Minor and Certificate Programs

Bridging Disciplines Programs

The Bridging Disciplines Programs (BDPs) support students in becoming versatile thinkers with the skills to collaborate across disciplines and cultures. The BDPs are designed to complement a student’s major with an individualized plan of study leading to an interdisciplinary certificate in one of the following areas:

  • Children and Society
  • Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies
  • Design Strategies
  • Digital Arts and Media
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Ethics and Leadership in Business
  • Ethics and Leadership in Health Care
  • Ethics and Leadership in Law, Politics, and Government
  • Human Rights and Social Justice
  • Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship
  • Museum Studies
  • Patients, Practitioners, and Cultures of Care
  • Public Policy
  • Smart Cities
  • Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofits
  • Social Inequality, Health, and Policy

Each BDP is overseen by an interdisciplinary faculty panel that sets policy, approves courses, and selects students. Within each broad area, students choose a strand of specialized courses drawn from disciplines across the University. Students are encouraged to use the BDP theme to select courses and integrate degree requirements; to this end, courses taken to fulfill core curriculum requirements, courses fulfilling major requirements, and electives may also be counted toward a BDP. In order to provide students with an interdisciplinary set of perspectives on their BDP topics, the BDP certificate may include no more than one strand course from a student’s major(s), and students will be required to work with a BDP advisor to ensure that the certificate as a whole is interdisciplinary. Participation in undergraduate research, internships and creative projects is also central to the design of the BDPs.

All degree-seeking undergraduates at the University are eligible to apply for the BDPs. With careful planning, a BDP can complement most degree plans. However, because the BDPs build on core requirements and electives, students are encouraged to start early in their University careers. Students using a BDP certificate to satisfy a specific degree requirement should consult their major and BDP advisors about possible restrictions on what courses may simultaneously satisfy BDP and other degree requirements. Because there is significant overlap in program focus and course work, the following majors and BDP certificates may not be combined: 

  • Students majoring in Arts and Entertainment Technology may not pursue the Digital Arts and Media BDP.
  • Students majoring in Environmental Science or Sustainability Studies may not pursue the Environment and Sustainability BDP. 
  • Students majoring in Public Health or Health and Society may not pursue the Public Health strand of the Social Inequality, Health, and Policy BDP; they may, however, pursue other strands within that program.

Undergraduates who complete BDP requirements in conjunction with their degree requirements or within one year after earning the degree receive a certificate and recognition on the University transcript; students in integrated undergraduate/graduate programs must complete certificate requirements within one year after they complete their undergraduate degree requirements. A maximum of nine semester hours of the certificate coursework may be taken after the student has earned the undergraduate degree. At least half of the required certificate coursework must be completed in residence at the University.

Students should request certification from the BDP office when they apply for graduation or when they complete the certificate program, whichever is later. Transcript recognition is awarded at the end of that semester or summer session.

In order to earn a BDP certificate, students must satisfy the following requirements:

At least 19 semester hours of coursework. The distribution of coursework varies by specialization, and students should consult the BDP office for the requirements of each program. For all specializations, the coursework requirements consist of the following:19
Foundation Courses: One to 10 hours in foundation courses that introduce key concepts and methodologies related to the interdisciplinary concentration.
Connecting Experiences: Three to nine hours in undergraduate research, internships, and/or creative project courses that connect students' interdisciplinary concentration to their major.
Courses in a Strand: Six to 12 hours in courses in a strand, which allows students to focus their remaining BDP coursework. 1
A three- to four-page integration essay in which students reflect on what they have learned and accomplished through their BDP experience. 2
Completion of the requirements of a major.
Please Note:
Students must earn a grade of at least C- in each of the courses taken to fulfill BDP requirements and the cumulative grade point average in all courses counting toward a student’s BDP certificate must be at least 2.00. All but one of the courses taken to fulfill BDP requirements must be taken on the letter-grade basis.
At least half of the required course work in the BDP certificate must be completed in residence at The University of Texas at Austin.
1. Course listings for BDP strands are located on the BDP website at http://ugs.utexas.edu/bdp.
2. These essays will be reviewed by members of a BDP faculty panel. Additional guidelines are available from the BDP advisors.

More information about BDPs is available at http://ugs.utexas.edu/bdp.