What is the IDS Major?

Regina Ramicone
Staff Writer

PompeiiQ&A with Dr. McDougal

 The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) at USC Upstate offers the bachelor of arts and the bachelor of science degrees in interdisciplinary studies.


What is interdisciplinary studies?

In interdisciplinary studies, students work with an advisor to design their own degree program by choosing courses from two or more disciplines or fields of study.  For example, a student who is interested in both psychology and communications can design a degree program with courses from both of those disciplines rather than having to choose one discipline or the other.

What courses would I take?

Course work from any academic discipline can be applied to an IDS degree.  The IDS Center faculty and staff work with each student to design a degree program to meet that individual’s academic and career goals.

What can I do with an IDS degree?

Students can do almost anything they want to do with an IDS degree.  IDS graduates enter graduate programs in fields such as psychology, history, law, and medicine.  IDS graduates pursue careers in manufacturing, law enforcement, public health, nonprofit administration, and the arts.  Employers want to hire individuals who are broadly educated, and an IDS degree is one way to achieve a broad education.

Drew White, currently a senior IDS major, said this about the IDS program.

I nearly missed my opportunity.  It wasn’t until I attended a transfer student orientation session that I had ever heard of Interdisciplinary Studies.  When Dr. McDougal gave a pitch on the program, I knew it would fit my educational goals perfectly.  I wanted my focus to be on Biology, but I wasn’t quite interested in the typical path of a Biology major.  I was raised by an environmentally-conscious family and always look for an opportunity to reduce my impact on the planet.  After taking introductory Biology courses at Greenville Tech, I realized how passionate I was on the subject and decided to make it my goal to have a career in Ecology.  Interdisciplinary Studies has provided me with the opportunity to gain knowledge from several areas that are relevant to environmentalism.  My custom program includes a Biology minor along side concentrations in Business and Political Science.  I hope to apply the skills I acquire from these disciplines to a career with the government or a private environmental firm or perhaps to start my own business.  As a young person competing with an ever-growing population of college graduates, it is advantageous to have a diverse education and experiences in a number of fields.

Will an IDS degree take longer than other degree programs?

Generally, no.  An IDS degree requires a total of 120 hours, the same hour requirement for most of the degree programs at USC Upstate.  Students who change majors into IDS after earning a lot of hours in another major may need a few more than 120 hours for the IDS degree.

Who can I talk to about IDS?

Dr. Yancy McDougal (ymcdougal@uscupstate.edu) or Ms. Rose Mary Ritchie (rritchie@uscupstate.edu); 503-5703; 110 College of Arts and Sciences Building.