Independent Interdisciplinary Major

An independent interdisciplinary major (IIM) offers students with diverse academic interests the opportunity to design a course of study not available in the regular curriculum. Our student-focused learning environment provides meaningful interactions between students and professors, making Brandeis an ideal setting for pursuing an independent major.

Each IIM is designed around a topic, theme, issue or set of questions that cannot be adequately addressed within the context of existing majors or minors. Students pursuing an IIM take courses from different disciplines, work one-on-one in sustained dialogue with faculty members and complete an independent senior research project.  IIMs at Brandeis are designed by students in collaboration with three faculty members from at least two departments.

IIM Requirements

Students with a proven record of academic achievement, seriousness of purpose and intellectual curiosity design their IIMs in collaboration with at least three faculty members. They have until the end of their junior year to receive approval to create the IIM. Each IIM comprises 12 courses, including a senior capstone project to develop an independent paper or research.


The IIM coordinator in the Office of Academic Services advises students about how to begin the IIM process. In addition, Undergraduate Departmental Representatives who are pursuing their own independent majors are available to answer questions from students considering this program. Throughout the process, three or more faculty advisers help guide the student’s progress toward designing and completing the major.

Other Academic Programs

IIM students are able to pursue an additional major or minor outside of their independent major, and they can graduate with departmental honors. They can study abroad and transfer a full semester’s worth of credit toward their IIM, and they can study a foreign language throughout their time at Brandeis. IIM students are also welcome to follow the prehealth track or engage in prelaw advising.

Previously Approved IIM Titles