Online Interdisciplinary Studies

Finish your degree online with the University of Richmond in about two years.

Our Online Interdisciplinary Studies (IDST Online) degree is designed for those who want a liberal arts degree that focuses on key competencies from the fields of business, political science, leadership and science as well as the humanities. By enrolling in IDST Online, you’ll earn a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (BALA) with a major in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Richmond, one of the top-ranked liberal arts schools in the nation.

You’ll take 10 classes — 2 courses each Fall and Spring semester and 1 course each summer term — and focus on a single class at a time in convenient 7.5-week mini-terms, studying entirely online. Enter in the fall with a cohort of your peers and proceed together through the program.

You’ll encounter challenging ideas from around the world in a broadly-based educational experience. You’ll also develop your ability to write well, communicate effectively, work with groups, engage in problem solving and think critically — timeless skills that are applicable to every part of professional life. 

The online curriculum responds to the growing need in workplaces for employees whose approach to business and commerce is sophisticated, yet vigorously practical. The goal of the program is to promote the growth of effective professionals who develop a broad, holistic perspective on the world around them.

As an added value, you’ll have the option to earn digital badges in key competencies throughout the program, boosting your résumé before you even graduate.

  • Major Requirements

    Online Interdisciplinary Studies

    The undergraduate major in interdisciplinary studies in the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (BALA) is only available online.

    Total: 60 semester hours

    Major in Interdisciplinary Studies

    60 semester hours

    • ADED 300U Knowledge Management - Methods of Learning and Thinking
    • IDST 306U Understanding Culture and Language
    • HIST 345U The History of Ideas
    • HUM 346U The History of Human Expression
    • PLSC 301U The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship
    • GSCI 301U The Role of Science and Technology in Shaping the Modern Era
    • MGMT 345U Business Literacy
    • LDSP 310U Leadership and Ethical Decision Making
    • IDST 310U The Examined Life
    • IDST 495U Capstone Course: Senior Seminar
  • Degree Requirements

    BALA Program of Study

    Total: 120 semester hours

    General Education

    30 semester hours. Includes Common Seminar, Areas of Study and Language and Cultural Studies.

    Common Seminar

    6 semester hours

    • ADED 300U Knowledge Management: Seminar Across the Disciplines (online only)

    or

    • ADED 301U Knowledge Management: Seminar Across the Disciplines I
    • ADED 302U Knowledge Management: Seminar Across the Disciplines II

    Areas of Study

    18 semester hours. At least one 3-hour course from each of the following areas:

    • History
    • Literature
    • Natural Sciences
    • Social Sciences and Cultural Studies
    • MATH 103U Finite Mathematics (or higher)
    • The Arts

    Language and Cultural Studies

    6 semester hours

    • IDST 306U Understanding Culture and Language (online only)

    or

    • IDST 304U Understanding Culture and Language I
    • IDST 305U Understanding Culture and Language II

    Language and Cultural Studies Exemptions

    Students majoring in Liberal Arts who have completed six (6) semester hours (or equivalent) in language coursework with a grade of “C” or better may earn waivers for IDST 304U and IDST 305U. Credits from a study abroad experience may also count toward the six-hour requirement.

    Students majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies (online only) must take IDST 306U as part of the course of study.

    Students who wish to switch from the major in Interdisciplinary Studies to the major in Liberal Arts and who have passed IDST 306U with a grade of 'C' or better may earn waivers for IDST 304U and IDST 305U.

    Students who pass IDST 304U, IDST 305U or IDST 306U may not take the courses again for repeated credit in the BALA program (to include both Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies majors).

    General Distribution

    60 semester hours. Coursework selected from across the curriculum. Undergraduate minors (combined with the major in Liberal Arts only) may be drawn from this area. Foundation Coursework, if required, counts toward General Distribution.

    Online Interdisciplinary Studies Exceptions

    Online Interdisciplinary Studies students combine General Education and General Distribution requirements. 60 semester hours total required, 45 hours prior to transfer to University of Richmond. Foundation Coursework requirements except MATH 103U are built in the 60-hour Interdisciplinary Studies major for online students.

    Foundation Coursework

    The student’s placement test score, along with advising recommendations, will determine the pathway of foundation courses before other required coursework.

    • ENGL 101U Strategic Reading and Writing
    • ENGL 201U Critical Writing and Research I
    • ENGL 202U Critical Writing and Research II
    • MATH 103U Finite Mathematics

    Major

    30 semester hours (Liberal Arts) or 60 semester hours (Interdisciplinary Studies).

    • Select from Liberal Arts or Online Interdisciplinary Studies.
  • Admissions

    Admission to Bachelor's Degree Programs

    Minimum requirements for admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (BALA) or Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies (BSPS) degree program are:

    • An earned high school diploma or GED
    • A 2.0 average on any attempted college-level work

    To be admitted, applicants must submit the following:

    • A completed online bachelor's degree application (with application fee)
    • Original transcripts from all college-level work attempted (or evidence of high school graduation or GED)

    Admission placement requires ACCUPLACER Reading Comprehension and Sentence Skills test scores and an admission decision meeting with a student advisor. All incoming bachelor's degree applicants must take the ACCUPLACER Reading Comprehension and Sentence Skills tests for placement.

    Applicants are notified about scheduling a testing session after submitting the undergraduate application.

    • Test scores are used to route applicants into an appropriate course of study that best enables academic success.
    • Student advisors will review ACCUPLACER test scores and admission pathway to determine if accepted students will place into ENGL 101U, ENGL 201U, ADED 300U or ADED 301U. Academic advisors will provide admission guidance and options after receiving applicant test scores.
    • Test scores are good for one year. Applicants may provide evidence of ACCUPLACER scores earned within the last 365 days for consideration and placement.
    • An applicant may opt to retake the placement test once at his or her own expense of $10. Applicants may register through their academic advisor for a retest on the next scheduled placement test date. The highest test score within a given session will be considered.
    • Students whose ACCUPLACER scores are deemed by their advisor not to qualify them for ENGL 101U or higher will be given the opportunity to take the noncredit course, English Foundations. At the end of English Foundations, students who re-take the ACCUPLACER but still do not achieve a score high enough for placement into ENGL 101U will be permitted to take English Foundations one additional time. No student may take the course a third time without permission from the Associate Dean for Academic & Student Affairs.

    Non-native English speakers may be required to submit valid TOEFL scores.

    Admissions Decisions

    The School uses a selective admissions process to evaluate applicants. The most important predictor is an applicant's ability to do college-level work. As such, the School offers several undergraduate admission pathways depending on college experience, writing aptitude and GPA.

    1. Well Qualified Transfer Admission

    Applicants who have recently completed college-level study at a regionally-accredited community college or four-year institution may be candidates for well qualified transfer admission (WQTA). WQTA applicants are given priority and must successfully demonstrate the following:

    • Minimum 24 semester hours of transferable coursework completed in the past 10 years
    • Minimum 2.5 GPA on all previously attempted college coursework
    • Earned a 'B' or better in English Composition and a 'C' or better in college-level math
    • Earned satisfactory ACCUPLACER scores

    2. Online Interdisciplinary Studies Admission

    Applicants to the Online Interdisciplinary Studies program must successfully demonstrate the following:

    • At least 45 semester hours of transferable college credit
    • Minimum 2.0 GPA on all previously attempted college coursework
    • Maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA on all attempted coursework at the School
    • Earned satisfactory ACCUPLACER scores

    3. Transfer Admission

    Applicants who have completed some college-level study at a regionally-accredited community college or four-year institution but do not meet the minimum requirements for WQTA may qualify for transfer admission (TA). TA applicants must successfully demonstrate the following:

    • Minimum 3 semester hours of transferable college-level coursework
    • Minimum 2.0 GPA on all previously attempted college coursework
    • Earned satisfactory ACCUPLACER scores

    4. Non-Transfer Admission

    Applicants who have never studied at the college level or do not meet the minimum requirements for TA will only be considered for non-transfer admission (NTA). NTA requires applicants to complete foundation coursework at the School pursuing part-time study (registering for no more than nine semester hours) while completing these requirements. NTA applicants must successfully accomplish the following:

    • Complete all foundation coursework with a grade of 'C' or better in the first 3 semesters at the School
    • Maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA on all attempted coursework at the School
    • Earned satisfactory ACCUPLACER scores

    Students admitted to any undergraduate or degree program, without prior college experience, may enroll (register) in a maximum of nine (9) semester hours of credit in the first semester of study in SPCS.

    Admission Notifications

    Applicants will be notified of admissions decisions by letter, generally during an interview with an academic advisor. If admitted to a degree program, the admissions letter will include a University ID to be used in establishing a BannerWeb account and network ID.

Additional Resources

Interdisciplinary Studies (IDST)

Note: We have notified SACSCOC, our regional accrediting body, of our plans to change the delivery format of our BALA major in Interdisciplinary Studies from a hybrid format to a completely online format beginning with the fall 2021 semester.