The Interdisciplinary Studies master’s program is available as an MA (for those whose degree goals are more focused in the arts and humanities) or an MS (for those whose degree goals are more focused in the STEM fields). Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to critically examine multiple sources of information, formulating responses to particular problems or questions. They will be able to demonstrate communication skills relevant to their disciplinary focuses and show competence in the processes of inquiry, at a level appropriate to a master’s degree.

Participants in the program can choose to follow a thesis (Plan I) or non-thesis (Plan II) track. Those following the thesis track must demonstrate their ability to articulate and address a research question utilizing appropriate methodologies. Non-thesis students must complete a Capstone Project. Through this project, they must demonstrate leadership and problem-solving skills relevant to their professional field. The Capstone Project can involve a graded internship.

The Interdisciplinary Studies MA/MS as a Vessel Degree

Students who have earned one or more graduate certificates as non-degree-seeking students may be able to apply their certificates toward the Interdisciplinary Studies master’s degree. In this situation, related graduate certificates are connected to a coherent master’s degree through a Capstone Project.

Admission Requirements

To apply, applicants should submit an application to the Graduate School. Application materials include:

  1. Transcripts showing a completed bachelor’s degree (at the time of admission) or equivalent from an accredited university. Transcripts must show a GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) or equivalent.
  2. The email addresses of three recommenders.
  3. A CV/resume.
  4. A statement of purpose: applicants who propose to combine two or more academic disciplines should outline their goals and rationales in a statement of purpose and submit with the application. Applicants should ensure that they demonstrate coherence among the different disciplines, in terms of the individual’s overall personal and professional goals, as well as how those disciplines will be blended in the final thesis/project/dissertation. This is where you will discuss your professional/academic preparation, your reason for choosing The University of Alabama, your research goals (as appropriate) and your intended future career path. The Graduate School expects your goals to include classwork from two to three academic departments/programs.
  5. Language scores (for non-native English speakers).

Upon submission, the Graduate School will form an application review committee comprising graduate program directors from the two to three departments identified in your statement of purpose. If there are questions regarding your statement of purpose or program/career goals, you will be contacted for clarification. The initial review committee will make the admission recommendation to the Graduate School.


On admission, students will be assigned to a home department. An advisory committee, together with a primary advisor, will work with the student to formulate a plan of study. The plan of study will include the decision of whether to follow Plan I (thesis option) or Plan II (Capstone Project option). Students pursuing the thesis option will be encouraged to take a research methods or theory course in one of the participating departments during their first semesters. Advisors may wish to have students enroll in an independent study course during the first semester, during which they create an in-depth proposal to be approved by the advisory committee.