Guidelines & Policies


Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs (GIDPs) comprise formal PhD and Master’s degree majors, PhD minors, and other interdisciplinary graduate programs. Each GIDP has its own faculty and executive committee that oversees the program. GIDPs are graduate programs only; they do not have formal salaried tenure-track or continuing status faculty appointments per se. Rather, GIDP faculty members participate on a voluntary basis and have their home appointments in other units across campus. A number of GIDPs have names that are similar to closely associated units, which house some affiliated GIDP faculty members and which may collaborate and overlap very closely with the relevant GIDP, but those units report elsewhere. Each GIDP typically has a faculty drawn from schools and departments across multiple colleges.

GIDPs provide stimulus, cohesion and visibility to the scholarly and scientific activities of faculty members engaged in interdisciplinary research and graduate education which cannot effectively be conducted within traditional disciplinary borders. Through their efforts, a broader range of research and training takes place than would otherwise be carried out at the University and their successful and productive research endeavors may ultimately generate new graduate degree program areas.

I. Administrative Structure

a. GIDPs are administratively housed in the Graduate College.

b. GIDPs are centrally coordinated by the GIDP administrative office.

c. The executive administrator for GIDPs is the Dean of the Graduate College.

e. The Associate Director is immediately responsible for central administrative issues of GIDPs and for the daily supervision and management of the administration office and matters associated with the GIDPs. The Associate Director reports to the Dean of the Graduate College.

f. The Dean and Associate Director are advised on issues of policy and administration by the elected GIDP Advisory Council (GIDPAC).

II. Guidelines for the Establishment of Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs

Any request to establish a Graduate Interdisciplinary Program will be evaluated on the basis of the degree to which the proposal meets the following criteria:

a. Significance and interdisciplinary nature of the proposed subject field. The proposed subject area must be of significant potential and require interdisciplinary approaches and the expertise of faculty from several distinct units.

b. Availability of qualified research and teaching faculty. There must be available on campus a critical number of highly qualified research and teaching faculty members representing at least two or more academic units that are committed to joint activities in the area.

c. Support of relevant academic units. The proposed GIDP has the approval and support of the heads and deans of relevant academic departments and colleges.

d. Academic potential. There is a strong likelihood of developing a successful program which will be able to attract academically qualified students and outstanding faculty to participate in the proposed GIDP. If approved and implemented, the proposed program must add to the academic standing and reputation of The University of Arizona.

e. Student support: There must be a viable and sustainable plan for financial support of students in the proposed GIDP.

III. Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs: Structure and Function.

A. Executive Committee.

Each Graduate Interdisciplinary Program will be administered by an Executive Committee, consisting of at least five but not more than ten members appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College. Executive Committee members will serve a stipulated time period in accordance with individual GIDP Bylaws, usually a three to five year term. The Executive Committee shall:

a. Establish Program bylaws. Such bylaws should be reviewed by the Executive Committee annually.

b. Nominate new members to serve on the Executive Committee to ensure continuity.

c. Develop and implement appropriate policies and procedures regarding admissions, curriculum, student supervision, and completion of degree program requirements and establish such standing committees are needed for program operation.

d. Provide broad policy and associated management for the Program, including budgets, funding, and policies for the appointment of new faculty members

e. Plan for future developments in the subject area.

f. Ensure that Academic Program Reviews, consistent with Arizona Board of Regents requirements, are carried out in a timely manner.

g. Provide appropriate opportunities through seminars and forums to facilitate interactions of faculty and graduate students.

h. Review faculty membership annually to ensure active faculty participation in the GIDP.

B. GIDP Chair

The Dean of the Graduate College will appoint a member of the Executive Committee, nominated by its membership, to serve a 3 to 5 year term as Chair, generally renewable, in accordance with individual program bylaws. At the end of a Chair’s term, the Chair will recuse him/herself from the process of nominating and electing a new Chair.  If requested by the GIDP, nominations may be forwarded to the GIDP Administration and GIDP Administration will conduct the election of the new Chair.

The Chair will act on behalf of the Executive Committee to:

a. Convene and chair meetings of the Executive Committee.

b. Serve as lead representative of the GIDP to the University Administration, granting agencies, prospective students, etc.

c. The chair may be called upon to document GIDP contributions of participating faculty for P&T in their home hunts according to University policies and procedures

d. Manage administrative matters according to University regulations.

e. Prepare and submit annual reviews of program activities and accomplishments to the Dean of the Graduate College.

C. Faculty Membership

Graduate Interdisciplinary Program faculty members are proposed for appointment to the Associate Director of Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs by the Executive Committee, based on established criteria in Program Bylaws (including such evidences of scholarly and research productivity as current publications in peer review journals and academic presses, recent service as thesis/dissertation director, etc.).

a. Participating faculty members, generally who are tenured, tenure eligible or tenure-equivalent at The University of Arizona, may serve on Executive Committees.

b. Participating faculty members who are tenured, tenure eligible or tenure equivalent at The University of Arizona may serve on graduate examination committees as members, master's theses directors, and doctoral dissertation directors of graduate examination committees.

c. Participating faculty members who do not hold tenure eligible appointments may request special approval from the Graduate College to serve as members or co-chairs.

d. Participating faculty may hold regular membership, affiliate or associate membership, in accordance with individual GIDP Bylaws.

IV. Academic Programs: Curriculum, Admissions, Evaluation, Student Funding and Monitoring

a. Graduate degree programs will follow all the regulations of the Graduate College with respect to academic content (

b. All GIDP course recommendations, modifications and deletions, after review of the Executive Committee, shall be approved by the GIDP Chair, Associate Director and the Dean.

c. Admissions, Academic Progress, and Annual Evaluation of Graduate Students will be conducted according to Graduate College policies and procedures (

V. Funding

Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs typically require funding to cover: (i) operating costs; administrative and clerical support, program activities such as seminar/forum series; etc. and (ii) financial support for students. Funding sources may include extramural funds (e.g., training grants, research grants), RCM tuition revenue, participating deans, academic unit heads, program fees, and state allocations. In addition, the GIDPs may receive an allocation of scholarship awards and graduate assistantships from the Dean of the Graduate College or the Associate Director of Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs. Participating deans and academic unit heads also provide support through commitment of faculty release time. Accordingly, the allotment of Graduate Assistantships to GIDPs by departments or colleges provides a reciprocally beneficial relationship between academic units and the GIDPs. Further, interdisciplinary courses offered by participating faculty provide additional educational training for graduate students in other academic units.

VI. Faculty Recognition

The University of Arizona recognizes that interdisciplinary scholarship often occurs in areas of tremendous intellectual excitement and advancement of knowledge. Those faculty members who are involved in the Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs should be recognized for the participation at the time they are considered for promotion and tenure, and in consideration of continuing review. Accordingly, the dossier for such faculty members should include an evaluation by the Chair of the relevant GIDP.

Program chairs will submit an evaluation of a faculty member’s contributions to the GIDP to the faculty member’s department for the purposes of annual performance review (peer evaluation), if requested.

VII. Disestablishment of Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs.

A GIDP may be temporarily placed in a state of dormancy or permanently closed.

A. A GIDP may be temporarily closed by the Dean of the Graduate College while assessing the viability of the Program.

B. Generally, GIDPs will be permanently closed, via normal University procedures for closing programs, when:

1. There are no students enrolled in the program or when the student census is so low as to not justify the existence of the program.

2. Program activities decrease below an acceptable level.

3. The Executive Committee, with the approval of the majority of the faculty membership, wishes to close the program or radically change its direction.

VII. Summary

Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs contribute to participating academic units by providing opportunities for attracting outstanding students and faculty to their programs, through increasing enrollments in courses offered by supporting disciplinary areas, and through providing opportunities to degree candidates to extend training in these established disciplinary areas to new areas of knowledge and research. New realms of graduate education, training and research and frontiers of knowledge are made available for faculty, professionals, and students.

Revised & Approved by Dean of the Graduate College November 2022

Revised & Approved by GIDPAC April 2016
Revised & Approved by GIDPAC September 24, 2013
Revised & Approved by GIDP November 22, 2010