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The Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies major is under University Studies.


Humanities & Social Science
Science & Technology
Middle School Education (options for Science, Mathematics, Social Science, Language Arts)

Admission and Progression Standards

Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.

Description of Major

Interdisciplinary liberal studies (IDLS) is the undergraduate major for students pursuing teaching licensure in the following areas: inclusive early childhood (birth-grade 3); elementary (pre K-6); middle grades (6-8) and exceptional education (K-12). IDLS offers extended breadth and integration across content areas of English and language arts, history and social sciences, mathematics, natural sciences and technology. The IDLS major requirements support Virginia teacher licensure competencies. For information concerning IDLS, contact Dr. Scott Paulson, IDLS Director, at 540-568-45675270 at or

ONLY students planning on teaching in the areas of inclusive early childhood (IECE), elementary (ELED), middle grades (MIED) or special education (SPED) major in IDLS. If you choose to declare the IDLS major, you will also declare the pre-professional education program corresponding to your teacher licensure interest. You will NOT major in IDLS if you are interested in teaching at the high school level (with the exception of special education). Future high-school level teachers must major in the relevant discipline (e.g. English, math, Spanish, biology, etc.) and minor in secondary education (SEED). If you are interested in teaching high school history or social studies, contact Dr. Alison Sandman (

Characteristics of Successful Students

Strong communication skills, in both oral and written expression, are very essential. A dedication to learning many subject areas is essential.Leadership ability, patience, enthusiasm, and an ability to handle a variety of situations are also important.


Most IdLS majors will seek teacher licensure, and teaching remains in high demand in Virginia and beyond.

The listing on the Education Programs Career Guide page offers examples of possible career paths, but is not meant to be comprehensive.

Internships and Experiential Opportunities 

Students pursuing teacher licensure are required to have various practicum experiences and to student teach. Student teaching allows students to implement skills and knowledge learned in their teacher education programs under the guidance of a cooperating teacher and university supervisor. These experiences are coordinated through the Education Support Center. Practicum opportunities also exist through other education courses.

View our list of internship coordinators for each major.

Additional Resources to Research Careers
  • Handshake: view new internships and jobs that employers are looking to hire JMU students from your major 
  • Career Outcomes: see where alumni worked or studied right after graduating.
  • GoinGlobal: learn more about employment opportunities overseas as well as H1B visa information for international Dukes pursuing jobs in the U.S.
  • O*NET: browse occupational profiles to learn about thousands of different careers, pulling data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • CareerOneStop: explore thousands of different careers by looking at career profiles 
  • Utilize the LinkedIn Alumni tool to see what others have done with their majors and what their career paths look like. Reach out to alumni via LinkedIn and conduct an informational interview.

© University Career Center, James Madison University

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the JMU University Career Center. Content for each major has been written/reviewed by faculty in the respective department and is revised each year. Requests to update content can be submitted to

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