VCU Bulletins

Interdisciplinary Studies, Master of (M.I.S.)

Sandkam, Sherry T.
Director, M.I.S. Interdisciplinary Individual Programs
(804) 828-6848

Howard, Edward A.
Director, M.I.S. Interdisciplinary Arts Program
(804) 828-8819

Ellington, Aimee J.
Director, M.I.S. Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Science Leadership Program
(804) 828-5521

Speck, Oliver C.
Assistant Professor of Film Studies, School of World Studies
(804) 827-0910

Admission requirements summary

Interdisciplinary Studies, Master of (M.I.S.)
Indicate specialization
Cinema and language concentration

of entry:


May 1

Special requirements:

For admission, domestic applicants must submit evidence of a knowledge of Italian or Spanish at the “Intermediate High” level according to ACTFL guidelines. Domestic students must submit evidence of a knowledge of the second language at the “Intermediate High” level according to ACTFL guidelines before beginning classes in Europe.

For admission, European students must submit transcripts showing that they have received satisfactory grades during their undergraduate studies (minimum GPA of 3.0) and in their first year of graduate study (with no grade lower than C). Students must also pass the TOEFL or the ELP administered by VCU (iBT score of 100; CBT score of 600; or IELTS academic band score of 6.5) and submit a satisfactory GRE score before beginning classes at VCU.

Interdisciplinary mathematics and science leadership/K-8 mathematics specialist track

of entry:



Special requirements:
At least three years of successful K-8 mathematics and/or science teaching experience

Three recommendations: at least one from an immediate supervisor or principal and at least one that addresses leadership potential

Interview to develop program of study – program director will contact after initial review of application

See website for detailed discussion of program

Student learning outcomes for the cinema and language concentration

  1. Students will demonstrate competencies to analyze cinema, as well as other visual media, as a means of cultural and artistic expression, as an audiovisual language and as a frame for complex cultural dynamics.
  2. Students are able to analyze film and other visual media (e.g. Internet in general, social media, documentary films, etc.) from different cultures, drawing on a general frame of intercultural communication.
  3. Students will achieve fluency in English, Spanish and Italian, especially in their professional field.
  4. Students will prepare for international careers through engaged learning and transatlantic team-building experiences with internships in cultural events such as the Taormina Film Festival, the French Film Festival and the Filmoteca de Andalusia.

Student learning outcomes for the individual concentration

  1. Students must demonstrate general knowledge/synthesis of two or more academic focus areas combined in an approved interdisciplinary course of study with relevant electives, research methodology and independent study through mastery of individual course work and the synthesis of that course work into the final research project.
  2. Students must demonstrate oral and written communication skills to convey effectively the assimilated/synthesized knowledge gained from their interdisciplinary study.
  3. Students must demonstrate ability to design and conduct an independent research project or study that exhibits skills of synthesis, analysis and critical thinking; that is directly related to the purpose of the unique scholarly goal identified as part of the admissions process; and that is reflected in the academic disciplines/focus areas in the approved course of study. Students must demonstrate the achievement of an appropriate level of competence in the ability to design and develop the research protocol and to evaluate and present the outcomes.

Student learning outcomes for the interdisciplinary arts/off-campus concentration

  1. The candidate will demonstrate achievement of appropriate skill level in at least two artistic media with respect to technique, craftsmanship and production level.
  2. The candidate will demonstrate a command of the exhibition process and the discipline to form an appropriate body of work for public exhibition.
  3. The candidate will demonstrate a command of writing and research at the graduate level.
  4. Candidates will demonstrate how they have integrated learned techniques and craftsmanship into their K-12 classroom learning.

Student learning outcomes for the interdisciplinary mathematics and science leadership/K-8 mathematics specialist concentration

  1. Students will write mathematics (not including mathematical proofs) clearly, concisely and correctly.
  2. Students will solve mathematical problems.
  3. Students will use multiple representations to correctly describe mathematical ideas.
  4. Students will study K-12 children’s work and use it to demonstrate knowledge of children’s thinking.
  5. Students will write mathematical proofs clearly, concisely and correctly.
  6. Students will collaborate on projects.
  7. Students will read and comprehend mathematical works and mathematics education works, including national and state standards.
  8. Students will analyze and synthesize mathematics education literature.
  9. Students will make effective written and oral presentations to demonstrate their understanding of mathematical ideas and mathematics education ideas.
  10. Students will (a) analyze and develop rich mathematical tasks for children and adults, (b) study and implement models of mathematics coaching, (c) study and implement professional development models.
  11. Students will study and implement models of formative and summative assessment.
  12. Students will study and implement effective methods of communicating with teachers and administrators.

Admissions requirement summary

The Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (M.I.S.) degree program provides an opportunity for the highly motivated student to pursue a unique course of study that combines graduate course work in a learner-centered approach to graduate education. The student is an active participant in proposing a curriculum that supports an individualized and scholastically rigorous academic goal in a clearly defined, multidisciplinary program. To expand the program’s range of options and interdisciplinary perspectives, the program allows for cooperative ventures with other approved colleges and universities.

M.I.S. programs of study

Opportunities for interdisciplinary study in the M.I.S. degree program currently include the following options. Please read all general M.I.S. information before proceeding to the individual program links.

Application for admission to all M.I.S. programs of study

Applicants to all M.I.S. programs of study must complete the VCU Graduate School Application to Graduate Study ( Completed applications and all supporting documentation must be submitted to the VCU Graduate School according to the instructions provided on the Graduate School website.

Students should refer to the Admissions Requirements Summary charts at the beginning of this section for a summary of current contact information, semesters of entry, application deadlines, testing requirements, and special or supplementary requirements for each M.I.S. program of study.

Admission criteria for all M.I.S. programs of study

General admission requirements to the Graduate School and all M.I.S. programs of study include:

General M.I.S. program requirements for all M.I.S. programs of study

The initial curriculum plan proposed at the time of application must be finalized with the program director or track coordinator by the end of the first semester of study. Any subsequent changes in the curriculum plan must be made with the program director or track coordinator’s approval.

In addition to any admission or individual course prerequisites, students enrolled in M.I.S. programs of study must complete a minimum of 39 graduate semester credits, including:

Graduation requirements for all M.I.S. programs of study

Candidates for degrees are eligible for graduation upon completion of all academic requirements in effect at the time of the first registration in the program, provided they are continuously enrolled and provided the requirements are met within the time limit specified by the Graduate School. Students failing to satisfy the time requirement and who are readmitted to a program shall satisfy requirements in effect at the time of reacceptance into the program.

All graduate students are subject to the admission and academic standards that govern graduate study at VCU as determined by the University Graduate Council and as articulated in the Graduate Studies at VCU section of this bulletin. A checklist summarizing academic policies and requirements for graduation is provided under the General Academic Regulations heading of the Graduate Studies at VCU section. Additional instructions and guidelines for applying to graduate, is available on the VCU Graduate School website

Additional track-specific admission requirements

In addition to the Graduate School’s general requirements for admission and academic standing, and general M.I.S. admission criteria and program requirements, applicants to M.I.S. programs must complete any track-specific requirements as indicated on the following websites:



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Last update: 9/12/2013

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