Goucher College 2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalogue 
    Sep 25, 2022  
Goucher College 2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalogue

Individualized Interdisciplinary Major

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The IIM is a dynamic major that allows students to forge new territory, while working closely with their professors. In their sophomore year, students create the blueprint by combining three disciplines (these can be Majors or Minors that we offer). During this process, they create a new major, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.


Students must complete the process for declaring an IIM in their second semester of sophomore year. All students are required to declare a major prior to entering their junior year. Students need to submit the paperwork before the deadline for second semester sophomores to declare (see Important Dates for Students)

Definition and Purpose of the IIM 

The Individualized Interdisciplinary Major (IIM) is an intentional plan of study that includes three disciplines, interweaving the ideals and processes of each discipline into a logical new multidiscipline.  Goucher College’s IIM provides a framework for students to pursue a self-designed major that takes advantage of the diverse and innovative courses offered across the curriculum.  More importantly, the IIM lets a student examine the Goucher curriculum through a lens of interdisciplinary study.  Students who choose to pursue the IIM do so with the understanding that there is interaction among the three disciplines they choose:  the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. 

Goals of the IIM 

Students who are approved to pursue the Individualized Interdisciplinary Major (IIM) will achieve the following goals:

  1. They will be able to clearly articulate the vision of their particular area of research and analysis.
  2. They will be able to identify the methodologies they have employed in their studies.
  3. They will engage in advanced areas of research questions in their areas of study.
  4. They will gain an understanding of the opportunities available for advanced study, employment, and careers in their disciplines, and they will have a vision for the future of their interdisciplinary research.

Procedures for Declaring an IIM 

  1. The student will choose three disciplines.
  2. The student will discuss their ideas with a potential advisor in each of the three disciplines. Students should speak with the academic program contact of each discipline if they are unsure who to reach out to.
  3. The student will confirm all three advisors with one advisor agreeing to be the primary advisor.
  4. The student will write a 3-4-page proposal following the guidelines listed below.
  5. The student will create a course map of their classes (a 4-year plan), following the guidelines listed below and in the Course Map for the IIM.
  6. The student will return to their 3 advisors to discuss the written proposal and the Course Map. The student should ask them to sign the IIM Declaration form at this time.
  7. Before the deadline for second-semester sophomores to declare, the completed application should be sent to associateprovost@goucher.edu and must include:
    • The signed declaration form
    • The written proposal
    • The Course Map (4-year plan)

The Proposal 

Students will work with all three advisors on their IIM committee to write a 3-4-page proposal that explains their course of study.

This proposal must contain the following:

  1. Justification on why the student should be allowed to create an IIM.
  2. Discussion on how the three chosen disciplines will work together, stating why goals cannot be met with a traditional major or minor.
  3. Explanation on how using interdisciplinary thinking will expand the current fields.
  4. Plans and rationale for meeting all Goucher Common Requirements (GCRs).

The Course Map 

Students will create a Course Map that covers all four years of their college education.

The IIM requires a total of 48 credits. Each of the 3 disciplines requires a minimum of 12 credits (36 of the 48 credits). The remaining 12 credits of your IIM may be distributed how students and their advisors see fit.

The course map must answer these questions: 

  1. Include all 120 credits required for graduating including GCRs, listing out the number of credits for EACH course.
  2. Indicate the status of each course: whether the student has passed the course or plans to take the course in the future.
  3. Include the student’s Study Abroad plans (these may change) and any internship plans (internships are optional, but highly recommended).

As plans for study abroad, internships, or co-curricular activities may change, students must get approval from their advisors when such changes are made.

Requirements for the Major 

Total Number of Credits (48) + Distribution of those credits (at least 12 per discipline)

The student must complete at least 48 credits in courses that focus on the methods and content from three disciplines and that balance the contributions from each discipline.  The 48-credit requirement requires the student to devote at least 12 credits to each of the three disciplines.  As is the case with any Major on campus (and in accordance with the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s rules), at least 16 credits must be taken at the 300-400 level.  Ordinarily, these upper-level (300-400 level) credits will be distributed such that at least 12 of those credits will be taken across each of the three disciplines.  That is, each of the three disciplinary areas of study must include at least one course at the 300 or 400 level. 


The IIM is a rewarding, but complex process.  Students and advisors all share increased sets of responsibilities that ensure the integrity and rigor of the Individualized Interdisciplinary Major (IIM).

The Student’s Responsibilities

Student must initiate the entire IIM process and find advisors who endorse their vision.   They must write their IIM proposal and seek the guidance and advice of their IIM committee.  They must be willing to make revisions to this proposal and be open to suggestions. 

Student must create their 4-Year Plan, again taking into consideration the advice of their IIM committee.  They must accept the changes that their advisors request.  They must account for all 120 credits toward their degree, including GCRs and Major Requirements.  If their courses change, they must seek the approval of their IIM committee.

Ideally, students will complete their GCRs by the end of their sophomore year, including submitting their proposals for CWP.  Most students choose to study abroad in their junior year.

The IIM Committee’s Responsibilities

The IIM committee reviews and approves the proposed course of study, and helps the student progress through the Major, helping the student adjust the coursework, if necessary, until the student reaches the goal of completing the IIM Major.  Changes to the overall proposed area of study and/or to the proposed coursework requires a petition that must be approved by the IIM committee.

The IIM committee members are encouraged to participate in IIM group activities, such as IIM meetings (1-2 times per year) that will foster communication, collaboration, and conversation across the Major.  When possible, the IIM committee will attend pre-graduation celebration with seniors and parents.

The Primary Advisor’s Responsibilities

The primary advisor is one of the three members of the IIM committee.  The primary advisor meets with their advisee individually at least twice per semester, just as an advisor in an established discipline must do.  The primary advisor clears students for registration and provides feedback for the student, reviewing the plan of study and helping the student revise the 4-Year Plan if necessary.  The primary advisor organizes IIM committee meetings as seen fit and works with the student to stay on track.

The Capstone:  Presentation and Evaluation of the Completed IIM   

IIM students must complete the IIM-specific capstone, IDS 497, during the fall semester of their senior year.

Students are encouraged to present their work publicly at the Senior Symposium/Capstone Day. IIM students may also use this forum to highlight how their interdisciplinary approaches expanded the boundaries of their three disciplines.

The IIM, in final form for evaluation, shall be submitted to the IIM Committee no later than the last day of classes of the fall semester of a student’s senior year.  This project must be in a form that facilitates efficient evaluation by the committee.  The Capstone Project must be explicitly stated in the IIM proposal, or in any approved revisions to the IIM proposal.  It is imperative that all parties agree as to the nature of the expected product, and that the student understands what is required for submission and evaluation.  For example, if the final project is a manuscript, an adequate number of copies must be provided for evaluation by the IIM committee.  If the final project is a video, the student must provide a working link to the project online or provide copies of the video on a flash drive for each member of the committee. 

Honors in the Major 

Students who earn a GPA of 3.7 or higher in the courses in their IIM will earn honors in the major. 


  1. What are some examples of Goucher’s Individualized Interdisciplinary Majors (IIMs)?
    • Neuroscience = Public Health + Biology + Psychology
    • Public Relations = Business + Communications + Spanish
    • Theatre for Social Change = Education + Communications + Theatre
    • Narrative Design = Creative Writing + Anthropology + Peace Studies
  2. What do employers think of this major?
    • Many employers are impressed by the initiative that the IIM students show. They recognize the problem-solving skills and ingenuity involved in creating a major that satisfies so many stakeholders.
  3. Do IIM Majors get jobs? Can they get into graduate schools?
    • YES!
  4. What does the transcript say?
    • Major: Individualized Interdisciplinary Major
    • Focus: The Title of the Student’s IIM


If you have questions, please contact the Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies at associateprovost@goucher.edu


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