Transdisciplinary Studies

Policy on Transdisciplinary Programs of Study

The Graduate School of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill encourages the development of programs in graduate education that are responsive to changing disciplinary, professional, economic, and social circumstances. These programs may be developed by restructuring existing academic programs across currently-defined disciplinary boundaries. In other cases, the disciplines themselves may need to be redefined. These transdisciplinary programs are the focus of this policy.

Typically, transdisciplinary programs are of three distinct types. Consideration of the following principles specific to each of the different degree types may help in selecting the type of program to be established and submitted for review.

Great variety is present in the particular intellectual and academic needs of transdisciplinary programs of study, and The Graduate School endeavors to accommodate these needs as each case requires. There are a number of general principles typically applied in The Graduate School’s review of program proposals:

Proposal Submission Process

Those who wish to propose transdisciplinary programs are encouraged to seek advice, comment, and examples when putting their proposals together. It may be useful to seek advice from students, faculty, and administrators who are involved with existing transdisciplinary programs, particularly those within the same disciplinary family (natural sciences, medical sciences, professional schools, social sciences, humanities, and the arts). The Graduate School should be involved as early as possible to provide guidance in the planning process.

In the case of new joint degrees or interdisciplinary degrees, the University of North Carolina Academic Program Development Procedures will be followed. The broader themes and questions raised in this policy should be addressed in the new degree proposal documentation.

Dual degree proposals should first be created and approved by the appropriate groups in each participating unit. Aside from the general principles above, materials should include:

Dual degree proposals should be submitted to The Graduate School for review:

  1. In cases where the “exchange” (i.e., double-counting) of courses involves less than 30%, The Graduate School will bring the proposal before the Academic Policy Committee for review and approval. It is expected that most dual degree programs will fall in this range given the need for students to complete core requirements of both degrees.
  2. In cases where the course credit exchange is greater than 30%, the process is the same as above, though The Graduate School will coordinate a review process by the Academic Policy Committee and the full Administrative Board of The Graduate School.
  3. After its review of a submitted proposal, The Graduate School will determine whether to approve the proposal and offer feedback to the requesting units.


Updated: Fall 2021

Policy on Transdisciplinary Programs of Studypdf icon