually designed programs must be approved by a faculty adviser and by the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies. No unapproved plan of study may be used for graduation.

Contact the director of Interdisciplinary Studies for further information and for help in finding a faculty adviser or advisers with relevant expertise.

Carol Caronna, Ph.D.
Director, Interdisciplinary Studies
Liberal Arts Building Room 3347