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CU Honors College

Interdisciplinary Honors

Interdisciplinary Honors is an alternative to the Departmental Honors distinction and is specifically for students who wish to combine at least two academic disciplines into one cohesive project or learning experience.

While requirements will vary by discipline, students interested in pursuing Interdisciplinary Honors will work with the Honors College and a faculty member in one of the academic departments, who will serve as their Interdisciplinary Honors faculty advisor.

Students have the option to pursue Interdisciplinary Honors through two options, one more focused on course work and the other culminating in a thesis or major project.

Students interested in pursuing Interdisciplinary Honors should first meet with Sarah Winslow, Senior Associate Director of Clemson Honors, during their second semester of their sophomore year to discuss their interest areas and project idea.

  • Options and Requirements

    Students pursuing Interdisciplinary Honors can choose between two options, each totaling 14 credit hours: a Three-Course Option, or a Thesis/Project Option. The main differences between the two options are the balance of coursework and of research hours in the final product.

    • Three-Course Option: Three upper-level courses of at least three credit hours each across at least two disciplines, each in conjunction with HON 4010 (1) for a total of 12 credit hours, plus two hours of HON 4990.
    • Thesis/Project Option: Two upper-level courses of at least three credit hours each across two disciplines, each in conjunction with HON 4010 (1), plus at least 6 hours of HON 4990.

    The faculty advisor will be listed as the instructor for the one credit hour HON 4010 companion course for the upper level courses the student will be completing. In addition, the same faculty member will be the instructor for HON 4990.

    HON 4010 offers the student the opportunity to think, read, and write about how the course integrates with their proposed interdisciplinary topic.

    Students completing the thesis or major project option will take at least 6 hours of HON 4990 and prepare a substantial product (e.g., a thesis, exhibition, performance). Students taking the three course option will take two hours of HON 4990 as a capstone course to explore connections between their courses, culminating in a reflective essay pulling together their interdisciplinary experience.

    Any substitutions or modifications to the requirements must be approved by the Interdisciplinary Honors Steering Committee.

  • Proposed Timeline

    Second Semester Sophomore Year

    1. Students interested in pursuing Interdisciplinary Honors should first meet with Katie Maxwell, Director of Advising, to discuss their ideas and how to combine two disciplines of interest into a project. Make an appointment with Dr. Maxwell.
    2. Students should find a faculty member with whom they want to work for the entirety of their project. Once they have identified this person, they should set up a meeting to discuss their ideas for their project/research and course options and begin writing their Interdisciplinary Course Proposal Form. This form is due four semesters before the student graduates (which, for most students, is the second semester of their sophomore year). The proposal form will outline the courses the student plans to take as well as a summary of the student’s interest area and overall plan.
    3. After meeting with their faculty member, the student should be able to decide which option they will be pursuing, the Three-Course Option or the Project/Research Option. The student’s Course Proposal Form should reflect this decision and articulate what courses they will be registering for in the upcoming semesters.
    4. Submit Interdisciplinary Course Proposal Form to Katie Maxwell to be reviewed by the Interdisciplinary Honors Steering Committee.
    5. Upon approval of the Interdisciplinary Course Proposal Form, register for the first course in addition to the HON 4010 companion course, facilitated by your faculty advisor, for Fall semester. All courses must be approved by the Interdisciplinary Honors Steering Committee prior to enrolling in the courses.

    Junior Year

    1. Revise Interdisciplinary Course Proposal Form & submit by the last day of classes of Spring semester.
    2. Continue following course plan.

    First semester Senior Year

    1. For students pursuing the Thesis/Project Option: Coordinate/create your final product. Enroll in HON 4990.
    2. For students pursuing the Three-Course Option: Take third course and HON 4010 companion course.

    Second semester Senior Year

    1. For students pursuing the Thesis/Project Option: Finish coordinating/creating final product. Enroll in HON 4990.
    2. For students pursuing the Three-Course Option: Take two hours of HON 4990 as a capstone course and submit your reflective essay.
  • Required Forms

    Interdisciplinary Course Proposal Form

    • Due with at least four semesters (fall and spring) remaining in a student's academic curriculum.
    • Eligible students must have 4 semesters (excluding summer) left within their undergraduate curriculum.
    • Student, Faculty advisor and Honors Staff must sign and approve documentation prior to the start of coursework.
    • The proposal will include the proposed interdisciplinary course curriculum and summary of focus.
    • If pursuing the Thesis/Project Option, this form should include the following:
      • Summary of Focus
      • A Thesis/Project Plan of Study outlining the courses you plan to take during each semester
      • Information for faculty advisor(s)
      • Ideas for a final product (thesis, gallery show, etc.)
    • If pursuing the Three-Course Option, this form should include the following:
      • Summary of focus
      • Plan of study, outlining the courses you plan to take during each semester
      • Information for faculty advisor(s)
      • Ideas on how to integrate or relate your courses to their overall focus

    Interdisciplinary Revision Form

    • Due no later than the last day of classes concluding Junior Year and as necessary afterwards.
    • Students will revise their original proposal and include updates to curriculum or project focus.

    Interdisciplinary Course Completion Form

    • Due no later than the final day of classes of a student's final semester at Clemson.
    • Faculty will submit a completion form awarding the student with Interdisciplinary Honors if the student made an A or B in all courses in the proposal.
  • Students' Examples

    Geneva Hutchinson ’19

    Major/Academic Disciplines: Visual Arts and Communications

    Project Focus: Using various art forms to make a tangible, physical connection between people and their interpersonal and mental feelings, specifically as it relates to women, the #MeToo movement, and other feminist topics.

    Final Product: Curated group show

    Addie Stone ’20

    Major/Academic Disciplines: Spanish and Agriculture

    Project Focus: To explore the intersection of Spanish and agriculture as it pertains to either migrant workers and their families or urban Hispanic youths’ involvement with agriculture.

    Project Excerpt: "My goal in life is to start a think tank dedicated to connecting urban citizens with agriculture. I think that if more people from non-traditional and varied backgrounds become involved in agriculture, it will lead to quicker innovation and more educated consumers. By focusing on Spanish and agriculture, I can explore how to get a very prominent group of people interested or advanced in the industry."

    Final Product: Thesis or outreach project

    Kylie Ippolito ’22

    Majors/Academic Disciplines: Chemistry and Food Science

    Project Focus: Sugar Determination and Flavor Analysis

    Project Excerpt: "My project would look into the amounts and types of different sweeteners, such as simple sugars and synthetic sweeteners, as well as flavors in foods, such as soft drinks, sport electrolytes, etc. through the learning and operation of advance chromatographic instruments, including GC and HPLC, for the qualitative and quantitative analyses of the aforementioned food components."

    Erica Wearing ’22

    Majors/Academic Disciplines: Agricultural Education

    Project Focus: STEM Integration in Agricultural Education for Adult Learners

    Project Excerpt: “The project will be focused on STEM integration and the use of inquiry-based instruction within agricultural education. The project will consist of two parts to assess already existing rubrics and evaluation tools and then creating a more streamlined and content specific tool to evaluate STEM lesson plans that agriscience teachers have designed and use to teach. Part 1 of the research will be assessing lesson plans that meet national AFNR standards and core concepts for how well they integrate STEM and how effectively they utilize inquiry based instructional teaching methods. Part 2 of the research will be creating and testing a rubric (lesson plan evaluation tool) that assesses the lesson plans incorporation of both factors (STEM integration and IBI teaching methods).”

  • Sample Proposal Forms and Project Ideas

    Look at examples of proposal forms and project ideas from graduated and current students.

  • Find Out More

    If you have questions, or would like to learn more about Interdisciplinary Honors, please contact Katie Maxwell by email or phone at 864-656-5512.

    You may also schedule a meeting with her via CU Navigate.

Clemson Honors student Erica Wearing
Clemson Honors student Erica Wearing

“I live by a mantra that says: What did you do yesterday to make you a better person for today, and what are you going to do today to make you a better person for tomorrow? I know I can leave the world better than I found it and never give up an opportunity to do something better than I used to. ”

Erica Wearing
Interdisciplinary Honors Alumna ('22)
Agricultural Education Major