Interdisciplinary Studies (MA and MSc Programs)

IDIS Program Chair – Dr. Monica Mattfeld
The IDIS program covers the scope of multiple disciplines, enabling faculty from other graduate programs to participate in this program. Therefore, the IDIS Graduate Program welcomes all faculty members eligible to be supervisors to participate in the IDIS Graduate Program. Please see the complete faculty listing.
Not all advances in knowledge, or in creativity, take place within established disciplines. In fact, innovative thinking and creativity may be unleashed by diminishing, bridging, or deliberately removing the boundaries between disciplines. The University of Northern British Columbia provides two options for interdisciplinary inquiry.
The MA option in Interdisciplinary Studies is specifically designed to enable students to pursue intellectual development outside the constraints of traditional disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The MSc option in Interdisciplinary Studies is specifically designed to enable students to go beyond the constraints of traditional disciplines in the Physical and Life Sciences. Applicants interested in interdisciplinary studies should consult the Chair of the IDIS program directly for advice on which option would be most appropriate for their research interests, and on how to tailor a course of study appropriate to their interests.
Applicants may undertake an Interdisciplinary Studies Program only under the following circumstances:

  • The applicant has a well-conceived idea of the courses needed for the IDIS Program and of a thesis topic that the applicant wishes to pursue; and
  • The intellectual rationale of the thesis must be truly interdisciplinary; that is, it must draw from at least two of the university programs described in the UNBC Graduate Calendar.

Students in the Program must complete the following requirements:

  • All interdisciplinary programs shall include a 12 credit-hour thesis, and shall be composed of a minimum total of 27 credit hours;
  • The number of courses included in an IDIS Program shall be at least four in addition to the IDIS core course;
  • A student may not take all courses, nor all but one course, from the same program.

Steps to Take in Arranging an Interdisciplinary Graduate Program
It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide a one page research statement. To assist in the preparation of the needed documentation, applicants should follow the steps below:

  1. Determine that you meet the general graduate admission requirements at the University of Northern British Columbia by reviewing the admission requirements in the calendar. See Graduate Admissions and Regulations;
  2. Determine that your research topic is interdisciplinary in nature;
  3. Consult the graduate advisors from the academic units relevant to your proposal to obtain specific information on course requirements and prerequisites;
  4. Prepare a one-page research statement to give to potential supervisors (for assistance see the section on Guidelines for Preparing a Research Proposal presented below);
  5. Select/confirm potential supervisors using the faculty listings in the University Calendar as well as the program websites. Arrange meetings or contact supervisors by telephone or e-mail. (Do not send inquiries to every faculty member in a program. Choose the appropriate contacts);
  6. Program willingness to participate in your academic program is required, necessitating signatures on the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program Proposal Coversheet as follows:
  • Student signs form and gives it to the Supervisor who then obtains signatures from the Supervisor's Chair, IDIS Program Chair, and Dean.
  1. Submit your completed Application for Admission and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program Proposal Coversheet, along with your research statement, to the Graduate Administration Office. In addition, you need to identify at least one course that will be taken in the first semester, along with the required IDIS core course; and
  2. Arrange for official transcripts and three reference letters (at least two of the letters are to be academic) to be sent directly to the Office of the Registrar.


Application deadlines are found in this calendar under Admissions and Regulations, or online at:, (under Semester Dates). The Interdisciplinary Studies MA and Msc Program accepts students for the September, January and May Semesters.
For additional information about graduate admissions or to download application materials, go to the Office of Graduate Administration website at
Students seeking admission to the Interdisciplinary Studies Program should apply directly to the Office of the Registrar.
Guidelines for Preparing a Research Proposal for an Interdisciplinary Program
In the one page statement, you must identify the topic and the supervisory committee membership. You also must explain why the proposal requires an interdisciplinary approach.
The guidelines that follow are designed to assist you in preparing a properly documented application. You should put together an outline of your ideas, so that you can share this with potential supervisors. Once you have the agreement of a potential supervisor, you can seek their assistance in refining and completing the application.

I.  Research Statement

1.   Please specify the working title of your research. This should describe the topic and its key elements (e.g., time period, place, texts/authors, etc.).  
2.   Provide a statement of your research question(s) or research objective(s). The statement should be a clear, brief description of the topic area, with emphasis on the particular issue to be investigated in this area. Make sure to define terms and use language accessible to a non-specialist audience.
3.   Identify what makes your research statement interdisciplinary.

  • Identify the academic courses and the experiences that have prepared you to undertake the proposed research project.
  • Specify the prospective courses that you wish to include in your program of study.

4.   Consider the members of your proposed supervisory committee and the relevant expertise they will bring to the project.
Any eligible faculty member at UNBC may supervise students in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program.

Specialization in Métis and Canadien Studies

This specialization within the Interdisciplinary MA degree provides students with the means to pursue a detailed analysis of the social and cultural history of British Columbia and adjacent territories to better understand the history of Métis and Canadien in the province, country and continent during and after the fur trade. Students combine expertise in a number of disciplines to better understand the past as well as contemporary communities.

Updated: July 12, 2023