May 28, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Program Director: Elizabeth M. Freeburg, Ph.D.
Program Advisor: Brittany E. Wagner, M.B.A.

Graduate School 
Slagle Hall 304 
414 East Clark Street 
Vermillion, SD 57069 
Phone: 605-658-6173 


Master of Arts  

Program Description

The Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree at the University of South Dakota is designed to allow flexibility in program design and course selection for students who have identified special interests or career goals not met by other degree programs.

One of the unique elements of the degree is that students design their own programs of study in tandem with their advisor by choosing coursework from differing academic disciplines to create a coherent theme to meet individual educational and professional goals. Students seeking admission to the program must explain in a statement of purpose how their program of study will specifically meet their personal and professional goals.


  1. Completed Graduate Application form found at: and a non-refundable application fee of $35.
  2. Official transcript(s) verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree and previous graduate credit (in English or with translation) must accompany an application. Official transcripts of all academic work at the undergraduate and graduate levels are required for international students. The USD Graduate School and/or academic units retain the right to require credential evaluations from organizations, such as Educational Credential Evaluators/World Education Services (ECE/WES), for a student if such an evaluation is deemed necessary.
  3. Baccalaureate degree must be from an institution with institutional accreditation for that degree. A minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.7 on conferred degree and/or graduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, based on a 4.0 scale, on all graduate coursework is required for full admission. Each graduate program may admit students on provisional status per University policy.
  4. Applicants with degrees from countries other than the United States: Applicants who have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institutionally accredited American college or university or from an accredited institution in the following English-speaking countries: United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Canada (Excluding Quebec), Australia, and New Zealand are not required to submit an approved English proficiency exam score. For all other applicants, For all other applicants, a minimum score of 105 on the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) or 620 Paper-Based TOEFL  (PBT) or 260 (computer test) or 11 on the  TOEFL Essentials ; a minimum IELTS Academic score of 7.0; a minimum PTE score of 70; or a minimum Duolingo score of 125 is required for admission.
  5. Applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose or goal statement.  Statement of purpose should reflect the areas the applicants want to study, which USD graduate disciplines the coursework can be taken from, and why their programs of study will specifically meet their personal and professional goals.

Additional Program Admission Requirements:

  1. Three (3) professional letters of recommendation are required.

Subject to faculty approval, those who do not meet all of the above criteria may be admitted on a provisional basis.

Application Deadline

  • Two weeks before the start of the semester
    • Fall, Spring and Summer starts

Student Learning Outcomes for Interdisciplinary Studies (M.A.)

Students will demonstrate the ability to …  
  1. Articulate and defend the significance and implications of his or her own specialized work in terms of challenges, trends, and/or developments in a social and global context. 
  2. Elucidate the major theories, research methods in 2 out of the 3 subject areas; articulates their sources; and illustrates both their applications and their relationships to allied fields. 
  3. Contribute to, expand, assess, and/or refine either a broadly recognized information resource or an information base within his or her field of study. 
  4. Disaggregate, adapt, reformulate, and employ principal ideas techniques or methods at the forefront of one’s field of study in the context of an essay or project. 
  5. Address a core issue in his/her field of study from the perspective of either a different point in time, or a different culture, language, political order, or technological context, and explains how the alternative perspective contributes to results that depart from current norms, dominant cultural assumptions, or technologies- all demonstrated through a project, paper, or performance. 
  6. Create sustained, coherent arguments or explanations and reflections on his or her work or that of collaborators (if applicable) in two or more media or languages, to both general and specialized audiences. 
  7. Assess and develops a position on a public policy question with significance in the student’s own field, taking into account both scholarship and published positions and narratives of relevant interest groups. 
  8. Employ and apply mathematical, formal logic and/or statistical tools to problems appropriate to their field in a project, paper, or evaluation performance  
  9. Create a discrete project, paper, exhibit, performance or other appropriate demonstration reflecting the integration of knowledge acquired in practicum, work, community, internship, and/or research activities with knowledge or skills gleaned from at least two academic disciplines in different segments of the curriculum (e.g., computer science and anthropology); fully documents the sources of knowledge and/or skills reflected in the integration; articulates in writing how these elements influenced the resulting product; and assesses the significance of the work in light of major debates or developments in the student’s primary field(s).