Interdepartmental Major

An interdepartmental major (IDM) is a single major designed using courses from two Trinity College departments or programs that each offer a major. This option give you significant flexibility in crafting your educational experience, allowing you to integrate the disciplines of two different fields. Please note, though, that this is not designed to allow students to complete half of two majors - an IDM should be a unified interdisciplinary program of study.

The Inner Workings of an Interdepartmental Major

  • The major must consist of a minimum of 14 courses, split evenly between the two departments (e.g. seven course credits in each).
  • At least ten of the courses must be at the 200-level or above.
  • At least four of the seven courses required by each department must be taught within the department.
  • All courses must be among those normally accepted for a major in the two departments.
  • Only two courses taught outside Duke may count toward an IDM (either institutional transfers or from non-Duke study abroad programs). There are no restrictions regarding which departments these two courses can count towards.

How Advising Works for an IDM

  • You will have an advisor in each department.  However, one of the departments must be identified as your primary department.  Your advisor in this department will be responsible for advising in your major program and will make you eligible to enroll each semester. 
  • Both directors of undergraduate studies must agree to an initial list of courses that you will take in the two departments, and both advisors and both directors must jointly approve any subsequent changes to the course of study.
  • An IDM must be planned early in your undergraduate career; an IDM will not be approved in your senior year.
  • An IDM functions as a single major and as such, can be combined with a second major; whether such a decision is appropriate or feasible should be carefully evaluated.

Getting Started

If you would like to explore the idea of an IDM, talk with your advisor and/or a Director of Academic Engagement about the merits of an IDM compared to traditional major/minor combinations or Program II.  Then identify advisors in the two departments and work with them and the directors of undergraduate studies to generate a list of courses that will satisfy department requirements and meet the educational goals of your IDM. 

How to Declare an Interdepartmental Major

To declare an IDM, you should complete the IDM application form and worksheet below and meet with the appropriate directors of undergraduate study for advice and their approval of your courses.  Both DUSs and advisors must sign the application form.  Note that a DUS may set more stringent and/or more specific requirements.  When the application form is complete and signed, you should submit the application form and worksheet to Dean Karen Murphy in 011 Allen Building for final approval and processing.  

FORM:  IDM Application       IDM-Worksheet.xlsx (click and the worksheet will download)