Interdisciplinary Degree Program: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Interdisciplinary Degree Program?

Who is eligible for the Interdisciplinary Degree Program?

What does “interdisciplinary” mean?

How is the Interdisciplinary Studies (IST) degree different from other degrees offered at USA or other colleges?

Other colleges advertise that their degree can be completed in 2 years and I will only have to go 1 or 2 nights a week. Can I do this with the IST degree?

Can the IST degree be completed by attending only evenings and weekends?

I have completed an associate degree. Will that credit count towards the IST degree?

What is a student’s “major” in the Interdisciplinary Degree Program?

What can students do with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies?

How does a student get started in the Interdisciplinary Degree Program (IDP)?

What is the Interdisciplinary Degree Program?
A: The Interdisciplinary Degree Program (IDP) at the University of South Alabama (USA) has been designed by the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies (IST) to give traditional students a variety of options in earning a bachelor’s degree tailored to their individual educational goals.

Who is eligible for the Interdisciplinary Degree Program?
A: A student who satisfies general University of South Alabama admission requirements and is 18 to 24 years of age.

What does “interdisciplinary” mean?
A: Interdisciplinary Studies is the oldest degree in the world, dating back to Plato and Aristotle. It is consistently ranked as one of the most popular degrees in universities across the United States at the undergraduate, master/s and doctoral levels. “Interdisciplinary” means that students take courses related to their professional goals from three academic departments or disciplines, which broadens their perspective. Based on their selected disciplines, students earn either a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, with a concentration in Administrative Sciences (B.S.), Applied Sciences (B.S.), Professional Development (B.S.), Applied Arts (B.A.), Community Services (B.A.), Human Services (B.A.), or Liberal Studies (B.A.). Advisors work closely with students to choose the disciplines and concentration that best suit their individual interests and goals.

How is the Interdisciplinary Studies (IST) degree different from other degrees offered at USA or other colleges?
A: Most degree programs are very structured, outlining in detail degree requirements.  The IST degree allows students more flexibility because they actually design a large portion of their degree (about 54 semester hours) through a concentration.

Other colleges advertise that their degree can be completed in 2 years and I will only have to go 1 or 2 nights a week.   Can I do this with the IST degree?
A: Colleges which advertise degree completion in 2 years may offer “fast track” or intersive course formats, which means that class time is compressed into a shorter period of time – five weeks for a course, as opposed to 15 weeks required for a semester at USA.  The IST degree is not a “fast track” program, and students take the majority of their courses from the regular course offerings at USA.  Fast track programs are usually limited in the types of degree that can be completed and such programs usually include the provision that students have already completed at least half of their degree requirements. The IST degree program offers more options through the concentration because students can choose courses from the more than 30 academic departments at USA. The IST degree program also takes into consideration transfer college credit.

Can the IST degree be completed by attending only evenings and weekends?
A: Yes.  Due to the flexibility of designing a large portion of their degree, IST students are usually able to complete their entire degree by attending only evening and weekend classes.  However, there are some academic departments at USA which offer few, if any, courses at these times. IST students may be restricted in completing disciplines in these academic areas.   However, the IST academic advisor works closely with all IST students directing them to the courses that are available at the times that they can schedule them so htat they will not be delayed in completing their degree.

I have completed an associate degree.  Will that credit count towards the IST degree?
A: Academic credit from most community colleges will transfer to USA and apply toward the IST degree. USA and most senior universities do not accept vocational/technical courses, due to the fact that these programs are usually not included in their curriculum.  Only academic credit for the same or similar courses offered at USA can be transferred.  Also, most courses taken at private vocational/technical colleges will not transfer due to the lack of required accreditation. The Offices of Admission and Registrar have the final word on transfer credit accepted at USA.

What is a student’s “major” in the Interdisciplinary Degree Program?
A: A student’s major will be listed as Interdisciplinary Studies (IST). The Interdisciplinary Degree Program includes the general education requirements specified for all students at USA as well as a focused concentration which includes related courses chosen from at least three different disciplines. These choices are made in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Degree Program academic advisor. The capstone of the IDP degree is an in-depth senior internship.

What can students do with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies?
A: A degree in Interdisciplinary Studies prepares a student for a wide variety of academic or professional options, including graduate school or careers in fields which include, but are not limited to, business, human/social services, technology, and public health. Graduates are working in fields as diverse as directing or employment with nonprofit and social service organizations, business ownership, public administration, events planning, sports management, public relations, web design, computer sciences, and human resources.

How does a student get started in the Interdisciplinary Degree Program (IDP)?
A: All prospective students are encouraged to meet with the IDP advisor before enrolling in the program to determine if their educational goals can best be met through an Interdisciplinary Studies Degree. To schedule an appointment with an academic advisor, call (251) 460-6263.

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