UMKC Catalog


Program Description

Applicants must meet both the general and the discipline-specific criteria for admission and be recommended for admission by the doctoral faculty review groups in at least two disciplines. 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 tracking 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 not predetermined, but formulated by them, in consultation with UMKC doctoral faculty, to meet their individual needs and research interests and satisfy discipline-specific requirements. The program structure and these requirements follow from the five core values of UMKC:

  1. Education first
  2. Discovery and innovation
  3. Integrity and accountability
  4. Diversity, inclusiveness and respect
  5. Energized, collaborative communities

These core values guide the expectations for our students, who upon graduation will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate appropriate depth and breadth of knowledge in their disciplines.
  2. Use skills of interdisciplinary scholarship and research to integrate multiple discipline perspectives; and effectively communicate the results of their research to diverse audiences.
  3. Use self-reflection for personal and professional improvement.
  4. Understand and value diverse approaches to problems.
  5. Work effectively in a collaborative environment.

Disciplines participating for the fall 2010 admissions cycle:

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 School of Graduate Studies' 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 disciplines.

After being admitted to the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, and no later than the end of the semester in which the student completes his or her comprehensive examinations, each student must satisfy the interdisciplinary doctoral residency requirement by completing at least 21 credits, exclusive of dissertation research (5696-5699), in no more than 18 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 his or her 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.