Designing a Program of Study

How will the University organize my years of study?
The internal management design of all universities is based on recognized patterns and groupings involved in learning and study. Most universities are divided into several very broad areas of learning called colleges. For instance, at Nicholls State University, there are five colleges: The College of Arts and Sciences, The College of Business Administration, the College of Education, the College of Nursing and Allied Health, and University College. The person in charge of each of these colleges is called a dean. Each dean reports to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

What is the name of my college?
Your college is called University College. Your dean is Dr. Albert Davis .

How are the teachers organized within my college?
All of your teachers are grouped together into departments. For instance, language teachers and English teachers work in the Department of Languages and Literature. Most departments teach courses in a specific area of study. When you take a certain number of specific courses, you are said to be “majoring” in that area. A major is a dominant area in your course selection. A “minor” is also a dominant subject area, but a “minor” requires fewer courses to complete.

Taking these major and minor courses are just one of the things you must do to obtain a degree.

What is my major? What is the name of the department where my major is located?
Your major is Interdisciplinary Studies. Your department is the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies  (252 Elkins Hall). Your department head is Dr. Robert Allen Alexander. Besides helping you coordinate your studies, your department advisor can answer many of your questions about college life.

What other courses must I take to get a degree?
A word often used to describe a pattern of study is “curriculum” and its plural form “curricula.”

Students who are English majors take a curriculum that contains a concentrated number of courses that mostly have the label “English,” such as English 304 and English 483. Besides their major courses, all students must also take University-required “General Education” courses. All students must take these “core courses” in general education. All general education, university degree-requirements can be found in the current University catalog at Degrees and Degree Requirements.   These “core courses” together with those courses required by a student’s major area of study equals a student’s  major curriculum.

You have chosen to follow a Interdisciplinary Studies curriculum, a curriculum that results in your obtaining the Bachelor of  Interdisciplinary Studies Degree (B.I.S.) Unlike other majors, interdisciplinary studies students do not take a concentration of courses labeled with the name of the major area (Interdisciplinary Studies). You take a variety of courses in several of the disciplines of study offered by the university. Your major, therefore, is a broad and deep curriculum that can be said to stress the liberal arts courses. Although you are required to specialize in a certain area of study  through the minor, you will not be taking enough of these courses to say that you have a major. You do, however, have to take enough courses in a certain area to satisfy the requirement of demonstrating academic depth, which is usually accomplished through the completion of one or more minors. You may choose any minor offered by a department or program at Nicholls.

Important: You will be asked to declare a minor or develop a plan to demonstrate academic depth during your freshman year. Your advisor should be consulted about this choice before the end of your freshman year. You will also be required to have at least a 2.0 average in the courses that go to make up your minor, unless otherwise specified by the department of the minor.

What does my entire degree curriculum look like?
Your degree curriculum (Interdisciplinary Studies) can be found in the University Catalog.

Is there any other use for my Catalog except for this general information?
Yes, in another important way of thinking, your Bulletin is very important. Each year a new Bulletin is published. Since the Bulletins change from year to year, you will be required to follow the course curricula listed in a certain Bulletin. You have a few options with regard to Bulletin choices. You do not have to follow the requirements of the Bulletin that was published the semester you began your college career. Within certain restrictions, you may choose to follow the requirements of other Catalogs.

You should be aware, also, that there are certain Catalog restrictions for students who are pursuing more than one degree simultaneously or who wish to earn an additional degree.

What is an advisor, and what is the role of my advisor?
Your department, the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, has a curriculum that you must follow to receive your Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Degree. Interdisciplinary Studies, as we said, is your major area of study. Your advisor will be someone in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies who will help you schedule courses that are in your curriculum. Your advisor will help to make sure that you get your degree as efficiently as possible and that you meet all of the various curriculum guidelines. Most university students have advisors who work in the department where the student’s major professors all work.

When you see your Interdisciplinary Studies advisor, he or she will chart your college career on a “Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Checklist.” This checklist is a map of the courses you must take. This checklist is an easy way for you to see all of the university and department requirements at a glance. You and your advisor may start new checklists whenever one checklist needs to be cleared up or has become cluttered. All official checklists are signed and dated by your advisor. “Unofficial checklists” do exist, but these are just rough sketches that may be filled out on a “what-if?” basis to accommodate goal or career-option changes or requests that you may have.

Remember: This Studies checklist is only a useful map of your career and reflects certain choices that you have made. It is not an entirely accurate description of those courses in your curriculum that you need to take to fulfill degree requirements. But it is a good estimation of what you need to take, based on situations that vary from student to student. The university’s computer data base contains the official record of what you have taken and what remains to be taken. Your advisor will check this data base regularly to make sure your present checklist coincides with these official records. Where there is a discrepancy between your checklist and the official data base, the data base is presumed to be the official document.