Frequently Asked Questions

What is the BDIC Major?

BDIC is short for “Bachelor’s Degree with Individualized Concentration.”  The BDIC Major allows students to design their own individualized, interdisciplinary programs in areas that are not covered by traditional majors at UMass Amherst.

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How do I find out if BDIC is a good choice for me?

Come to the BDIC office in 350 Campus Center Way for a consultation. You will meet with a Peer Advisor, a current BDIC major, to talk about your ideas and whether BDIC is a good match for you?

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Where do BDIC students sit at graduation?

BDIC students sit together near the front at the spring Undergraduate Commencement ceremony at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.  BDIC students have a reputation for being among the loudest at graduation.  BDIC then has its own Senior Recognition ceremony as well, where every graduating senior is recognized individually.  This is a nice event for families and includes a beautiful slideshow of graduating seniors and their concentrations.  All students are asked to submit a photo of themselves for this, ideally one that reflects their BDIC concentration in some fashion.  Tickets are not required for the BDIC Recognition ceremony. 

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Can I design my own version of an existing major through BDIC?

No! BDIC cannot be used to redesign an existing major, such as Biology or History

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How do I become a BDIC major?

Admission into the BDIC major is a multi-step process.  The first step is to submit an Application for placement in the BDIC Proposal Writing Class (BDIC 396P).  This is where you formulate your proposed BDIC program in detail.  At the end of the class, you submit your Proposal for approval and admission into the BDIC Major. 

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I am a freshman and I definitely anticipate joining BDIC. What steps should I take?

Come to the BDIC office to familiarize yourself with our requirements so you can start planning your future course work. Try to satisfy as many General Education requirements as well as prerequisites to future upper-level BDIC-related courses as possible before you start your program as a first-semester sophomore.

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How long does it take to complete a BDIC major?

The BDIC major requires a minimum of 4 semesters in the program.  However this can include a summer semester.  This makes it possible to start the BDIC major as late as the second semester of Junior year.  However, the earlier you get started in BDIC the more complete a job you can do covering your area of interest.

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Can I change the courses in my BDIC concentration?

Yes.  You can change your BDIC course list.  In fact most students make at least a few changes before graduation, for any number of reasons -  the focus of your concentration may have evolved over time; you may not be able to get into a course;  a course may no longer be offered; a new course that interests you becomes available.

Recall, however, that your BDIC course list represents a kind of contract.  By accepting your proposal BDIC has agreed to award you a Bachelor's Degree, if you follow through and take the courses you have listed.  Any changes you wish to make to your course list need to be approved in order for this contract to still hold.

To change your course list, you submit a Changes to Concentration form, which must be approved by both your Sponsor and your BDIC Faculty Supervisor.  The form asks you to briefly state why you are not taking the course(s) you want to drop from your course list and why the course(s) you want to take make sense as part of your BDIC concentration. 

Ideally, change forms are submitted nad new courses are approved prior to the begining of the course.  If change forms are submitted after a course is already under way, or completed, there is the risk that the change will not be approved.

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Can I change the title of my BDIC concentration?

Yes.  Use the BDIC Changes to Concentration form.  You should attach a brief explanation of why your new choice of title is preferable, e.g. it might be shorter and catchier, or it might do a better job characterizing the focus of your concentration.  Your change of title needs to be approved by your Sponsor and BDIC Faculty Supervisor.

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Can I begin BDIC as a first or second-semester junior, or as a transfer student?

Very likely - Yes.  You should come to the BDIC office in 350 Campus Center Way as soon as possible to discuss your situation and get started with the admission process.

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Can I change my Sponsor?

Yes.  Although most BDIC majors work with the same Sponsor through graduation, there are a number of reasons why you may want, or need, to make a change - your Sponsor has left UMass; your Sponsor is over-commited and doesn't find the time to meet with you; the focus of your concentration has changed and a new Sponsor is more appropriate.

To change your Sponsor, submit a BDIC Changes to Concentration form and attach a brief statement explaining the reason for the change and why your new choice makes sense.  This form should be signed by your new Sponsor, indicating their agreement to serve in this capacity, and needs to be approved by your BDIC Faculty Supervisor.

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Does BDIC have a foreign language requirement?

The foreign language requirement may not apply to every BDIC student. Your BDIC faculty supervisor will decide whether or not you need a foreign language on the basis of your concentration area.

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What will it say on my diploma if I am a BDIC major?

The diploma will read, “Bachelor of Arts (or Science) with Individual Concentration” and the transcript will read, “. . .with a concentration in your field.” In order to receive the Bachelor of Science degree, the student must complete at least 60 credits in the sciences.

Students will also be awarded a certificate recognizing their individualized concentration. Certificates are issued by the BDIC office and are sent to students in a separate mailer than the student's UMass diploma.

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Can classes from before I entered the program count towards my BDIC major?

You may be allowed to count a maximum of 12 credits from the three semesters preceeding your enrollment in the Proposal Writing Class (BDIC 396P), provided that they are relevant for your BDIC concentration.  A minimum of 2 semesters of BDIC work must be completed following the semester you are enrolled in the Proposal Writing Class. See the Proposal Writing Guidelines for further information.

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How do I register for ISOM classes?

Courses in the School of Management are frequently overenrolled and difficult to get into.  BDIC majors should submit ISOM course requests for the upcoming semester through the "ISOM Course Request Form" on the Forms and Documents page.

You should keep the following points in mind...
• BDIC majors may include a maximum of four courses (including the 301 courses) from the Isenberg School of Management in their BDIC program.
• Being a BDIC major does not guarantee you admission to any ISOM course. BDIC students are not precluded from enrolling in Isenberg courses, but they have the same priority as students from non-ISOM departments. ISOM professors will not  accept the plea that you need a specific course for graduation etc. any more than they would accept such a plea from one of the other non-ISOM majors.
• For each Isenberg course that you include in your BDIC proposal, you should also list an alternative non-ISOM course and be prepared to take it should you not be able to enroll in your first choice.

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Can I do a double major with BDIC?

Yes.  Many BDIC students do double majors.  Some have BDIC as their primary major.  Others have BDIC as a secondary major. 

For some students, their BDIC concentration complements their traditional major.  A recent example is a BDIC concentration in "Integrated Labor Studies" together with an Economics major.  Some pre-med students combine a hard science major with a BDIC concentration that relates to their interests in human health.  Other students have second majors that are unrelated to their BDIC concentrations.

The general rule is that at most two classes from your second major may be counted towards your BDIC concentration as well.  In addition, you only need to take one Junior Year Writing class.

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How does the JYW requirement work for BDIC students?

“BDIC Majors take BDIC 350- Junior Year Writing. In order to take a JYW course in an another department, students must petition for permission prior to enrollment. Petitions will not be accepted after drop/add period or after taking a class.”

Note that the JYW course does not count towards the 12 course/36 credit BDIC concentration requirement.

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Can I do a semester abroad or domestic exchange as a BDIC major?

Yes!  A great many BDIC students study abroad or do domestic exchanges.  Talk to the BDIC Assistant Director or Peer Advisors for advice on making this part of your program. 

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Can 200 level classes be included in my BDIC curriculum?

No.  The BDIC requirements call for a minimum of 12 classes/36 credits at the 300+ level or above.  

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How can I apply to be a BDIC Peer Advisor?

Peer Advisors are key to the BDIC Program.  Prospective students come into the office and immediately get to talk to someone who both knows the process inside and out and has been through it themselves.

The BDIC program hires roughly three new Peer Advisors each year.  If you have questions about the position, please talk to one or more of the Peer Advisors themselves, or make an appointment to talk to BDIC Assistant Director Rebecca Schwartz.  If you would like to apply, please contact the BDIC office.

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How many internships or independent studies can I do?

Only a maximum of 9 total credits of internships and independent studies (with a max of 6 in either category) can count towards your 12 class/36 credit BDIC concentration requirement.  You are always free to go beyond this (and many BDIC students do), but the additional credits won’t count towards the requirement.

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Can I include Five College classes in my BDIC curriculum? Is there a limit on the number?

Absolutely!  Many BDIC majors include Five College classes in their curricula.  There is no limit on the number of Five College classes.

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Can I minor in BDIC?

No.  There is no BDIC minor.

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