Career Information for a Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies

Students of an interdisciplinary studies program can tailor their education to focus on a specific career or a broad range of occupations. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

Although postsecondary education isn't always required to be an artist, a degree in interdisciplinary studies can be an asset to those pursuing a career in this field. Writers and lawyers can also choose to pursue an undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies. Lawyers also need to continue studies and graduate from law school with a Juris Doctor degree and pass the state bar exam.

Essential Information

In an interdisciplinary studies program, a student can create an individualized course of study that satisfies his or her interests in several areas. Any career field from art and business to more specialized jobs in law, politics or medicine are available to interdisciplinary studies graduates.

Career Artist Writer Lawyer
Education Requirements No requirements but postsecondary education is helpful in attaining a salaried position Bachelor's degree for salaried positions Law degree
Other Requirements Portfolio of past works Portfolio of past works Passage of the state bar and ethics exam
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% (craft and fine artists) 2% 6%
Median Salary (2015)* $42,610 (fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators) $60,250 $115,820

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Interdisciplinary studies programs can include courses in political science, for students interested in careers in politics; writing and communication, for those who'd like to become authors or business professionals; or a variety of humanities courses that can apply to a wide range of careers, like art, or set the groundwork for specialized studies in such fields as law or medicine.


Artists use media, such as paintings and sculptures, or performing arts, such as dance or music, to convey their ideas. A degree in interdisciplinary studies can help future artists by exposing them to a broad range of thought and ideas, helping them to develop individual concepts. They may choose to create an Interdisciplinary studies program that includes business classes that prepare them to promote their work or manage their own gallery. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) warns that while many artists are self-employed, competition in the art world for well-paying work is extremely intense ( The BLS also stated that in 2015, fine artists - including those who paint, illustrate or sculpt - earned a median annual salary of $42,610. Artists projected job growth was 2% from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS.


Writers take ideas and words and turn them into stories, instructions, articles or books. A degree in interdisciplinary studies allows a writer to take courses both on writing and in subjects in which he or she wishes to write about. For instance, prospective finance journalists may wish to create a program that combines classes in economics, finance, technical writing and journalism.

Many writers are employed by magazines or other periodical publications, while a great many others are self-employed and sell work on a freelance basis. Most writers hold at least a bachelor's degree, according to the BLS. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for writers and authors was $60,250 as of May 2015. The projected job growth for writers from 2015 to 2024 is 2%, according to the BLS.


Lawyers, or attorneys, work within the legal system to advise and represent clients, advocate for accused criminals, draft legal documents and determine the stipulations of the law in a variety of contexts. While a professional law degree is required to work as a lawyer, an interdisciplinary studies undergraduate program helps students prepare for law school. Prospective lawyers may combine classes in pre-law and criminal justice with other disciplines, such as psychology, foreign language and even mathematics, to develop the critical thinking that the BLS recommends for future lawyers.

Law school usually lasts three years and culminates in the conferral of a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Following law school, aspiring lawyers must pass the bar exam and an ethics exam in the state in which they hope to practice. The BLS projected this career would grow at an average pace from 2014 to 2024 and noted it is also very competitive. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of lawyers in May 2015 was $115,820.

Interdisciplinary studies degrees allow students to customize their postsecondary education to cover a wide range of interests in their studies. An interdisciplinary studies degree can be an asset to those interested in pursuing careers in fields as varied as art, writing and law. The job growth amongst these professions is expected to be strongest for lawyers from 2014 to 2024, while authors and artists will see nominal job growth in their fields.

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