A new program at Boise State offers a non-traditional way for students to earn a degree

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With 91 undergraduate programs to choose from at Boise State University,  many options are readily available for students when deciding what degree they want to earn. Even so, there are students who remain undecided, have multiple interests or have decided their current major is not right for them. In 2017, a new program was introduced to campus to help those who want to create a more customized major: the triple discipline (3D) program.

The 3D program allows students to put together three minors that will constitute as one major when they graduate and operates within the interdisciplinary studies program. Bree Mead was the advisor who started the triple discipline program. 

“It was an idea from the dean’s office of the College of Arts and Sciences,” Mead said. “They wanted to be able to allow students to customize their own unique degree, without going through the graduate level of expectations of the traditional version of this major.”

Certain guidelines are set to make the program most beneficial for students, however. When picking three minors, students must create a plan showing how the minors will create a solid degree for their future. 

“We call it triple discipline because it’s comprised of three disciplines; it can include both minors and certificates,” Mead said. “Students will work with advisors to create that combination of three that will best work for them.”

Olivia Aleman, a senior 3D major, enrolled in the program when she was a sophomore. Aleman was formerly a psychology major, but knew she wanted to incorporate other areas of study, such as art, into her degree.  

“I went to my advisor, who transferred me to Bree Mead and introduced me to this program,” Aleman said. “My three minors are psychology, art and family studies. Bree had told me I needed to formulate this presentation on how I will use these three minors to make sure this is beneficial for my future and the right path for me.”

The 3D program includes benefits to students that they may not feel would pertain to them if they were on the traditional major path. These benefits may include creating a more personal degree and inspiring them to think outside the box. 

“I feel more motivated in my major because I created this myself,” Aleman said. “I think that’s the biggest benefit that this program offers.” 

Abbey Turpin, a junior 3D major, is starting her first semester in the program. With a goal of going to Bastyr University for naturopathic medicine, the 3D program stood out to Turpin as the best way to earn the type of degree she needed from Boise State. 

“Bastyr doesn’t require a particular major, they just require you to hit a certain amount of prerequisites to get into the medical program,” Turpin said. “My three disciplines will be communication, chemistry or dance, and then I already have a Spanish certificate that will count as one of the three disciplines.”

Mead discussed how the program enables students to start thinking about their future and what type of degree will benefit them the most. Allowing students to create their own major also intends to encourage students to feel more in control of their education. 

“Since students are picking the three disciplines, they are aware of every single class they will be taking and, therefore, they know why they’re taking it,” Mead said. “It allows students to increase their intentionality with their studies and start forward thinking about life after graduation.” 

With the 3D program rapidly growing, Mead offered some advice for those considering the path of their degree and wondering if it’s right for them.

“Students who are interested should do research prior to meeting with an advisor, so that way when they come to do triple discipline, they have done the research as much as they can, allowing them to have an idea of what they want to do post-graduation,” Mead said. “From there, they can construct the degree that’s going to get them the skills they need.”

For more information regarding the triple discipline program, contact the Center for Advising and Student Success. 

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