Program Information

This master's program builds on NU’s existing strengths.  Students will take courses from existing graduate programs as well as new courses from expert faculty in relevant disciplines.

Component Course Credit Hours
Introductory Seminar (A)
IDS 500 (1 course / 3 credit hours)
Disciplinary Core (B) 
(2 courses / 6 credit hours)
Self-Designed Curriculum (C) (6 courses / 18 credit hours)
Capstone (D)
IDS 600 (1 course / 3 credit hours)
IDS 601 (1 course / 3 credit hours)
Total (11 courses / 33 Credit Hours)

Curriculum Components

Component A: Introductory Seminar (3 credit hours [c.h.)

Interdisciplinary Methods: Students gain familiarity with a variety of research methods, read and analyze examples of interdisciplinary research and develop their own research proposal and program of study. Gateway course for the program; offered each semester.

Component B: Disciplinary Core (6 c.h.)

At least two courses taken from two different departments that outline basic research methods and current topics in the relevant field. Selected as part of the Introductory Seminar, they provide the methodological basis for the individually-designed degree program. The courses are drawn from regularly offered graduate courses within relevant departments at the University.

Component C: Self-Designed Curriculum (18 c.h.)

Each student develops an individualized program of study (each student has the ability to modify any program, in consultation with the program director) to meet his/her own intellectual and professional goals. A maximum of twelve (12) transfer credit hours may be included in this component.

Component D (6 c.h.)

Capstone: Two semesters of individual study primarily designed by the student in consultation with the program director. A significant project that reflects the preceding coursework may include a thesis (50 pages minimum), internship with outside evaluation, or another initiative (e.g. leading a grassroots environmental campaign or designating a historic landmark). Conducted over two semesters to allow sufficient time for design, research, revision and self-evaluation. Includes an oral defense before program faculty.