If your academic interests encompass two academic disciplines in Trinity College, you may wish to consider declaring an interdepartmental major (or IDM). The IDM draws in equal measure upon two Trinity College departments or programs that offer a major. There are two types of Interdepartmental Majors in Trinity College: student-originated IDMs, which are individualized programs proposed by a student, and department-originated IDMs that students can declare similar to any other major.
A student-proposed IDM must meet the following requirements:
If you would like to explore whether an IDM is right for you, you can talk with your college advisor, faculty in the area in which you might study, or the director of undergraduate studies in the departments you are considering. One of the questions to consider is whether completing an IDM is a better choice for you than declaring a regular major and minor.
To declare an IDM, you must develop a written plan for your program of study, give your IDM a descriptive title, and work with the directors of undergraduate studies in both departments to put together a cogent list of courses for the major that they will approve. You will specify which department is considered "primary". In considering your proposal, the directors of undergraduate studies should collaborate to insure that your IDM is rigorous and coherent. After you complete the IDM application and worksheet below and have both directors of undergraduate studies and advisors sign the application, then submit the signed form and worksheet to Dean Karen Murphy in 011 Allen Building for final approval, and then processing.
Instructions for declaring a student-authored IDM can be found here:
The Directors of Undergraduate Studies in two Trinity College departments or programs that offer a major may also propose an interdepartmental major (IDM). The proposed IDM will define a course of study covering core features of each discipline, such as theory, methodology, and research techniques. The criteria are the same as those criteria for student-proposed IDMs above with the procedural qualifications set forth in the remainder of this paragraph. The directors of undergraduate studies in the two departments must agree to the required courses and elective options necessary for completing the IDM. Departments proposing an interdepartmental major must present a descriptive title for the major and a rationale for how the program of study fits into the educational mission of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and the University. IDM proposals should be submitted to the Dean for Curriculum and the Chair of the A&S council, and will be evaluated by the A&S Curriculum Committee and subsequently brought by ECASC to the A&S Council for deliberation and possible approval as a new major. This three-stage evaluation and initial approval process is meant to ensure that the proposal (1) meets the coverage requirements stated above and (2) does not substantially duplicate an existing major. Upon initial approval of a new department-proposed IDM by the A&S Council, Trinity College will publish the requirements for this course of study to the website and provide similar support for monitoring completion of requirements as other established majors receive.
Successful proposals will be offered to students upon initial approval by the A&S Council for a two-year period and would gradually evolve into permanent courses of study following a three-phase sequence, with each phase requiring Council approval:
Phase One (aka “Experimental”/ “Exploratory” – a two-year term). POLICY: This is the stage at which the faculty figure out how the parts can be made to fit together and what new synergies are created across units and student cohorts as the 14 courses composing an IDM cohere into a more organic curriculum capable of attracting student interest while getting those students better equipped for future careers or for graduate and professional study. At this stage, no course co-taught across the two sponsoring departments will be required although it would be great if this offering could be part of the initial experimentation phase as well.
Phase Two (“Pilot” proper – three-year term). POLICY: After the initial two-year exploration just described, faculty have had time to figure out the personnel and financial implications of sustaining a new major across the two sponsoring departments and should be ready to offer a required co-taught course, either as a foundation piece (gateway) or a capstone – or in some cases maybe both. The co-taught course requirement also applies to IDMs that received initial approval in or before spring 2020.
Phase Three (“Major” created with a “will” to permanence after five years of conditional existence, two as an exploratory offering and three as a pilot IDM). POLICY: At this stage, there is no expectation that the now-permanent major will be sunset anytime soon because it has met the higher sustainability threshold for final approval by the A&S Council.
Current active departmental IDMs and their dates of inception are as follows:
Ancient Religion & Society - Classical Studies/Religious Studies (Fall, 2018)
Data Science – Computer Science and Statistics (Fall, 2018)
Data Science – Computer Science and Math (Fall, 2020)
Global Gender Studies - International Comparative Studies and Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies (Fall 2020)
Linguistics and Computer Science (Fall 2019)