A customized doctoral program for students pursuing studies across multiple departments and programs.
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The Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program is designed for those interested in pursuing doctoral level studies in areas that cannot be accommodated in one of the departmental doctoral programs within Arts and Sciences or Engineering. Admission to the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program is for applicants with demonstrated proficiency in independent study at the graduate level and whose research area is interdisciplinary and carefully matched to Tufts human, academic and physical resources.
A committee of GSAS, the Interdisciplinary Doctorate Overseers Committee (IDOC) serves as the admissions committee and will monitor the progress of all students matriculated into the program.
Admission to the program is highly selective. The applicant must demonstrate the ability to do independent research/scholarship. Normally this is demonstrated by having completed a master's degree with a dissertation requirement at an accredited graduate school, or in some cases by published research. Creative works such as art, musical composition, performance, and performance directionare not acceptable as the sole qualifications for admission into a scholarly doctoral program of study.
For more information, contact Susan Ernst, Faculty Director of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program.
Application to the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program is a two-step process.
A Tufts Graduate School of Arts and Sciences application form should be submitted with all documents including GRE scores, together with the application fee, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc. The application deadline for fall admission is January 15.
In addition, all Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program applicants must submit a description of research interests including the proposed area of dissertation work. This should include an explanation of how the project is interdisciplinary beyond what would be possible in a single department. The applicant should list faculty members that might be the principal advisor for the applicant or on the applicant's advisory committee. Applicants are encouraged to initiate informal conversations with potential principal advisors or members of an advisory committee. The description of research interests together with a list of possible advisors should not be more than one page in length.
After completion of Step One the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Committee (IDOC) will review the application to determine how it meets the requirements for theGraduate School of Arts and Sciences and notify the applicant if it is appropriate to proceed to Step two. Recommendation to proceed to Step Two is NOT acceptance into the program or the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
When recommended for the second step the applicant should contact faculty members who may be appropriate to serve as the principal advisor or members of the advisory committee and then write a more extensive description of the project.
Description of the project, limited to five single spaced pages
The description of the proposed project must show how the project will make an original contribution to the field of study. It should also indicate how the research involves methods, techniques or theoretical approaches that are characteristic of two or more disciplines. To qualify for the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program, a study design must realize added value by the very fact of combining two or more disciplinary approaches. The candidate must provide a strong case that the project would not be appropriate for a single doctoral-granting department at Tufts and that the project would not fit easily within a traditional doctoral program at another institution. It is not sufficient that the subject matter of investigation is discussed in the literature of more than one discipline.
Confirmation of an advisory committee
The applicant must assemble an advisory committee consisting normally of at least three faculty members from Arts, Sciences and Engineering. When an applicant approaches faculty members to serve on his or her advisory committee the applicant should tell each faculty member that they can review the first step application to GSAS. Additional members of the advisory committee may be selected from other schools at Tufts and, when appropriate, other universities. As a component of the admissions process, IDOC must approve the suitability of the advisory committee. One person must agree to serve as the principal advisor and chair of the advisory committee, providing major direction for the student's progress through coursework, examinations and the dissertation. That person must be a full time tenured or tenure track faculty member of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, situated in Medford and actively engaged in the field of the proposed research. All members of the advisory committee must submit a brief statement declaring their commitment to the project, and elaborating their specific role and responsibilities. The advisory committee should meet to review and approve the candidate's Interdisciplinary Doctoral proposal prior to its submission to IDOC.
IDOC must certify that the criteria for admission entailed by the proposal meet Tufts doctoral standards and the requirements of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program. If the principal advisor is a member of a doctoral granting department, the graduate admissions committee of that department may be consulted in order to clarify whether the proposed program of study is suitable for the doctoral program of that department. In the case where the principal advisor is not a member of a doctoral-granting department, it is expected that at least one member of the advisory committee will have mentored doctoral students.
Plan of study
The applicant must compile a list of graduate level courses to be taken for the degree and lay out the schedule in which they will be taken. When the proposal is presented to IDOC in its capacity as admissions committee, the candidate, the principal advisor, and at least one other member of the advisory committee must be in attendance. A majority vote of IDOC in favor of the proposal will constitute a recommendation for admissions to the Dean of GSAS.
- The requirements for completion of the program should conform to the general requirements of the doctoral degree as stated in the A&S and Engineering Bulletin.
- The candidate must have at least two semesters of full-time residence on the Medford campus. Some tuition scholarship aid will be available from the graduate school, to be negotiated on an individual basis.
- The candidate must meet with his or her advisory committee at least twice a year, and a progress report must be filed with IDOC twice a year. Progress reports are due by the end of the first week of classes of the spring semester and two weeks before the beginning of classes in the fall semester. It is the responsibility of the candidate and the principal advisor to file the progress report, and failure to do so may result in a recommendation by IDOC for dismissal from the program. Any change in the committee makeup or program of study must receive prior approval by IDOC.
- The guidelines for qualifying procedures or examinations should follow the principal advisor's department's guidelines wherever possible; otherwise the candidate's advisory committee, including the principal advisor and the IDOC must approve them before the examination can take place. Both bodies may suggest changes.
- The Dissertation Defense Committee, which must be approved by IDOC, should consist of at least three members of the of the student's advisory committee, including the principal advisor. As with other doctoral dissertation defenses this committee must include an additional person from outside of Tufts familiar with the field, who is not a member of the dissertation working committee and is not associated with the student's research.
For questions regarding the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program, contact:
Susan Ernst, Faculty Director