Self-Design

Create a-one-of-a-kind B.A. or B.S. degree. The Self-Design program will help you develop a clear vision for your education and attain 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 Self-Design B.A. or B.S. options 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.

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 advisor. This advisor will assist the student to develop an academically sound major in an interdisciplinary area. If the student is not able to identify a Major Advisor, Dr. Sharon Setzer, Program Coordinator for the Self-Design Major Committee, can help students identify an appropriate advisor.

The student completes an application for the Self-Design program (form and instructions below) with assistance from the advisor. The application is submitted via email as a Word document and a printed copy to Dr. Setzer.  For a student to be accepted into the major, the application must be approved by the Self-Design Major Advisory Committee. This committee meets twice a semester to review applications.  Contact Dr. Sharon Setzer for details.

The Application (which MUST be typed or word-processed) consists of these 6 pieces:

  • The Description of Your Concentration.  This explains how you became interested in the Self-Design path you want to follow.  Talk about experiences you have had, academic and personal, which have led you to want to understand something in a deeper way that can be achieved only with courses from different disciplines.
  • A list of Learning Objectives with identification of the courses you will take to help you achieve the Objectives.  Courses representing different disciples will confirm the interdisciplinary approach to your learning.
  • A worksheet demonstrating how you will 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
  • A semester-by-semester plan showing how you hope to complete your degree

Application Forms:


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 must total 30 credit hours 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 Requirement (GER) or 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 College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS)​
  3. No more than 12 hours of concentration courses should consist of transfer credits.
  4. The concentration must 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 begun after the date when your application is approved. 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, studios, and practicum courses must submit attachments to the application with a full description of these courses, explaining their relevance to the concentration.
  7. Of the 30 credit hours, 3 will consist of IDS 490, Interdisciplinary Methods and Issues, to be taken in the senior year. The 3-credit course will involve readings in interdisciplinary thought, service learning, a 30-hour service experience with a community partner, and a final presentation.
  8. Students may not include in their Major 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. Substitutions are sometimes possible, but only if the request for the substitution and the reason for it are submitted in writing with the endorsement of the advisor prior to the time you begin the course.

Other Information

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

In order to be admitted into the program you must have a GPA of 2.0 or better.

The program is open only to students who have already been admitted to North Carolina State University. One cannot apply to the University as a Self-Design Major.

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

Only one of the courses in the Self-Design Major concentration may also be counted as a course in a minor. Courses in the minor may count toward CHASS general education requirements 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 the deadline 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 BA 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 BS 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 by departments within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The BS degree also requires 15 hours of Advanced Science, Technology, and Society course work.  These courses must underpin the concentration of the Self-Design BS 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.

If you have any more questions please visit our FAQ page.​

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