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Course Descriptions

Interdisciplinary Major Program

c/o College of Arts and Sciences
Garrett Hall
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400133
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4130
(434) 924-3672

Overview The Interdisciplinary Major Program offers students with unusual interests, superior ability, and exceptional self-discipline the opportunity to design an individual program of study instead of pursuing a regular department major. The program hopes to attract proposals that show creativity, novel approaches to learning, and experimentation, but it does insist that the applicant be able to designate clearly a definite field of study which falls within the liberal arts and sciences. Medical Ethics, Psychobiology, Irish Studies, Physical Anthropology, Post-Modern Studies, and Philosophical Psychology are examples of the kinds of programs that are acceptable. There are, of course, many others. The program is a Distinguished Majors Program and as such requires a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.400. Students generally make application in their third or fourth semester; proposals made after the fifth semester cannot be considered. Students whose projects can be completed through regular departmental or interdepartmental majors will be asked to apply to those programs.

Successful applicants must demonstrate that the College has sufficient resources to support the proposal. Toward this end, applicants are asked to list thirty credits of course work (normally 300-level and above), drawn from three different departments of the College that will form a curriculum. Also, applicants must secure the sponsorship of your proposal from a (full-time) faculty member from each department as well as their agreement to serve as mentors. Finally, all IMP students must agree to write a year-long thesis, worth six credit hours, in their fourth year. At least two of the sponsors must agree to direct, read, and grade this work.

Additional Information If you are interested in applying, you should discuss the project with several member of the faculty in your field of interest, and once your plans are firm make an appointment to meet with William Wilson (924-3672), the program Chair in Garrett Hall. Application to the program requires a written proposal outlining your project, a list of courses related to your field with a total of 30 credit hours, and a current transcript.

Course Description


IMP 201 - (3) (Y)
The Arts and Sciences in Theory and Practice
This course is an inquiry into the nature and purpose of the historic set of disciplines comprising liberal learning with the goal of determining the intellectual passions they share, the methods and canons unique to them, and the prospects for articulating a unity among them. The course seeks to attain this goal by looking at theoretical issues such as the nature of verification and meaning, and by examining critically the actual conversations among the scholars of the arts and sciences fields over points of agreement and points of divergence.

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