Program Description

Applicants to the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program must meet both the general and the discipline-specific criteria for admission and be recommended for admission by the doctoral faculty review groups in the chosen discipline(s). Upon approval by the graduate dean, students are admitted to the School of Graduate Studies. The School of Graduate Studies monitors student progress in the program, enforces program regulations and facilitates communication among the disciplines. A discipline coordinator, usually a doctoral faculty member, coordinates admission reviews and monitoring progress of students within each discipline.

Doctoral students in this program take coursework and conduct their research in at least two disciplines. The content of their program of study is formulated by the student, in consultation with UMKC doctoral faculty, to meet their individual needs and research interests and to satisfy discipline-specific requirements.

Program Goals

Students in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program will acquire:

  1. grounding in the primary and co-disciplines;
  2. the ability to integrate the principles and theories of each of the disciplines;
  3. the ability to effectively communicate findings and approaches to solving interdisciplinary research problems;
  4. research skills in each discipline such as approaches, methods, ethical principles, and tools to pursue a research line of inquiry;
  5. the ability to form effective teams with diverse scholars across disciplines to solve novel research questions.

Disciplines currently participating:

Administrative and Information Sciences

Biological and Chemical Sciences

Humanities and Arts

Physical, Mathematical, Engineering and Computer Sciences

Social and Behavioral Sciences

The above list of participating disciplines constitutes a dynamic list that can change annually as members are added to or dropped from the doctoral faculty, or as the resources in various academic units change. Applicants should contact the School of Graduate Studies Office for information about modifications to the above list that might have occurred since this catalog was prepared.

Admission to UMKC's Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program is highly competitive. Enrollment in the program is limited, and admission is granted only to students who have a mature commitment to advanced study and scholarship. Admission is also subject to availability of adequate faculty and other resources within an applicant's chosen discipline(s).

After being admitted to the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, and no later than the end of the semester in which the student completes the Comprehensive Examination, each student must satisfy the interdisciplinary doctoral residency requirement by completing at least 18 credits, exclusive of dissertation research (5696-5699), within 24  months. Students may be admitted either provisionally or fully to the program; however, within 24 months of being fully admitted, each student must develop a Plan of Study proposal in consultation with the doctoral faculty members who have agreed to serve on the student's supervisory committee. Although no fixed set of courses is required, students are expected to prepare a rigorous Plan of Study that includes at least 30 didactic course hours beyond the baccalaureate degree, exclusive of thesis and dissertation research credits. More credit hours may be required by either the student's supervisory committee, the student's disciplines, the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Executive Committee, or the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. The number of credits included on the Plan of Study shall be predicated upon the extent of the student's previous academic preparation, the discipline-specific requirements of the student's disciplines, and the nature of the student's field of study.

Students must take and pass a Comprehensive Examination containing components of each discipline to which they have been admitted to determine if they are ready to advance to candidacy and the final phases of their Ph.D. program. Typically the Comprehensive Examination will be conducted as the student nears completion of the didactic coursework listed on the plan of study. The final phases of the program shall comprise:

  • Completion of significant research
  • A written dissertation acceptable to the doctoral faculty
  • Successful oral defense of the research work and dissertation