Interdisciplinary or Multidisciplinary Studies

Degree programs in interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary studies allow you to create your own unique course of study and specialize in two or more disciplines. Read on to learn more about degree options and requirements, and make an informed decision about your education and future career.

Are Interdisciplinary or Multidisciplinary Studies for Me?

Overview of the Field

If you're interested in several different yet overlapping fields of study, you might consider a degree in interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary studies. Contrary to popular belief, such programs aren't meant for students who're undecided or want to 'feel out' several different fields of study at once. Rather, they're for students whose educational goals can't be met with a single available degree program. For example, you might choose to combine the study of ethics and biotechnology, aesthetics and computers, women and media or film and journalism.

A clear advantage of interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary studies is the flexibility to design your own program of study. These programs allow you to dictate your own focus and curriculum, although you'll likely be assigned an adviser to assist with and approve your choices. In comparison with other majors, this arrangement gives you more control over your education, which is very appealing to some students.

Career Options

An interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary studies program can prepare you for a variety of different careers, and since the programs are self-designed, it's nearly impossible to list all of the possibilities. However, as a qualified graduate, you may find a position in education, health care, journalism or public relations. A bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary studies could also prepare you for graduate study in many different areas.

How Can I Pursue Interdisciplinary or Multidisciplinary Studies?

Educational Options

Interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary programs can be found at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. An associate's degree in interdisciplinary studies can often be earned in two years of full-time attendance; a bachelor's in the same field of study can usually be completed in four years. Graduate options include 2-year master's degree programs in interdisciplinary studies and interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs that can typically be completed in 4-5 years beyond a master's degree.

Curriculum

What you'll study is up to you, although each school is likely to have some rules governing your curriculum design. For example, you may need to come up with a theme or title for your concentration. You may also be required to take a certain number of courses in the humanities, liberal arts, natural sciences or social sciences. Rather than selecting courses at random, you'll be expected to explain your overall theme and how your chosen disciplines relate to one another. Some restrictions may apply to help you avoid taking too many courses in one area.

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