Major in Interdisciplinary Studies
Interdisciplinary studies involves thinking about issues and problems from more than one disciplinary perspective. We live in a complex world, and many of the challenges that confront us require complex responses. An interdisciplinary studies major will encourage you to cross boundaries in the analysis of problems, integrating disciplinary methods, ideas and actions.
This major allows you to combine two different fields to best suit your interests and career plans. The program looks like this:
- The gateway class to the major is HUM 151 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies. This class will give you tools for interdisciplinary study that you can apply to the fields of your choice.
- You then complete at least 18 credits in 2 different disciplines or concentrations. At least 1 of the concentrations must be from the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences, and at least 6 credits in each concentration must be at the 300 or 400 level. All existing minors can be used as the framework for building a concentration (all the requirements for the minor must be followed), and admission to the major requires a written rationale for the two concentrations you’ve selected.
- After you’ve finished the classes in your 2 concentrations you take the capstone class for the major: HUM 451 Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies. In this class you will complete a final interdisciplinary project that brings together your 2 concentrations.
- Here are some examples of how you can use this interdisciplinary major to prepare for graduate study and for a career:
- Biology + Anthropology/Sociology: great preparation for study and work in public health.
- Justice and Law Administration + Political Science: excellent preparation for law school and careers in politics and government.
- Psychology + Marketing: a great combination for careers involving market research and advertising.
- Management + Professional Writing: excellent for administrative careers in any field.
- Economics + Philosophy: great for law school and legal careers generally (those two majors are consistently the top 2 for LSAT scores).
- Biology + English: combining a natural science discipline such as biology and a humanities discipline such as English is excellent preparation for a career in health care.
- Mathematics + Computer Science: a great combination to prepare for a job in software engineering.
- Since the concentrations in this interdisciplinary program can come from any field (as long as at least one of them is a traditional liberal arts discipline from the School of Arts and Sciences), it’s not an exaggeration to say that this major can prepare you for any type of graduate study and any career.
Students who complete the B. A. in Interdisciplinary Studies will be able to:
(1) Defend the combination of concentrations that they chose for their major as a productive alliance. Students will be able to argue convincingly that the two concentrations that they chose can be used together in a complementary way to produce a more complete understanding of complex ideas and problems.
(2) Create and present a senior capstone project that successfully integrates the methods and perspectives of their two concentrations in a creative, thoughtful and educational way.
(3) Demonstrate an understanding of the strengths of interdisciplinary studies in general, beyond the two specific concentrations that they chose for their program. This entails being able to explain the essential characteristics of a question that is by nature interdisciplinary, and also being able to give examples from history of problems that were successfully solved using an interdisciplinary approach.
(4) Demonstrate an understanding of the limitations of interdisciplinary studies. This entails being able to explain the essential characteristics of a question that is by nature not interdisciplinary, and also being able to give examples from history of problems for which an interdisciplinary approach would have been a mistake.
(5) Demonstrate skills of insightful interpretation, logical analysis, articulate communication in speech and writing, openness to new ideas, and the ability to adapt creatively to change—all of which are essential for success in any profession.
If you have any questions about the Interdisciplinary Major please contact:
Dr. Çiğdem Üsekes
Department of Philosophy and Humanistic Studies
office: White Hall 021C