The Student-Designed Interdisciplinary Major (S.D.I.M.) is a rigorous program for highly motivated students who have a clear plan, the creativity, and the determination to chart their own course of study. It is designed for students who have an interest other than the ones covered by traditional majors. S.D.I.M. can be a primary major or a second major.

The Student-Designed Interdisciplinary Major (S.D.I.M.) is a rigorous program for highly motivated students who have a clear plan, the creativity, and the determination to chart their own course of study. It is designed for students who have an interest other than the ones covered by traditional majors. S.D.I.M. can be a primary major or a second major.

This is an opportunity for students to design their own major and earn a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration noted on their transcript. Highlights of the program include working closely with a faculty advisor and the interdisciplinary nature of the major. Students are encouraged to be creative in their approach to designing their own interdisciplinary major. Some of the concentrations a student might pursue include:

  • Asian Studies
  • Catholic Studies
  • Gender Studies
  • Latina/o Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Medieval Studies
  • Catholic Studies
  • Peace and War Studies
  • Theatrical Studies

Students could also expand many minors into a major through this program, including:

  • Broadcast and Society
  • Criminal Justice
  • Franciscan Service and Advocacy
  • Health Management
  • Health Studies
  • International Business
  • International Studies
  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Multicultural Studies
  • Multimedia
  • Peace Studies
  • Revolutionary Era Studies
  • Women’s Studies

Less disciplinarily focused options might include:

  • Human Consciousness Studies (Biology, Psychology and Philosophy)
  • Animal Ethics (Biology, Philosophy, Environmental Studies)
  • Power and the Human Condition (Political Science, Sociology, Philosophy, Psychology, Economics, Finance)
  • Poverty and the American Experience ( Economics, American Studies, Religious Studies, Peace Studies)

Coursework (39 credits minimum)

  • courses from at least 3 different departments
  • no more than 15 credits from any single department
  • no more than 12 credits of independent studies
  • required Research Colloquium and Capstone (6 credits)

Eligibility

Students who have completed at least 24 credits at Siena (transfers may be considered after completing one semester) with a 3.3 GPA or higher. The GPA must be maintained to continue in the program.

Mentoring Community

Once the project is accepted, each student will work with an advisor and at least two additional faculty members within a Mentoring Group. The advisor and student will work together to set up this group which is made up of appropriate faculty members from various departments that correspond to the subject to be studied. A different Mentoring Group will be established for each student. The role of the faculty is to support the student throughout the course of study and to assist the student as he or she formulates her/his thesis topic. Students should meet with this group regularly, perhaps over meals, to discuss the program of study. The goal here is to set up a communal and engaging learning experience for the student.

If a faculty member is unable – because of sabbatical, leave, retirement, or other reason – to take part within the Mentoring Group, additional members can be added in consultation with the advisor.

Other Details

All of the published guidelines in the catalog for majors apply. If students have a double major, they will not be considered to have completed a second major unless at least seven of the courses successfully completed in the fulfillment of the second major are different courses from those taken to fulfill the primary major.

A 3 credit hour Research Colloquium is preparation for the 3 credit hour Capstone experience which includes a thesis project. The thesis is written under the direction of the faculty advisor. These two courses (SDIM350 and SDIM400) are 6 of the credits required for the major. Students will offer a thesis “Defense” which will be open to the public.

It is possible that a symbiotic relationship may develop with a student in the program who is also writing an Honors thesis, or a thesis for another major. Details on any relationship will need to be worked out with the Honors Director and/or the Chair of the other department. It is possible that a student will write one thesis that will count for both the Honors program and the Interdisciplinary Studies major.

Interested?

If this sounds like the right path for you, your next steps should be to meet with Program Director or any member of the Interdisciplinary Major Committee to discuss options and explore possibilities with faculty members.

Who’s the program for?

Smart, highly motivated, independent self-starters like you.

What’s in it for you?

  • Customized classes: You design your academic program with your faculty adviser.
  • Personalized attention: Besides taking advantage of Siena’s small class sizes, you’ll work closely with your advisor and at least two other faculty mentors throughout your course of study.
  • Broad flexibility: To fulfill the requirements of your major, you’ll select courses from at least three different academic departments.

How do you get into the program?

  • As an undeclared Liberal Arts, Business or Science major, you spend your first year taking core courses required of all Siena students.
  • You maintain a 3.3 grade point average.
  • During the first semester of your sophomore year, you work up a proposal with a faculty member who will recommend you for the program and be your advisor.
  • Once the proposal is reviewed and approved, you’re off and running with a course of study you have created!

What are some possible concentrations?

  • Criminal Justice
  • Multimedia
  • Middle Eastern, Latin American or Asian Studies
  • International Business
  • Public Health
  • Forensic Science

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination and creativity!

Program taught in:
  • English

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This course is Campus based
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Sep 2019
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