Skip to main content

BS in Interdepartmental Engineering

Exploring the Interdepartmental Engineering (IDE) Major

Investigate Your Options

Start by investigating existing majors and gathering information from other students and faculty. Each BS IDE curriculum should be designed in consultation with at least one Hajim School faculty advisor and academic advisor. Serious applicants should schedule an appointment with Associate Dean Jim Zavislan to solicit feedback.

Select Your Courses

Draw up a list of tentative courses with the help of your advisors. BS IDE programs must meet minimum requirements:

  • Three mathematics courses (including differential equations)
  • Four physics or chemistry courses, with at least one in each
  • One to three natural science courses
  • One four-credit, single-department computational analysis course related to the student’s field of interest
  • Eight Hajim School courses from at least two or more departments
  • Three sequences of technical or scientific courses, including the Hajim School courses if desired.
  • At least one course that is intended as a “capstone/senior project or thesis” course 
  • Two upper level writing courses
  • Two clusters, one in the humanities and the other in the social sciences

Solidify Your Educational Objectives

Your proposal needs to include a carefully crafted essay that describes your interdepartmental engineering (IDE) major, and characterizes your motivation for pursuing it. To justify it intellectually, you must discuss your ultimate educational and career goals and then describe how your IDE major relates to them by showing how the courses comprising its curriculum make sense. You should also explain why this plan of study cannot be pursued with an existing Hajim School major. A short, descriptive title for your IDE major should be selected as it will be printed on your transcript.

Pull it all Together

Students considering the BS IDE major should be thinking of a topic for their capstone thesis or design project from the moment they begin to explore the program. This is particularly important for those doing design projects, since their completion may depend on factors outside of one’s control.

The thesis and capstone project serve the same purpose of showcasing a student’s knowledge on a particular topic and demonstrating what a student has learned though his or her coursework. The written thesis is completed as part of an independent study or research project that is overseen by a faculty member. The capstone project is usually an open-ended, hands-on design project that is overseen by a faculty member and sometimes completed as part of a senior design team.

Secure a Faculty Advisor

A letter of support from the student’s primary faculty advisor appraising the academic value and viability of the proposed IDE major, as well as the student’s ability to successfully complete it must be secured.