In addition to the HCD certificate, HCD offers a doctoral degree. The independent PhD degree is geared for students with a strong interdisciplinary direction. The degree is intended for highly-motivated and self-directed students interested in design and research. Applicants must already have a Masters degree and applications for the iPhD require close contact with existing Virginia Tech faculty in multiple departments to help develop a multidisciplinary PhD proposal and plan of study. This track strikes a balance between intellectual enquiry into creative processes and actual production of creative work. The admission process to the iPhD is based on first identifying a faculty committee from multiple disciplines and colleges. The student then develops with the committee a proposal for a research topic. Those proposals must include their proposed research focus, goals, plan of study, coursework, a planned schedule for exams and research, and the applicant’s advisory committee members. The proposal is vetted by the Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies, drawn from across the University.