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Major Maps

Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success

Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
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2021-2022

Interdisciplinary Studies

University College

 
Program description

In our increasingly complex global economy, 21st century professionals need to have creative and entrepreneurial skills and be agile and nimble learners who can navigate the pace of career changes with confidence. The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) degree is one way to hone those skills as you explore the academic areas that match your passions and future plans.


The BIS is an individualized and interdisciplinary program for VCU students whose intellectual interests and professional goals are not easily met by a single major. Students who choose our Interdisciplinary Studies major have a wide range of academic interests, and our individualized program allows each student to work with their academic advisor to create a unique curricular pathway toward the BIS degree. Each student defines a focus area that is interdisciplinary in nature and is supported by taking courses in two or three disciplines. Some students choose to combine two minors that share interdisciplinary context while others develop a focus area that is more integrative.  The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies is open to all VCU students.

Career opportunities

Past BIS graduates have designed the following custom degree programs to prepare them for their professional lives after graduation:


  • Armed Forces Leadership
  • Arts Journalism
  • Brand Management
  • Business Methods for Public Policy
  • Creative Marketing for Business
  • Creative Technology Implementation
  • Cultural Identity and Global Health
  • Disabilities Advocacy
  • Environmental Policy & Planning
  • Fashion Media and Advertising
  • History of Costume Design
  • Juvenile Behavioral Interventions
  • Multi-Media Marketing in Sports
  • Social Media Management
  • Video Choreography
Change of major requirements

If you are undecided about which degree program is right for you, or are interested in combining multiple disciplines, consider a BIS major. Want to learn more? We’d love to meet you in person and talk about where you want to go and how the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies may be a viable pathway to your future! Come visit us at 818 W. Broad Street, or contact us to set up a meeting with an advisor!


Bachelor-level job titles
  • Business Technologist
  • Disability Advocate
  • Event Planner
  • Fashion Writer
  • Healthcare Administrator
  • Music Business Management
  • Political Consultant
  • Public Historian
  • Realtor
  • Social Media Manager
Graduate and professional level job titles
  • Attorney
  • Higher Education Administrator
  • Nonprofit Director
  • Researcher
Degree requirements in Bulletin
Plan of study in Bulletin

    To be designed in consultation with your academic advisor.

Highest level of math required
  • Quantitative Foundations requirement only
Science required
  • Natural Sciences requirement only
Foreign language requirements
  • No
Additional tuition/fees
  • No
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.0+ cumulative GPA, 2.0+ major GPA
Department name:
The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies
Building/room location:
818 W. Broad St. Box 842015 Richmond, Virginia 23284-2015
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Invalid campus
Phone:
804-827-0838
Email:
bis@vcu.edu

Major map compass icon [View Image]
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Collaborate with your BIS advisor to plan your Focus Area.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Take UNIV 301: Interdisciplinary Theory and Practice.
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Attend OMSA Social Justice Conference.
  • Make friends with diverse perspectives and join a cultural or identity-related student organization.
  • Explore social issues, develop cultural competency skills, and engage with faculty through iExcel pop-up courses.
  • Investigate globally-focused courses in your major by pursuing language coursework or setting language proficiency goals with advisors and faculty.
  • Apply for the Critical Languages Scholarship.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Join groups on LinkedIn reflecting specific careers or topics of interest.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Conduct independent undergraduate research.
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Take UNIV 303: Interdisciplinarity in the Professional World
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Update your resume to include how you have developed your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Update your e-portfolio to incorporate new learning and experiences.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and VCU Career Services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Take UNIV 499: BIS Capstone.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Attend OMSA I Love Diversity Week.
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Write a diversity statement to be included in your e-Portfolio.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Design an independent study course aimed at building your knowledge about your unique field.
  • Meet with your academic or professional mentor and identify examples of your experiential learning to share with employers.
  • Publish your original research in Auctus: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creativity.
  • Consider becoming an educator through programs like RTR, which prepare graduates from a variety of majors to become teachers in high-need schools.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon [View Image]
2021-2022

Interdisciplinary Studies

University College

Concentration(s):
No concentration
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNINGGET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITYBUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCEGET REAL EXPERIENCEPREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
ExploreYear 1
ExperienceYear 2
  • Collaborate with your BIS advisor to plan your Focus Area.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Take UNIV 301: Interdisciplinary Theory and Practice.
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
  • Attend OMSA Social Justice Conference.
  • Make friends with diverse perspectives and join a cultural or identity-related student organization.
  • Explore social issues, develop cultural competency skills, and engage with faculty through iExcel pop-up courses.
  • Investigate globally-focused courses in your major by pursuing language coursework or setting language proficiency goals with advisors and faculty.
  • Apply for the Critical Languages Scholarship.
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Join groups on LinkedIn reflecting specific careers or topics of interest.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
Year 3
  • Conduct independent undergraduate research.
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Take UNIV 303: Interdisciplinarity in the Professional World
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Update your resume to include how you have developed your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Update your e-portfolio to incorporate new learning and experiences.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and VCU Career Services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
ExcelYear 4
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Take UNIV 499: BIS Capstone.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
  • Attend OMSA I Love Diversity Week.
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Write a diversity statement to be included in your e-Portfolio.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
  • Design an independent study course aimed at building your knowledge about your unique field.
  • Meet with your academic or professional mentor and identify examples of your experiential learning to share with employers.
  • Publish your original research in Auctus: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creativity.
  • Consider becoming an educator through programs like RTR, which prepare graduates from a variety of majors to become teachers in high-need schools.
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
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