Masters of Interdisciplinary Studies (M.A./M.S.)

The M.A./M.S. program allows students, in consultation with faculty, to combine the curricula of two or more programs from this university to produce a hybrid program. Students need to demonstrate how the disciplines would work together to form an interdisciplinary approach. This degree has a different application process than other degrees at the university; prospective students must schedule an appointment with the Director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs or the program coordinator before beginning the application process. Please contact the Graduate School at 406.243.2572 or to schedule this appointment. This is not an online degree.

Program Information

Prospective students must choose from the following options:

30 credit Thesis option

Students must complete 30 credits of G- and UG- coursework; students must do the graduate increment of the UG- classes. Students will complete thesis proposal (format to be determined by the student’s graduate committee) approximately one year after beginning the program. Students must satisfactorily complete an oral defense of the thesis.

36 credit non-Thesis option

Students must complete 36 credits of G- and UG- coursework; students must do the graduate increment of the UG- classes. Students must satisfactorily complete:

  1. Comprehensive exam, format to be determined by the student’s graduate committee; AND

  2. One of three options:

    1. Professional paper – a publishable quality paper, which shall consists of an article-length, monographic study, based substantially on primary sources.

    2. Three short critical papers or products that show creative work – merit to be judged by your graduate committee.

    3. A paper submitted to a nationally recognized journal
  1. Deadline: the M.A./M.S. deadline is three weeks prior to the beginning of the semester the prospective student is applying to. Applications received after this date will be considered on a space-available basis.

  2. How to apply: Instructions for applying to the Graduate School are in the Applying for Admission section on this website. An overview of the application process for the M.A./M.S. is found in the Programs section on this website.
    • Specific instructions for M.A./M.S. application are in section 3 on this page.
  3. Expectations for admission:

    1. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

    2. The TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB are required of international applicants, information is found here.

    3. The student must develop a plan of study in consultation with their prospective graduate committee. Details of such a plan of study are found in section 5.

Prospective students are required to seek out and identify a prospective graduate committee of at least three university faculty who are willing to serve in the M.A./M.S. committee, after consulting with the Director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs. Eligibility for membership can be found at the Qualifications of Graduate Committee Members on this website. Instructions for establishing a graduate committee are in section 4 below. A full description of application requirements are in the Programs section on this website and in the instruction page of the M.I.S. Program Form. This form will be uploaded as the Writing Sample when completing the online application.

  1. After the initial consultation with the Director of Interdisciplinary Programs, seek out and identify at least three university faculty who are willing to work with you to develop a hybrid program. Each discipline in the proposed interdisciplinary program will be represented in the committee.

  2. It is highly recommended that the prospective student spend at least a term of enrollment at the University of Montana either as a non-degree graduate student or as a student admitted to an existing graduate degree program. Experience has shown that it is nearly impossible for a student to find members of a committee and negotiate a program of study from a distance.
    1. The graduate non-degree status allows students to get to know professors and the departments of the disciplines he or she wishes to combine for the M.A./M.S. degree, thus building their academic network.

    2. Financially, if students would be paying out-of-state tuition, and wish for in-state tuition, they can start the Montana Residency process. Please go to New Students for information on Montana residency. Note that registering for more than 6 credits per semester (including summer school) creates a strong presumption the student is here for educational purposes and will likely disqualify them from achieving in-state status.

    3. The graduate non-degree status allows students to receive graduate credit for course work. Up to nine non-degree credits may be applied toward a subsequent degree program upon approval by the student’s graduate committee's Chair. You can find more information about this at Apply
      • Please note that applicants admitted as graduate non-degree students are NOT ELIGIBLE for financial aid. Graduate non-degree students are assessed the graduate level tuition and fees at the master's level rate for all credits taken.
  3. In consultation with the full committee, the applicant will articulate a clear set of goals for the program and a curriculum plan, listing each course the student will take in the degree and a timeline for degree completion. This hybrid program plan should strike a balance of work among the various disciplines represented.
    • Half of the credits (excluding up to 10 semester credits for thesis or research courses) must be at the 500 or 600 level.
  1. At least one meeting between the applicant and all prospective graduate committee members should happen before the application deadline.

  2. A complete application packet will include (1) the M.A./M.S. Program form,  (2) a resume, (3) a letter of intent, (4) the official standardized test scores, (5) the official transcripts, and (6) three recommendation letters from prospective committee members.

    1. All required information for applying to the M.A./M.S. constitutes the applicant’s admission file and must be made available to all prospective graduate committee members before submission, with the exception of the recommendation letters. The prospective graduate committee will meet and discuss the student’s application materials before writing their recommendation letters. Prospective members will receive a request for letters of recommendation after the applicant completes the online application. Recommendation letters will be submitted electronically, prospective committee members' letters should include their willingness to work in the interdisciplinary degree and why they recommend the student for a M.A./M.S.

    2. Each prospective graduate committee member will share the M.A./M.S. Program form and letter of intent with their department chair. Department chairs are asked to send a memo to verifying that they are aware of their faculty's involvement in the M.A./M.S.

  3. Plan of Study: Prospective student and prospective graduate committee will develop an integrative coursework comprised of classes from the identified disciplines; a balance of work among those disciplines should be represented in the plan of study. A timeline showing the logical progression of the degree must be evident. Please use the M.A./M.S. Program form to create your plan of study. The letter of intent should address how the student is combining the disciplines and their goal(s) for the degree.

  4. The prospective committee members will become the de facto department for the student's M.A./M.S. degree. The Director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs is the department chair. Once admitted, the student and his or her committee should meet regularly; any changes to the plan of study should be communicated to the Director via a memo from the committee’s chair/co-chairs upon agreement from the whole committee.                                                                       

Financial Assistance

Students in the interdisciplinary programs may apply for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship from the Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs at the Graduate School. Preference will be given to Master's of Interdisciplinary Studies students who have teaching as one of their goals. Program personnel will have more information on availability.

For additional information about financial assistance, see the Financial Information section on this web site.

Program Limitations

  • More recognizable traditional degree programs may provide the opportunity to bridge over into other disciplines through electives.
  • There may be interdisciplinary areas where the expertise and resource support is not available at the university.

Campus Location

Graduate School - Lommasson Center Room 224


Please send inquiries and questions to 
or call (406) 243-2572.