Dec 06, 2023  
Graduate Catalog 2018-19 
Graduate Catalog 2018-19 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies

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Advisor: Susan Stapleton, Graduate Dean, or designee

The interdisciplinary doctorate degree offers flexibility to students with interests outside existing academic boundaries and established programs. The degree is housed in the Graduate College and combines coursework and research in two or more disciplines/programs and may involve more than one college. Each of the disciplines/programs must offer graduate coursework, and at least one of the programs must offer a doctorate. The proposed program of study cannot be available in an existing program. Transcript and diploma will indicate Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies. Additional information may be obtained from the Graduate Dean.

Admission Requirements

Application materials may be obtained from the Graduate College website:

The following application materials are required for regular admission to the Interdisciplinary Studies Ph.D. degree program:

  1. Bachelor’s or master’s degree with a minimum grade point average of 3.25/4.00
  2. Completion of the general GRE
  3. Current curriculum vita
  4. Statement of purpose outlining the proposed study plan reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the degree. The student must consult faculty members in the disciplines involved for guidance. The program of study must justify the need for an interdisciplinary studies program and should address the potential career placement after degree completion.
  5. Names of at least two faculty members in the areas of proposed study who have agreed to participate must be listed in the statement of purpose; at least one of these faculty members must consent to serving as dissertation chair. Student must get consent from these faculty members before listing them and these faculty members must obtain the consent of their department chair before agreeing to participate in the supervision of an interdisciplinary studies doctoral student.
  6. Three letters of recommendation that address the academic qualifications for the degree program
  7. Copies of all transcripts as required by Western Michigan University

Admission decisions will be made by a committee consisting of the graduate dean or designee, at least one faculty member from each of the areas of proposed study, and the department chairs from the areas of proposed study. If an applicant has been dismissed from another doctoral program at WMU prior to applying for the Interdisciplinary Studies Ph.D. degree, a review of their credentials will include evaluation of evidence of personal and academic improvements since the dismissal.

Program Requirements

1. The Interdisciplinary Studies Doctorate requires at least 60 credit hours, with a GPA of 3.25 or better. Students with a relevant master’s degree may petition to the Graduate Dean to transfer some credits on their permanent program of study form, but no less than 30 credits plus dissertation credits are taken after admission to the Ph.D. program. At least half of the credits must be 6000-level or above. At least six hours of 6000-level coursework in each of at least two departments is required. The coursework must include the following:

  • A minimum of 32 credit hours of subject knowledge, including at least two classes from each of two or more disciplines/programs.
  • An ethics course, which may be offered through an online module.
  • At least 15 credit hours of training in research methodology, including research method courses, graduate research credit (GRAD 7350), and demonstrated proficiency in two research tools.
  • 12 hours of dissertation credits (GRAD 7300).

2. Supervision of the program of study and research project by a dissertation committee consisting of at least four members from at least two different disciplines/departments, including the dissertation chair or co-chairs. An external member from outside WMU may be included. The dissertation chair or co-chairs and committee will ensure that the standards for their disciplines are met.

3. Successful completion and defense of a research proposal, and other requirements for a comprehensive exam as determined by the disciplines, for advancement to candidacy. The dissertation chair or co-chairs and committee will ensure standards for their disciplines are met.

4. Completion of a dissertation that involves original research that crosses disciplinary boundaries.

5. The student and the dissertation committee will meet at least annually to review the student’s progress.

6. Successful oral defense of the dissertation and approval by the dissertation committee.

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