The interdepartmental studies major at Iowa allows students to create a course of study that complements their educational and career goals. Students can design an individualized plan of study or choose a preapproved plan in applied human services, business studies, or health science. Each track includes course work from a variety of departments. 

Students have chosen individualized study plans in areas as varied as international business, diversity studies, children's studies, and environmental issues.

Why Iowa?

The Interdepartmental Studies Program provides an alternative to traditional undergraduate majors.

Because Iowa offers faculty expertise and resources in more than 200 areas of study, students can design a course of study that complements a wide variety of interests. Advisors in the Interdepartmental Studies Program help connect students to those resources.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Interdepartmental Studies
Individualized Plan of Study
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
For students in the Individualized Plan of Study Track
  Selective Admission
For students in the Individualized Plan of Study Track
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our  Pomerantz Career Center  offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

Students who create individualized plans of study at Iowa stand out when they apply for jobs because their major emphasizes a unique set of strengths and interests. Employers often are impressed by their enthusiasm and self-directed nature.

Many interdepartmental studies majors pursue graduate or professional degrees. 

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500  student organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100  study abroad  programs and multiple  undergraduate research opportunities


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the  Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.


The Individualized Plan of Study track allows you to create a major not already offered at Iowa. It can be designed around your goals and should integrate courses from departments across the university. This track typically attracts students who are self-motivated and goal-oriented.

You will need to submit a plan of study to the interdepartmental studies faculty advisory committee before you declare the major in this track. It is possible to pursue this degree through the four-year graduation plan.

The interdepartmental studies coordinator will be your academic adviser and should be contacted as soon as possible. All course work for the individualized plan must be taken at the university.

Your plan of study should include:

  • An essay clearly explaining the area of intellectual focus
  • The reasons for preferring interdepartmental studies to other departmental programs
  • A discussion of how advanced courses relate to each other, to personal interests, and to the central focus of the plan of study
  • A description of academic goals for the bachelor’s degree
  • A transcript of college course work completed to date and advanced-level course work planned for all remaining semesters

In addition to course work for the major, students must complete the requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core

See Interdepartmental Studies in the UI General Catalog to learn about requirements for each track and graduating with honors.