What Is an Interdisciplinary Studies Degree?

Find out how an interdisciplinary studies program could allow you to customize your degree for your career goals. Learn about degree levels and commonly included concentrations. Schools offering Liberal Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Basics of an Interdisciplinary Studies Program?

An interdisciplinary studies program offers you the chance to individualize your college education by creating a degree program that includes the study of several different fields. Your school may require that your chosen curriculum include courses from multiple departments. Working closely with an advisor, you can form a program of study that most effectively supports your desired goals. Most universities require students to choose an area of concentration around which the rest of their study is formed.

You are encouraged to choose a focus that is interdisciplinary in nature and will be supported by coursework in three or more academic disciplines. The area of concentration must not be similar to an existing major, since the idea is to create a new and unique course of study. Like most other degree programs, an interdisciplinary studies program requires its candidates to complete a set number of general education courses. Some interdisciplinary studies programs offer students a choice of pre-designed areas of concentration.

What Degree Levels Are Available?

A bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies, which may take you around four years to complete, may be conferred as either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. Some of your core degree requirements may change depending which degree you choose to pursue.

Graduate education in interdisciplinary studies is available at the master's and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) levels. These levels may include advanced study such as independent research, teaching of undergraduates and leadership education. When designing a Ph.D. program, you'll be required to include a certain number of hours in research methodology and dissertation research.

What Are Some Potential Concentration Areas?

As part of designing your course of study, you'll need to choose the overall goal or focus of your degree. The following are a few examples of possible concentration areas.

American Studies

This area of concentration aims to help you understand the American experience by drawing information from several interdisciplinary fields. You'll study American culture from a variety of perspectives, including historic, economic, political and artistic. Some potential course subjects are as follows:

  • American political thinking
  • North American Indians
  • American literature
  • American foreign relations

Internet Studies

The goal of this program is to provide you with an understanding of the ways that technological advancements are affecting our world. You'll discuss social, political and cultural aspects of the Internet, and you'll also gain practical technological experience. Some of the course topics associated with this concentration are listed below:

  • Computer science
  • Graphic design
  • Mass media
  • Communication technology

Environmental Policy and Planning

This interdisciplinary studies program introduces you to the many ways that the public may respond to ecological issues. You'll study the process of researching, forming and implementing public policy changes for environmental issues. The following are some topics that may be covered in this concentration:

  • Land use regulations
  • Ethical theory
  • Public policy analysis

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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