Create a one-of-a-kind Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. The Self-Design program will help you develop a clear vision for your education and work towards your personal and professional goals. You can combine courses from multiple disciplines as you take on a multidisciplinary approach to solving problems in our complex world. 

Applying to the Program

The Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) Self-Design B.A. and B.S. degrees exist to allow undergraduate students to design a major in an area of academic interest that crosses disciplinary boundaries and creates a unique educational experience.

The program is open only to students who have already earned at least 12 credit hours at North Carolina State University. One cannot apply initially to the University as a Self-Design Major as a newly entering freshman or external transfer student. One cannot apply to the Self-Design program through the online Change Of Degree Application (CODA). One must apply to the Self-Design program directly with the Self-Design Program Coordinator.

Admission to the Self-Design Major program is by application only. The first step for the student who wishes to enter the program is to identify a faculty sponsor/mentor. This sponsor will assist the student to develop an academically sound major in a chosen interdisciplinary area. If the student is not able to identify a faculty sponsor, Dr. Alicia McGill, Coordinator for the Self-Design Major program, can help students identify an appropriate faculty sponsor.

The student completes an application for the Self-Design Major with assistance from the Self-Design Program Coordinator and the faculty sponsor. Self-Design B.A. and B.S. forms and instructions are below. The application materials are submitted via email as attachments, as well as printed and signed copies, to Dr. Setzer. For a student to be accepted into the program, the application must be approved by the Self-Design Major Advisory Committee. This committee meets twice a semester to review applications.  Contact Dr. Alicia McGill for details.

The Application (which MUST be typed or word-processed) consists of these 7 pieces:

  • A completed application form.
  • A description of your chosen, cohorent, and named concentration.  This explains how you became interested in the Self-Design path you want to follow.  Mention academic and personal experiences that have led you to want to understand something in a way that can be achieved only with courses from different disciplines.
  • A list of courses in your concentration.  Please include course numbers, titles, and catalog descriptions.
  • A list of learning outcomes with identification of the courses you will take to help you achieve the outcomes.  Courses representing different disciples will confirm the interdisciplinary approach to your learning.
  • A semester-by-semester plan showing how you expect to complete all of the courses required for your Interdisciplinary Studies Self-Design degree.
  • A copy of your degree audit.
  • A copy of your unofficial transcript.

Application Forms:

IDS Self-Design B.A. application form           Sample application for B.A.

IDS Self-Design B.S. application form           Sample application for B.S.

  • Note: download, rename, and save the application with your entered information with a different file name. A suggestion is to replace the word “template” with your personal name; for example, “Self-Design-BA(or BS)_application_template” renamed as “Self-Design-BA(orBS)_application_YourName.”

Guidelines for Selecting Courses for your Concentration: 

  1. The courses selected must make one coherent academic course of study. The description of your concentration that you submit as part of your application package will make clear how the courses are related to each other and to the theme (title) of your concentration.
  2. The courses included in the concentration come from at least two disciplines. No more than 15 hours in the concentration may come from a single discipline. At least 5 courses must be from the humanities and social sciences, defined as follows:
    1. Courses offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences
    2. Economics courses (College of Management)
    3. Courses on the General Education Plan (GEP) lists of humanities and social science courses
    4. At least 3 of these 5 courses must be taught in the NCSU College of Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS)
  3. No more than 12 hours of concentration courses should consist of external transfer credits.
  4. The concentration should include 8 courses at the 300 and 400 levels and at least 2 of the courses must be at the 400 level. The concentration will not, as a rule, include 100-level courses. Foreign language courses at the 202-level and above may be allowed in the concentration. Students who wish to include a 500- or 600-level course must submit written permission to take the class from the instructor with their application package.
  5. At least 18 hours of concentration courses must be taken after you have begun the Self-Design application process. Students are encouraged to apply to the program as early as possible.
  6. Students who use independent studies (except for the independent studies listed in number 7), special topics courses, internships, and studio and practicum courses must submit attachments to the application with a full description of these courses, explaining their relevance to the concentration.
  7. The concentration will include IDS 490, Interdisciplinary Methods and Issues, to be taken in the senior year. This 3-credit capstone course will involve readings in interdisciplinary thought, service learning, a 30-hour service experience with a community partner, and a final presentation. Please see the Self-Design FAQ page (question 7) for a more detailed description.
  8. Students may not include concentration courses for which they do not have the prerequisites or any other necessary qualification to take the course, unless they submit written permission to take the course from the course instructor with their application package.
  9. The concentration as approved by the Self-Design Major Committee is fixed. A substitution is sometimes possible, but only if the request for the substitution and the reason are submitted in writing with the endorsement of the faculty sponsor or Self-Design Coordinator/advisor prior to beginning the course.

Other Information

You must pass each course in your concentration with the grade of C- or better, and the grade point average (GPA) of courses in your concentration must be a cumulative 2.0 or better in order to graduate with a B.A. or B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies.

In order to be admitted into the Self-Design program you must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better for all of your NCSU coursework.

The Self-Design Major program is one of the programs in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS). Therefore, students in the program must meet all the general education requirements for H&SS Majors.

Only three of the courses in the Self-Design Major concentration may also count in another major's concentration or departmental requirements. Courses in the Self-Design Major concentration which may also count in an academic minor are typically limited to one or two courses, according to the restrictions of the specific minor. Courses in a minor may count toward general education requirements (GEP and H&SS) or free electives.

The Self-Design Major Advisory Committee meets twice each semester. In order to have your application considered, you must submit it by one of the deadlines set by the Committee.

For course registration and enrollment inquiries please contact Bruce Cheek, Student Services Specialist, Interdisciplinary Studies, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Self-Design B.A.

The Interdisciplinary Studies Self-Design B.A. degree requires students to identify a 30-hour course concentration that includes at least two courses at the 400-level. Preferably, five of the courses in the concentration are those offered within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

View Semester by Semester Plan

Self-Design B.S.

The Interdisciplinary Studies Self-Design B.S. degree requires students to identify a 27-hour course concentration.  This concentration will include at least two courses at the 400-level. We prefer that five of the courses in the concentration be offered within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The B.S. degree also requires 15 credit hours of Advanced Science/Technology course work. For more information see the Advanced Science/Technology Requirement form, which is included with the Self-Design B.S. application. These courses must underpin the concentration of the Self-Design B.S. degree.

View Semester By Semester Plan

Capstone Course

Toward the end of your coursework, you will complete a capstone course requiring you to use skills and knowledge obtained during the degree to design and implement a service-learning experience to benefit an organization in the community. Please see the Self-Design FAQ page (question 7) for a more detailed description.

IDS Self-Design: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Please visit our FAQ page.