Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

From the director:

At Southern Miss, students have the exciting option of designing an academic path that allows them to incorporate their interests and talents: the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS). In the BIS, students take charge of their own learning.  They develop two concentrations from the many majors, minors, and programs offered across campus.  These concentrations may be specific disciplines or they may incorporate an organizing principle like gender studies or non-profit studies.  These programs could also be organized by time period or geographic region, such as Southern Studies or Early American Studies.  

Once the students have established their concentration areas, they are charged with developing a research project that incorporates aspects of these concentrations.  Over a three-course research design process, the students design, implement, and present their research, while also honing writing and speaking skills.  The faculty members in this program are committed to engaged learning opportunities, so whenever possible, students’ projects involve actually going out into the community and volunteering their talents to see how their learning can be applied to real-life settings.

Student research projects range from documenting gang activity in the region to designing a charity fishing tournament.  Students have made films, and coached baseball.  They have surveyed teachers and served people in need.  Students have developed activities for children and adults, including a blues camp, children’s museum programs, and a professional presence seminar.

The opportunities for learning and serving are endless and every project is designed to help the student reflect on his or her own abilities and how those could best be utilized in the world of work.  Come join this exciting program! Imagine your future and make it happen!



The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) undergraduate program allows students to create interdisciplinary specialties in preparation for careers in a world where complex issues demand multi-faceted knowledge and skills. With the help of an Interdisciplinary Studies faculty advisor, students will select courses from two or more disciplines and focus their program on the basis of a unifying issue, theme, or topic as an area of concentration. Students will work closely with faculty from each selected discipline to design a program meeting their diverse educational and career goals.


Acceptance into the BIS program is determined by the following criteria:


    • The student’s selection of a concentration area that does not reflect any existing major, linking clusters of courses and faculty where no structure or formal program exists;
    • The student’s selection of a concentration area that integrates knowledge and skills from at least two fields and disciplines resulting in an individualized program that is historical, regional, thematic, or problem-based;
    • The student’s selection of a concentration that is supported and approved by an BIS faculty advisor and associated program faculty. BIS students are required to cultivate relationships with assigned or designated faculty, taking initial responsibility in developing their individualized programs.


Interdisciplinary Studies students will develop individualized, coherent, intellectually challenging, cross-disciplinary academic plans, utilizing courses selected from departments at The University of Southern Mississippi.


Course Information: 

38 hours General Education Curriculum

9 hours Interdisciplinary Studies core

IDS 301 Foundations of Interdisciplinary Studies (3 hours)
Students learn from a scholar-team how various disciplines can compliment one another to reach beyond the limitations of a single discipline. Students work on a seminar topic from a variety of perspectives to apply the tools and resources they have discovered and their concentrations

IDS 401 Applied Interdisciplinary Studies (3 hours)
Students research and design their own project integrating their disciplinary and interdisciplinary training to advance knowledge in their areas of interest.

IDS 402 Capstone Experience in Interdisciplinary Studies (3 hours)
Students share their research experiences and learn how their skills can be applied beyond the university setting.


Interdisciplinary Concentrations (36 hours)
Two (2) concentrations at 18 hours each (or more as required) chosen from approved minors, certificates or programs and from at least two different disciplines across campus or one double concentration (36 hours) by time period, region, or theme:


Existing Concentrations

American Studies
Religious Studies
International Studies
International Studies-Comparative Americas

Human Rights and Civil Liberties
Non-Profit Studies
Black Studies
Women’s Studies

Other Possibilities

Medieval Studies
Asian Studies
Sustainability/Environmental Studies

Katrina Studies
Latin American Studies


Electives/Third area (for a total 120 hours)

Students following a double concentration are required to study a disciplinary-based minor with their electives. All other students should consider more courses in their chosen concentrations or an additional minor in a related discipline.