PhD Programs in Interdisciplinary Studies

Learn about the kinds of interdisciplinary programs that can be combined into a doctoral program. Get tips on selecting fields of study along with information about admission requirements and career options. Schools offering Interdisciplinary Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Study to Earn a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies?

By its nature, a Ph.D. program in interdisciplinary studies includes coursework drawn from multiple departments. Working with an adviser, you'll develop an academic plan that draws upon courses from two or more major fields. It's essential that your studies be divided equitably among different disciplines; if one content area is dominant, then your degree is more like a single-subject doctorate program with one or more minors. In crafting your interdisciplinary plan of study, you'll focus on a unifying theme that bridges several fields.

Once you've established your academic plan, you'll take graduate-level coursework that fulfills your goals. Lecture, seminar or laboratory-based courses will be complemented by independent research. In most cases, your coursework and research will culminate in the completion of a doctoral dissertation. Due to the complex nature of balancing coursework from across multiple departments, Ph.D. programs in interdisciplinary studies are not generally available for online study.

Coursework Types Lecture, seminar, independent research and laboratory-based
Prerequisites Undergraduate or master's degree
Career Outcomes Higher education, researcher
Job Outlook (2016-2026)15% growth (for postsecondary teachers)*
Median Salary (2018)$78,470 (for postsecondary teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are Admissions Requirements?

For admission to a Ph.D. program in interdisciplinary studies at most colleges and universities, you'll need a bachelor's degree and, in some cases, a master's degree or other graduate coursework. You may need to provide evidence of your commitment to doctoral study through the submission of letters of recommendation or a personal essay. You'll also need to submit your scores from a standardized graduate admissions test, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

What Can I Do With This Degree?

As with most Ph.D. programs, a degree in interdisciplinary studies is most relevant if you're interested in a career in teaching at a college or university. Because you'll have expertise in multiple subject areas, you may be qualified to teach in more than one department or field. You also might use this degree to obtain an advanced research position.

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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