Interdisciplinary Studies Diploma Program
Since January of 2018, our long-standing and venerable American Studies Diploma Program has been broadened and reshaped in response to changes in the academy, both in the U.S. and around the world. Newly titled the Interdisciplinary Studies Diploma Program, the program is now housed in the Lewis Global Studies Center at Smith, located in Wright Hall, where students and faculty can draw on a wider range of resources and support. The Interdisciplinary Studies Diploma Program will retain much of its original mission and structure, but will be expanded to welcome post-graduate (as well as some advanced undergraduate) students representing a wider array of disciplines, from the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEM fields. As always, Diploma students will have access to the full range of Smith offerings, as well as those from the College’s Five College partners: Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
The program welcomes students both from those schools with whom Smith has formal international affiliations, as well as from many other institutions around the world. The goal of the newly designed program is to welcome young scholars with more diverse backgrounds and to encourage cross-disciplinary thinking, while still requiring both a core seminar in American politics and culture and the expectation of independent research by each student in an area of special interest and expertise.
Diploma students represent an extraordinarily vibrant and creative community at Smith College, and often come away from their year having made life-long friendships.
Candidates for the Diploma Program Must:
- be foreign born
- have completed three years of study or the equivalent in an approved foreign institution of higher learning by the time of entry
- present evidence of English language proficiency in the form of TOEFL and TSE scores, or a certification of fluency and an essay in English on any chosen theme
How to Apply
This is a highly competitive one-year program open only to international men and women students of advanced undergraduate or graduate standing. Learn more about applying to the program.
Applicants may also apply online through the Smith International Travel Experiences System (SITES). Follow the instructions for International Exchange & Interdisciplinary Studies Diploma Program Applicants. After registering with the system, click the "Search Programs" tab. Scroll down and select the appropriate program from the list by clicking the gray "Apply For" button and selecting the term during which you wish to study at Smith College.
The Interdisciplinary Studies Diploma Program at Smith College admits students of any age, sex, race, color, creed, handicap and national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to diploma program students at the college. Learn more.
Interdisciplinary Studies Diploma students take a full course load throughout the academic year. IDP 555: Seminar in American Society and Culture is required. Students take five additional courses in American studies or in one or more of the related disciplines. Students who choose to write a thesis, and whose projects are approved, substitute IDP 570 Diploma Thesis for one of the additional courses. See the Smith Course Catalog for more information.
In addition to classes at Smith, students have the opportunity to study at the other Five College institutions.
More than 450 men and women from around the world have come to Smith College to participate in the Diploma Program. After completing the program, many graduates have continued their studies and research, started teaching, begun careers in journalism, or found work either in international commerce or with nongovernmental agencies.
Colleges and universities in many countries—China, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Taiwan and the United Kingdom—count our alumni among their ranks. Among our former students are a Smith professor, two university presidents, a Fulbright program director, several distinguished print journalists, radio and television anchors, and editors, publishers, civil servants and diplomats.
Alumni actively keep in touch to share their stories and tell about the ways in which their year at Smith helped shape the paths that their lives have taken. Keep in touch through the program's alumni newsletter:
Celebrating 50 Years
More than 50 graduates of Smith’s “foreign legion”—that is, international students who came to Smith for the one-year diploma program—traveled to campus in 2012 to celebrate the program’s 50th anniversary during All-Reunion weekend and to reminisce about what Smith meant—and continues to mean—in their lives.