Once admitted, the process of completing your MAIS degree involves a few stages.

Getting Started

Your first term or two will be spent taking classes in your three fields of study, beginning an assistantship if one is awarded, developing a program of study with your committee, getting acquainted with faculty, and taking two courses required for all MAIS students. 

The key program requirements for the MAIS include:

  1. Creating a Program of Study
  2. Working with Your Committee
  3. Your IST Coursework
  4. Program Meetings
  5. A Thesis or a Project


1. Creating a Program of Study

The program of study is your plan for earning the MAIS degree. It will include all the courses you will use toward your degree. The program must be completed and approved by your committee in a formal program meeting before you complete 18 credit hours of coursework.

You can obtain a program of study form, and instructions on completing it, at the Graduate School website.

Some key points to keep in mind:

  • All programs of study submitted to the Graduate School must consist of at least 50% graduate stand-alone courses (numbered 500 and above). The remaining credits may be the 500 component of 400/500 “slash” courses.
  • The degree requires a minimum of 49 credits. This includes 45 credits in your three fields of study and 4 credits of coursework on interdisciplinary study and research methods.
    • A minimum of 9 credits in each of the three fields of study is required.
    • No more than 21 credits should be taken in any one field unless the total program exceeds 49 credits.
    • Thesis or research paper/project hours do not count toward this 21 credit requirement.
    • No more than 3 credits of blanket-numbered courses in each field of study may be used in the program; thesis credits or research paper/project credits are exempt from this limitation.
  • Students may be able to apply a certain number transfer credits from other institutions and reserved credits (credits earned as OSU in graduate courses in excess of the requirements for a baccalaureate or postbaccalaureate degree) toward their program of study. This will require the approval of your committee and must meet all program of study requirements, as outlined in the Graduate Catalog.
  • There is no foreign language requirement.

Students can, with the approval of committee members, change their programs, including their areas of concentration and departmental affiliations after filing the initial program. 


2. Working with Your Committee

MAIS students are required to form a committee consisting of four faculty members: one representing each field of study, plus one Graduate Council Representative. The committee member from your major field of study will serve as your major advisor.

Your committee will hold a formal meeting to approve your program of study, and then again for the oral defense of your thesis or research paper. Communicating with your committee (and especially your advisor) outside these meetings is essential - what you get out of your graduate school experience will in large part be determined by the relationships you form with these faculty. 


3. Your IST Coursework

In addition to the courses you take in your three fields of study, you take two additional courses on interdisciplinary study and research methods: IST 511 and IST 512.

  • IST 511, Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies, is a one-credit course that brings MAIS students together in their first term to teach them how to complete their interdisciplinary program. Students will read about the nature and process of interdisciplinary study, design their program of study, discover and access library and other university resources related to their fields of study, and work on synthesizing aspects of three differing fields.  See a sample syllabus here.
  • IST 512, Applying an Interdisciplinary Perspective, is designed to workshop research proposals and explore further how to synthesize three fields of study into a research goal. Students will develop knowledge and skills in theory, research methods, and practice of approaching problems, issues or events from an interdisciplinary perspective. The final work product from this course will be a thesis or project proposal. See a sample syllabus here.


4. Program Meetings

Your committee will hold two formal meetings in the process of supervising your degree.

  1. The first is to approve your program of study (this one must happen before you complete your first 18 credit hours).
  2. The second meeting will be for the final oral examination of your thesis or research paper/project.

The oral examination is the final defense of your thesis or research paper. Before scheduling your defense, a few things need to happen:

  • You need to have the approval of your major advisor.
  • Your advisor (and ideally, all your committee members) need to approve all the revisions made to your thesis or research paper.
  • You must have a minimum GPA of 3.00 on both your program and cumulative graduate transcript.
  • All course work with a grade of “I” appearing on the program of study must be completed before scheduling the final oral examination. You must schedule your exam with the Graduate School one week in advance to allow time to audit your program of study.
  • You must schedule all examinations required by the Graduate School using the Exam Scheduling Form. You must submit this form at least one week before your committee meetings.

There is additional information that you need to know about program meetings at the Graduate School webpage. You can also check with the Event Coordinator for the Graduate School at 541-737-4881 if you have questions.


5. A Thesis or Research Project

Your MAIS degree program culminates in a work of original, interdisciplinary scholarship.