Nonthesis This is a Track

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College : Graduate Studies Degree :MS
Department : Interdisciplinary Studies Option : Nonthesis
Program Websites :


The Thesis Track in the Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies program allows students the flexibility to develop an individually tailored plan of study using courses traditionally associated with MS degrees. This track can combine a variety of concentrations and culminates in a research thesis, which provides excellent preparation for a future doctoral degree or a research-oriented career.


The Nonthesis Track in the Interdisciplinary Studies MS program requires 33 credit hours, including 9 credit hours of required courses, 24 credit hours of restricted electives, and a written comprehensive examination or a project.
Total Credit Hours Required:
33 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

The Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies program is designed for students interested in an interdisciplinary experience who develop concentrations for their plan of study using courses traditionally associated with MS degrees.

Course work must be selected so that at least 50 percent of credit hours in the program are taken at the 6000 level. Students must earn course grades of "B" or higher to gain credit toward the master's degree.

Required Courses—9 Credit Hours

  • IDS 6308 Ways of Knowing (3 credit hours)
  • IDS 6351 Critical Thinking and Writing (3 credit hours)
  • A methods course in one of the chosen concentrations (3 credit hours)

Restricted Elective Courses—24 Credit Hours

Students take a minimum of 24 credit hours in restricted electives, including two concentrations of 9 credit hours each and 6 credit hours for the capstone experience. Course and concentration selections are done in consultation with and with approval of the program director or academic coordinator.

Restricted Elective Courses—18 Credit Hours

  • Three courses in the first concentration (9 credit hours)
  • Three courses in the second concentration (9 credit hours)

Unrestricted Electives—6 Credit Hours

  • Two additional elective courses  (6 credit hours)


Students choose to complete either a written comprehensive examination or a project as their capstone experience. The written examination will entail the selection of an exam committee of three faculty that will formulate questions to address both concentration areas. The student will have 48 hours to complete the take home exam and it should be completed in their final semester of enrollment. The exam will be graded on a pass/fail basis.

The capstone project should also reflect a combination of the two concentrations in the degree by finding an applied policy area, special topic, or issue that crosses both areas. Some examples of project types include: writing a grant proposal for an agency, program evaluation and recommendations, or a "best practices" literature review in a particular area. Students must choose two advisers for the project—one from each concentration area. The project will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis.

Independent Learning

The program is designed to provide numerous independent learning opportunities. The required methods course introduces students to research methodology that they will apply to independent research/capstone work. IDS 6308 acquaints students with interdisciplinarity through the use of student-driven analyses, discussions and presentations. IDS 6351 engages students in verbal and written discussions, analyses and critiques of work they create and from the published literature.

Additionally, the completion of either the exam or project will require independent learning that will be evaluated by the faculty in the specified disciplines.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Personal statement addressing the following three items: (a.) Description of the two intended concentrations, (b.) What problems or issues are addressed by combining these concentrations, and (c.) What contribution(s) can the interdisciplinary combination make to society, a field of study, etc.
  • Résumé.
  • Three letters of recommendation (prefer academic references).
  • Proposed program of study identifying the two concentrations and potential courses the student would take if admitted.
  • Applicants applying to this program who have attended a college/university outside the United States must provide a course-by-course credential evaluation with GPA calculation. Credential evaluations are accepted from World Education Services (WES) orJosef Silny and Associates, Inc. only.

Applicants should note the minimal requirements for admission to the program, although meeting minimum UCF admission criteria does not guarantee program admission. Final admission is based on evaluation of the applicant's abilities, past performance, recommendations, match of this program and faculty expertise to the applicant's career/academic goals, and the applicant's potential for completing the degree.

Application Deadlines

Nonthesis *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15Jul 15Dec 1


International Applicants Jan 15Jan 15Jul 1


International Transfer Applicants Jan 15Mar 1Sep 1


*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.