Individual Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program

The Individual Interdisciplinary Program (IIP) Ph.D. offers students the unique opportunity to incorporate multiple disciplines into their area of research and study. The program, which leads to a doctorate in philosophy, is designed to serve students who wish to pursue an advanced degree but whose research interests are broader than a single discipline. Students pursuing this degree are highly motivated and enjoy addressing problem-oriented challenges rather than discipline or technique-oriented. The IIP PhD allows students to work with faculty on a research project tailored to their unique academic, creative, and professional needs Once admitted, the student’s graduate committee will evaluate the student’s satisfactory progress toward the degree following the policies, procedures, and timeline for the Ph.D. degree set by The Graduate School.  

To acknowledge the variety of backgrounds IIP students have, applications are considered from students with either a bachelor's, bachelor's and some graduate credits, or those with a master's degree. Applicants interested in the IIP program will prepare a full proposal which they include as their Statement of Purpose in their application to the program. Students must identify who will be their graduate chair and two other committee members before they apply. The student should ask these MSU faculty to write recommendation letters that are part of the online application in their recommendation letters, these MSU faculty members recommend to the Graduate School that the student be admitted to the IIP program. The Graduate School will consult with the Department of the chair of the student's committee before making an admission decision.  

Program Requirements 

All basic rules and requirements pertaining to the Doctor of Philosophy degree apply to the IIP, including: 

1. Minimum of 60cr cumulative credits to the Ph.D. degree. Graded course work follows graduate school policy. 

2. No more than 9 credits toward this degree can be 4xx level courses. 

3. Between 18 and 30 dissertation credits.  

4. A comprehensive examination, the nature of which will be determined by the students’ committee and taken after completion of course work.  

5. A dissertation, written by the candidate seeking the degree and based on original research, is a requirement for all doctoral degree programs. The final dissertation must be presented in an acceptable form. See Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD). 

6. All doctoral candidates must defend their dissertation. The defense usually consists of a public presentation and an oral examination of the candidate’s research.  

7. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or greater. 

The time limits for courses and comprehensive exams all follow graduate school policy 

For additional information about the items listed above and additional policies, please refer to the graduate school policy page: