About Interdisciplinary Studies

What is "Interdisciplinary"?

Interdisciplinarity fundamentally means you are working across discipline silos. You need to explain why your research cannot be fulfilled by working in just one discipline program at UNBC. Write sentences like "This project is inherently interdisciplinary because..." or "The two disciplines I am drawing upon include...". Sentences like these might help you and your supervisor start explaining the interdisciplinary nature of your research proposal.

Program Applications

Follow the graduate application process on the Graduate Admissions website.

You can also be in touch with the IDIS Program Chair on how to get into the IDIS program.

There are January, May and September start dates. We let applicants know if they are successful well in advance of the start date. On the discretion of the IDIS Program Chair late applicants will be considered.

Application Acceptance

We know some applicants may be working with agencies through the application process for the IDIS program. IDIS, however, can ONLY inform the student - and not the student's agent or representative - about their acceptance. If you are working with an agency, you, as the applicant need to be directly in touch with the university.

Degree Timeline

Ideally, an IDIS degree can be finished in 24 months. There is a mandatory minimum of six semesters of paid tuition.

Program Supervision

Anyone at UNBC who is a full-time faculty member has the potential to supervise an IDIS student. Ideally your potential supervisor is someone whose research work you admire and who undertakes research that fits with what you want to study.

Remember you need to be in touch with this person as part of the application process.

Finding a supervisor can be tough. University professors are very busy people and sometimes they do not respond to emails. Your best bet is to search the UNBC website for faculty who capture your interest. You can also phone the potential supervisor. We recommend trying 3 or 4 times to be in touch with a potential supervisor. We also recommend being in touch with more than one potential supervisor.

If you are writing an email to a potential supervisor, remember to make the subject heading line clear. Something such as "IDIS graduate supervision requested" is a good place to start. You should also be clear in your email about the research question you are interested in. Tell your potential supervisor why you are approaching them and why you want to work with them. Be patient!

Don't hesitate to email more than one potential supervisor and, really, consider phoning them at their office number. If they don't answer, leave a message!

Approaching a sessional instructor is a great idea. A sessional instructor can be a supervisor but only in partnership with a regular faculty member (Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor). What this means is you will have two co-supervisors for your project. If you are approaching a sessional to be your supervisor, work with them to secure a co-supervisor. Remember both signatures must be on the application form.

Research Proposals

Your proposal will be an one page synopsis of what you want to study. It is your proposed research project. You need to write a research question that you hope to answer. You need to explain how you would like to answer that question and you need to explain how the project is interdisciplinary in nature and why your supervisor is a good fit.

Your proposed research project is a research statement explaining why and how you want to work on the project you are proposing.

Work with a supervisor to hone your research proposal. Explain how your research proposal is interdisciplinary in nature.

Remember the people reviewing your application want to understand why your research could not take place in a single discipline. You must clearly identify why your research by working across disciplines.

Scholarships and Awards

Every student is eligible for entrance scholarships. We encourage you to apply for these. IDIS students are also eligible for various Awards and Scholarships through the Office of Research and Graduate Programs. Be sure to research what these are. Once accepted into the program, work with your supervisor to apply for external funding. Be creative!

Career Opportunities

Although IDIS doesn't have specific Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant positions, you are eligible to apply across the university. To apply for these positions, work with your supervisor.

Choosing Courses

First and foremost, we encourage you to work with your supervisor to decide what courses to take. You must take a total of 5 courses (15 credits), one of which is the mandatory IDIS 704 (3 credits). The remaining 4 courses must be interdisciplinary in nature (you cannot, for instance, take 4 English or 4 Anthropology courses). You will also need to complete a thesis (12 credits). You cannot take undergraduate courses; however, you can ask an instructor teaching upper level courses if they will offer the course to you as a graduate level course. If they say 'yes', you will get credits as a graduate course. Again, you need to work with a course instructor to secure this option! Sometimes finding courses as a graduate student at UNBC can be challenging. We encourage you to get a head start and approach professors about taking their courses as soon as you know you've been accepted into the program.