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 four colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business Administration, the College of Education, and the College of Nursing and Allied Health. 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?

If you are majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies and working toward a B.I.S. degree, your college is the College of Arts and Sciences. Your dean is Dr. John Doucet.

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 220 and English 321. 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 under “Degrees and 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 an Interdisciplinary Studies curriculum for 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 at least one 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.

What does my entire degree curriculum look like?

Your degree curriculum (Interdisciplinary Studies) can be found in the University Catalog and under the “Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.)” section of the Interdisciplinary Studies homepage.

Is there any other use for my Catalog except for this general information?

Yes, in another important way of thinking, your Catalog is very important. Each year a new Catalog is published. Since the Catalog changes from year to year, you will be required to follow the course curricula listed in a certain Catalog. You have a few options with regard to Catalog choices. You do not have to follow the requirements of the Catalog that was published the semester you began your college career. Within certain restrictions, you may choose to follow the requirements of a Catalog published after the beginning of your college career. Your academic advisor will help determine which Catalog works best for you.

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 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 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.


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.