Sandkam, Sherry T.
Director, M.I.S. Interdisciplinary Individual Programs
Admission requirements summary
Individual Master of Interdisciplinary Studies programs
See the M.I.S. website for essay instructions and curriculum planning form to be submitted with application
The Master of Interdisciplinary Studies degree program provides an opportunity for the highly motivated student to develop an individualized program of study that combines graduate course work in two or more selected disciplines. This opportunity is available for graduate students who wish to pursue a clearly defined, multidisciplinary program that does not duplicate an existing professional curriculum or specialization in a traditional program.
In addition to the general VCU Graduate School requirements and the general requirements for admission to the M.I.S program, applicants who are proposing an individualized course of study must:
- Submit satisfactory scores on the GRE from a current test (fewer than five years old). Substitutions of other standardized test scores may be made on a case-by-case basis, depending upon the focus areas identified in the curriculum proposal and the approval of all members of the admission committee.
- Articulate in the written statement of intent the applicant’s academic goal and how the M.I.S. degree program will facilitate the achievement of that goal. In some cases, applicants may want to address how a more traditional program does not meet their specific academic goals.
- Complete a preliminary curriculum proposal form identifying the specific course work that will support the academic goal articulated in the written statement of intent. This form is available on the Master of Interdisciplinary Studies Web site at www.vcu.edu/graduate/ps/master_inter.html.
Students who are interested in working toward a degree are encouraged to apply to the program as early as possible, since a maximum of six credit hours taken as a nondegree-seeking student may be counted toward the degree.
Members of the admission committee include the directors of graduate study of the two focus areas identified in the curriculum proposal and the director of the M.I.S. program. To facilitate the application process, M.I.S. applicants who are proposing individualized programs of study are strongly encouraged to schedule preliminary advising interviews with the director of the M.I.S. program to discuss their academic goals and curricular proposals.
In addition to the general M.I.S. degree requirements, students who are admitted to individual M.I.S. programs of study must:
- Obtain approval for all transfer and elective course work as part of the formal advising process for developing and/or changing the approved curriculum plan
- Complete a minimum of three graduate credits in a research methods course relevant to the final research project before beginning the final research project; and
- Complete three to six graduate credits as part of the final research project in the form of an approved directed research, independent study, special project or thesis. A student who chooses the thesis option must identify a thesis adviser and committee before beginning formal work on the thesis. The student will follow the thesis guidelines of the school/program of the thesis adviser, as well as the general guidelines for completion of theses/dissertations as prescribed by the Graduate School, the University Graduate Council and VCU Libraries www.vcu.edu/graduate/es/thesis.html. A student who chooses the directed research option must obtain formal approval for the final research project. Before beginning formal work on the thesis or the final directed research project, the student must submit to the director of the M.I.S. program a copy of the proposed project, along with a signed copy of the Final Project Proposal Approval form (available on the M.I.S. Web site at www.vcu.edu/graduate/ps/master_individual.html).