Students currently enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts can look forward to more leeway in their schedule choices due to changes approved by LSA faculty Monday.
Among the proposals LSA Student Government members presented to LSA deans was one aiming to increase the number of elective credits from outside the college that students can count toward an LSA degree from 12 to 20.
A new interdisciplinary category will be added to the existing five distribution areas natural science, social science, humanities, creative expression and mathematics and symbolic analysis that can be used to fulfill the last nine of 30 distribution credits.
Students may now take up to three credits in any interdisciplinary courses, which are to be cross-listed with LSA and another school within the University.
LSA-SG President Rachel Tronstein said, “We are working on making minors in other schools and colleges available to LSA students, and we believe this is the first step.”
Academic minors in other schools will be a real possibility for LSA students in about a year, she added.
Tronstein said the policies and details are still being worked out by the LSA Curriculum Committee. Which interdisciplinary courses will be available for credit toward distribution and what classes of students will be affected by the new system are yet to be determined.
LSA-SG members researched peer institutions and found that the schools they studied focused on interdisciplinary programs. They submitted proposals to the LSA deans last year for an increase in the credit allowance outside LSA, Tronstein said.
“Everything else within U of M promotes interdisciplinary studies such as when they give grant money and look at faculty tenure,” she added. Until now the undergraduate curriculum did not reflect the same mentality, she said.
These changes to the faculty code “will help remove curricular impediments to interdisciplinarity,” LSA Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education Robert Owen said in a written statement.
For those who are serious about studying in different disciplines, the University currently allows students to dual-enroll in the School of Music and either LSA or the College of Engineering, usually to pursue two degrees, a process that requires 10 to 11 semesters of coursework on average.