Deciding on a major can be daunting for a new student, and sometimes even for students already moving along their academic path. Studying new subjects can ignite new passions, or illuminate new career possibilities.

At Boise State, students can combine their passions in unique ways. The Triple Discipline program, officially rolled out this fall, allows students to combine any three minors into a major through the interdisciplinary studies program.

“Giving students the ability to design their own degree plan is incredibly empowering,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Tony Roark, who helped first envision the program. “Because our Triple Discipline model for interdisciplinary studies draws on minors and certificates, students can combine ready-made curricular ‘chunks’ right off the shelf, meaning there are tens of thousands — in reality more than fifty thousand — possibilities.”

“A lot of students struggle with their major. They may love mechanical engineering or be really good at math and physics, or the arts. Being able to choose and combine three things you are interested in and focus on a more detailed level has given me a different perspective on my academics.” – Marijke Vanderschaaf

For junior Marijke Vanderschaaf, who came to Boise from her hometown of Snomish, Washington, to join the women’s basketball team, applied math, physics and leadership in human relations felt like the best combination. She hopes to work in the renewable energy industry.

“I had declared mechanical engineering as my major when I was a freshman, and I came here knowing I wanted to do something in the STEM fields but when I got to the upper-division engineering courses, it wasn’t the best fit for me,” she said.

She heard about the new Triple Discipline program over the summer.

“As a student athlete I have so much help, from academic advisers to people in the Career Center, there are a ton of people who really help you figure out what you want to do and give you the opportunities to do it, and I think this program brought it to life for me.”

For other students, the Triple Discipline program can help prepare them for law school, or let them mix business skills with health sciences, for example, to help them develop valuable workplace skills.

The program is open to any student from any college, with any major.

Academic advisor John McGuire and program coordinator Bree Mead have worked with departments across campus to customize degree options to best meet students’ needs. More than 20 students are already taking advantage of the Triple Discipline program that rolled out this fall.

In some cases, a double major has been the best option. But they are finding, particularly with a number of first-year and sophomore students, three minors add up nicely. “These students are interested in constructing a customized experience, one that combines their interests and provides them with a very unique skillset,” McGuire said. “That benefits them, as well as their future employers.”

Some Triple Discipline combinations students are currently pursuing
Philosophy, Political Science, English
Biology, Psychology, Geospatial Information Analysis
Technical Communication, Visual Arts, Design Ethnography
Communication, Business Bridge to Career, Nonprofit Management
English, Visual Arts, Business Bridge to Career
History, Philosophy, Dispute Resolution
Psychology, Biology, Technical Communication
Communication, Leadership and Human Relations,
Business Bridge to Career
Communication, Linguistics, Political Science
Theatre Arts, American Sign Language, Communication
Communication, Nonprofit Management, Family Studies
English, History, Technical Communication
Theatre Arts, Ethnic Studies, English
Psychology, Design Ethnography, Technical Communication
Biology, Communication, Business Bridge to Career
French, Political Science, Refugee Studies