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Interdisciplinary Master of Science

An interdisciplinary Master of Science degree is a degree granted for a curriculum of graduate study on a coherent and definable field of science and/or engineering.  Such fields of study may exist at Tulane at the doctoral level, exist at the MS-level at other major universities, or reflect an emerging discipline.   Examples include Bioinnovation, Computer Science, Biology, Zoology, and Environmental Biology & Chemistry.  

The M.S. is NOT awarded simply for an accumulation of credits, but for a distinct and definable program of study.


1. Plan of study including:

  • A 25-50 word description of the coherent discipline, which may cite similar programs of study at other universities.
  •  List of intended courses.
  • Endorsement from two regular Tulane SSE faculty members who together represent the interdisciplinary expertise from different departments/programs;  for students already enrolled in a PhD program, the dissertation research advisor must approve the plan.  One department must agree to monitor the student's progress.

2. A minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate-level course work.

  • At least 24 credit hours must be earned in the Tulane School of Science and Engineering (SSE).
  • With prior approval, up to 6 relevant graduate credit hours from other Schools of Tulane University may be applied toward the M.S. degree.
  • With prior approval, no more than 6 graduate credit hours may be transferred from another university; such credits cannot have been applied to another Masters-level degree.
  • With prior approval, students may complete an empirical master's thesis in the defined discipline under the direction of an SSE faculty member.  Students who successfully complete a master's thesis may elect to complete only 24 credit hours of graduate-level course work (i.e., the master's thesis substitutes for 6 of the 30 credit hours for the M.S.).   In most cases, an interdisciplinary thesis committee will comprise faculty from at least 2 departments or programs. 


1. Enrolled doctoral students: Application no later than the 4th semester of study (i.e., the plan should be prospective rather than after-the-fact).

2. New applicants for interdisciplinary MS: Students should apply to the department or program closest to their field of study.  They should note in their Statement of Interest that they are interested in an interdisciplinary MS (and should reference the potentially contributing departments/programs).   For programs cutting across more than 2 disciplines, students should contact the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.

NOTE: This program was approved January 2016 and is due for renewal in January 2021.