School of Interdisciplinary Studies

The School of Interdisciplinary Studies provides an environment that allows students to understand and integrate the liberal arts and sciences. The school administers interdisciplinary degree programs that afford students the opportunity to design their degree plans on an individualized basis. To assist the student in pursuing a course of study leading to successful completion of an undergraduate degree, the school provides a unique support structure. Included in this structure is the school's Internship Program that arranges professional work experience in diverse career settings. The educational environment of Interdisciplinary Studies is especially congenial to students eager to pursue unconventional or innovative combinations of course work.


All faculty in the university are eligible to participate.

Professors: George W. Fair, Karen J. Prager, Lawrence J. Redlinger

Associate Professor: Erin A. Smith

Senior Lecturers: Candice T. Chandler, Susan P. Chizeck, Dachang Cong, Jillian Duquaine-Watson, Patricia A. Leek, Angela McNulty, Rebekah Nix, Elizabeth M. Salter, Nancy C. Van, Tonya Wissinger

Associate Dean for Teacher Development: Scherry F. Johnson


The School of Interdisciplinary Studies administers the programs for the Bachelor of Arts in American Studies, the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. The program in American Studies is designed for students who wish to learn more about United States’ institutions, arts, and society, both in the past and present. The Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies Programs emphasize a broad learning experience and a wider perspective than that provided by traditional undergraduate majors. All programs are designed for students who wish to choose among conventional disciplines, both to explore a variety of topics and to integrate courses focusing on a particular area of interest. They are also appropriate for those students who seek a thorough grounding in the traditional arts and sciences from an interdisciplinary perspective. For students in other schools who wish to broaden their education by including a School of Interdisciplinary Studies program, the double degree is recommended. This option calls for a minimum of 30 semester credit hours at the upper division beyond those necessary for the major with the larger credit hour requirement. In addition, the student must satisfy all requirements for both majors. The School of Interdisciplinary Studies encourages double majors in American Studies, but a double major is not an option in Interdisciplinary Studies. Students seeking to double major in American Studies must consult with the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. The School of Interdisciplinary Studies is now working in collaboration with the Health Professions Advising Center to offer Health courses under the prefix of HLTH. In order to graduate with a degree from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, students must complete a minimum of 21 upper level hours at UT Dallas. This requirement can be used within the minimum of 30 hours needed to graduate from UT Dallas.

Internship Program

All undergraduates in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies are encouraged to take an internship with an organization in the community. Internships provide students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills that they have mastered in their academic work. Students applying for internships must be in their junior or senior year and in good academic standing, have completed the appropriate course work, and receive approval of the Internship Director. Students normally enroll for 3 to 6 semester hours. Students interested in the program should see the Internship Director of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies or call 972/883-2354.

Honors in the Major

The School of Interdisciplinary Studies offers Honors Programs, which vary, by major, and provide an intellectually challenging opportunity for the brightest and best students in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Junior and Senior students with a cumulative UT Dallas GPA of 3.90 are eligible to apply for the honors programs, which consist of a 30 hour defined curriculum, including an upper level writing course, and an internship component. Due to our high GPA entrance requirements, an honors thesis is not required for honors in the major. For Honors with distinction, however, an honors thesis is required. This thesis must be submitted at least one week before the end of classes, and must be nominated by the supervising professor as being of exceptional quality. The faculty of the school (or a subgroup thereof) will then determine if the thesis warrants this level of distinction. Students must apply for Departmental Honors through their academic advisor at the time they apply for graduation. For applications and more details, please consult your Interdisciplinary Studies academic advisor.


The School of Interdisciplinary Studies offers minors in American Studies, in Environmental Studies, in Gender Studies, and in Health Care Studies. The latter is designed for students from any major who have an interest in pursuing a career in one of the health care fields. Students in the B.A. in American Studies program are encouraged to pursue a minor as part of their degree plan. Students in the IS degree programs cannot have a minor. Nor is there a minor offered in Interdisciplinary Studies. The requirements for each minor are listed below the degree requirements.

Minor in American Studies

The American Studies minor is 18 semester hours. AMS 3302 and BIS 3320 are required in addition to four other approved American Studies courses chosen from AMS 3300, AMS 3370, AMS 3374, AMS 4360, AMS 4378, AMS 4379, ISGS 3338, and ISGS 3384. Students pursuing a degree in American Studies are encouraged to incorporate a minor from another discipline in their degree program.

Minor in Environmental Studies

This minor will provide students from all majors with a better understanding of environmental issues and the skills to analyze future environmental problems. The name “Environmental Studies” reflects the goal of this interdisciplinary minor to encourage students to learn to view environmental issues from scientific, political, and social standpoints. The proposed 18-hour Environmental Sciences minor would enable UT Dallas students to develop expertise in this important area. The framework provides all students with a policy and science perspective and allows students to tailor the minor, through choice of electives, to their individual goals. Students will be strongly encouraged to include an Environmental Studies Internship in their minor though it may not be possible for all students.
The Environmental Studies minor will be housed within the School of Interdisciplinary Studies with a Supervisory Committee consisting (initially) of Dr. Elizabeth Salter and the professors of the two required courses, Dr. Lloyd Dumas and Dr. Lynn Melton.

18 semester credit hours are required, all of which must be upper level hours.
Foundation Courses (required) (6 hours)
NATS 4V09: Energy and the Environment (3 SCH)
ECO 4336: Environmental Economic Theory and Policy

Electives (12 hours) (choose 4 from this list, or one alternate course with one of the three Supervisor Committee faculty ‘s written permission)*
BIS 3310: Environmental Studies Internship/Independent Study Capstone Project
BIS 3310 is strongly recommended (new course in Fall 2011)
BIOL 4324: Field Ecology (new course in Fall 2011)
ECON 4333: Environmental Economics
ECON 4332: Energy & Natural Resources Economics
ECON 4396: World Resources and Development
GEOS 3310: Environmental Geology
HIST 4378: American Environmental History
ISNS 3332: Future Energy Resources
ISNS 3368: Weather and Climate

Minor in Gender Studies

The minor in Gender Studies is designed to examine the ways in that gender as a complex social construction intersects with class, race, age, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, and sexual identity; to examine the lives and experiences of groups that have been underrepresented in traditional academic work; and to acquaint students with the fundamental methodologies of women's and gender studies.

The Gender Studies minor is 18 semester hours. The courses consist of GST 2300/SOC 2300, two courses chosen from GST 3301/PSY 3324, GST 3302/HIST 4361, and GST 3303/PSCI 3354/SOC 3354, and nine hours chosen from: AHST 4342 (when the topic is Venus to Vampire), AMS 3300, AMS 3318, AMS 4360/GST 4360, BIS 4V04, CRIM 3324, GST 4311, GST 4325, GST 4350, GST 4360, GST 4380/SOC 4380, HIST 3324, HIST 3366, HIST 3371, HIST 3384, HIST 4360, HIST 4361, ISGS 3306, ISGS 3312, LIT 3327, LIT 3380, PSCI 3353/SOC 3353, PSCI 4358/SOC 4355, PSY 3338, PSY 4345, PSY 4346, SOC 3343, SOC 3352, SOC 3353/PSCI 3353, SOC 4355/PSCI 4358, SOC 4375, or SOC 4380/GST 4380.

Minor in Health Care Studies

The Health Care Studies minor is designed for students from any major who have an interest in pursuing a career in one of the health care fields. Students will learn important aspects of the health profession including appropriate terminology and the foundational elements of professionalism in the health care setting. Students will also gain an understanding of basic biological and medical principles related to human health and disease, the fundamental aspects of the history or philosophy of health care, and psychological, social, or economic issues associated with health care or the health care system in America.

This minor is well suited for traditional pre-health students (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and optometry) as well as those interested in allied health fields (physical therapy, physician assistant studies, clinical nutrition, etc.), public health, clinical psychology, and counseling.

18 semester credit hours are required, 12 semester credit hours of which must be upper-level courses. No courses used to fulfill requirement of a major or another minor may be used.

Health Career Development Foundations Historical, Legal, and Philosophical Foundations
    At least one of the following courses:
    HIST 3328 History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine
    PHIL 4380 Topics in Philosophy: Medical Ethics or Philosophy of Medicine only (both of these topics may be taken when offered)
    PSCI 4365 Law and Medicine

Biological Foundations
At least one of the following courses:
Psychological, Social and Economic Foundations
At least one of the following courses: