Graduate Interdisciplinary Degree Program

In the research lab of geology professor Howard Lasker in Hochstetter Hall, photogrpahed in August 2019. Lasker is the chair of the new Department of Environment and Sustainability in the College of Arts and Sciences. Photographer: Douglas Levere.

Program Overview and Advising

New, current and prospective students should contact the IDP Graduate Program Coordinator with any questions regarding application process, enrollment, choosing an advisor, and student services:

Jennifer Mdurvwa
Director of Graduate Enrollment
Graduate Interdisciplinary Program Coordinator

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Degree Options

Things to Consider

There are a few things to consider when pursuing our Graduate Interdisciplinary program:

What type of degree do you want to pursue?

What department will serve as your home or primary department?
Your home department is where at least half of your coursework will be taken. It is recommended that it also be the department your Faculty Advisor teaches in

What department will serve as your secondary department?
Your secondary department is where you will take the majority of your remaining credits. This second discipline should intersect with your primary department, as well as with your research interests/career goals. 

What other courses can I take?
With approval from your faculty advisor, up to 6 credit hours can be taken in an area outside of your primary and secondary department. Courses can be taken in another CAS department, or a different graduate/professional school.  

How do I select my courses?
IDP is a very self-directed program intended for students who work well independently. Student in the program should work with their faculty advisor to develop a course of study. Applicants are encouraged to review the class schedule and connect with their anticipated departments to ensure that the courses will be available during their planned course of study. If you have not yet selected a faculty advisor, you should work with the Director of Graduate Study in your primary department. 

Who will serve as my Faculty Advisor?
Students are encouraged to explore the websites of their anticipated home and secondary departments to identify possible faculty advisors. You and your faculty advisor will develop your course of study, discuss common research interests and work towards your final project. It is your responsibility to identify possible faculty advisors, however, the IDP Coordinator and Director of Graduate Studies can also you with this process. 

Once you identify possible advisors, reach out to those faculty; send them an email and ask to meet or speak over the phone, get a feel for their research and see if they would be interested in taking on an IDP student. One advisor is required, but students can work with more than one faculty member. 

Faculty advisors must be approved by the university to advise graduate students. Please visit the Graduate Faculty Membership Roster to verify. If your chosen advisor does not appear here, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies. A faculty advisor should be identified by the end of your first semester in the program. 

How do I complete my Final Project?
Students will complete 3 (Social Sciences/Natural Sciences) or 6 (Humanities) credit hours of project supervision or thesis guidance in their final semester of the program. The final project can be a written thesis/research paper, research project with written report, portfolio, exhibition, or recital. Work with your faculty advisor to determine the appropriate format for your final project.

The final project offers students the opportunity to articulate how their primary discipline was enriched by multiple perspectives. The project must be completed under the supervision of the student’s faculty advisor with expertise in the area of the student’s focus. Students should be able to demonstrate how interdisciplinary study lent itself to their research and/or career goals.  

Once the final project is completed, the faculty advisor should contact the IDP Graduate Coordinator to verify that the project was completed satisfactorily. 


Questions? Contact Us

For more information on how to create a Master’s degree that addresses your unique needs, complete the online inquiry form and a member of our team will respond. 

Graduate Interdisciplinary Degree Program
University at Buffalo
810 Clemens Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260

Phone: (716) 645-2711
Fax: (716) 645-6991

Graduate Enrollment team: