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Interdisciplinary Studies Diploma Program

American Studies Diploma Class of 2017

In 2018, the American Studies Diploma Program was renamed the Interdisciplinary Studies Diploma Program. The Interdisciplinary Studies Diploma Program is a one-year program serving postgraduate or advanced undergraduate international exchange students, primarily affiliated with Smith College through our international university affiliations. The program contributes to an interdisciplinary understanding of students' major fields of study, consistent with a liberal arts education, as well as possibilities for lifelong lessons and friendships. Diploma students arrive at Smith with a diverse array of scholarly interests and work together to fashion an extraordinarily vibrant and creative intellectual community.

Students take a full course-load throughout the entire academic year, including a special fall semester Diploma Program seminar, American Society and Culture, and three courses in the student's field of specialization. In addition to classes at Smith College, students have the opportunity to study at the other Five College institutions (Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.) Finally, all students prepare a diploma research proposal (subject to approval) in their fall semester, and complete this project or equivalent research in the spring.


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.

Students can prepare a diploma research proposal (subject to approval) in their fall semester, and complete this project or equivalent research in the spring.


Our Students

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:

PDF icon2017 Newsletter

PDF icon2016 Newsletter

PDF icon2015 Newsletter

PDF icon2014 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.


Interdisciplinary Studies Diploma Program

Lewis Global Studies Center
Wright Hall 122
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-7598

Program Director: Lane Hall-Witt
Graduate Study Program Coordinator: Ruth Morgan