Independent Interdisciplinary Majors

Sterling strives to develop leaders

The majors offered at Sterling College have been designed with the breadth and depth needed to meet the undergraduate professional and career needs of most students. Nevertheless, the faculty recognize that in special cases these majors may not fit the unique needs of some students and so offer the possibility of the Independent Interdisciplinary Major. Proposed majors in this program must be academically rigorous and interdisciplinary in approach, meet personal and professional goals, and result in the bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, proposed majors must have faculty approval and meet the specific guidelines listed below.

Guidelines

  1. If there is already a major which includes 60% of the proposed courses, the student must take the pre-existing major.
  2. The major must be truly interdisciplinary, demonstrating in its structure that cross-disciplinary connections have been made and that it includes at least two focal disciplines.
  3. The major must be planned with the support of a faculty adviser who teaches in one of its significant content areas and who agrees to supervise the student’s Senior Seminar research paper/project.
  4. The appropriate form must be completed indicating the department responsible for creative product, service project, and ethics instruction.
  5. The number of credits required in the major should be in the range of 40-50.
  6. The plan for the major, its descriptive title, and the degree designation must be approved by the Academic Policy Committee of the faculty by the end of the first semester of the student’s junior year.
  7. The student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  8. 70% or more of the courses in the major must be numbered 200 or above and sequenced wherever possible.
  9. The major must meet the following “Objectives of a Major” by demonstrating that it provides:

A. Knowledge of the disciplines’ contents and methods, including their:

  1. Historical and philosophical background
  2. Range of subject matter
  3. Central principles
  4. Generally accepted unifying perspectives (theories, laws, methods, systems, and models)

Implementation of #9A

Take a concentration of courses in one of the focal disciplines to develop a unifying perspective; take a balance of introductory and advanced courses in each focal discipline of the major in addition to the Senior Seminar; take a philosophy or research methods course related to the focal discipline(s).

B. Continuing development of skills related to the discipline’s content

  1. Acquire information for producing creative projects
  2. Analyze, synthesize, and evaluate primary source material
  3. Write and speak critically and creatively
  4. Prepare for advanced study and/or a career

Implementation of #9B

The proposal should identify the specific courses where each of these objectives will be met.

C. Values relating the discipline to worldview perspectives.

  1. Relate discipline-specific knowledge to other areas of inquiry.
  2. Apply ethical guidelines to discipline-specific activity
  3. Relate discipline-specific content to Christian faith
  4. Use discipline-related information in providing service to one’s community.

Implementation of #9C

  1. Complete a research paper/project as a product of the Senior Seminar which demonstrates integration and synthesis of material from at least two disciplines.
  2. Complete an extended paper/project which demonstrates the application of ethical guidelines and the integration of faith in relationship to the focal disciplines of the interdisciplinary major. This paper may be a part of the Senior Seminar requirement but must be guided and read/graded by at least two faculty members who teach in different focal disciplines related to the major.
  3. Complete an adviser-approved service project that demonstrates fulfillment of objective #C4 above.