Top Schools for Interdisciplinary Studies

Learn about degree programs in interdisciplinary studies, which are typically designed to accommodate students with varied areas of interest. Read about the academic options at four top-notch institutions, and find a list with other schools in the U.S. that offer interdisciplinary studies. View article »

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  • 0:04 School Information
  • 0:51 University of Southern…
  • 1:43 University of Illinois…
  • 2:33 College of William &…
  • 3:25 Duke University in Durham, NC
  • 4:20 Top Interdisciplinary…

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Video Transcript

School Information

Students interested in interdisciplinary studies may enroll in established interdisciplinary programs or design their own interdisciplinary majors, leading to an undergraduate or graduate degree or certificate.

The following represent some of the top schools with interdisciplinary studies programs in the United States. Interdisciplinary studies programs are broad in nature and allow students to take courses from several different departments or areas of study. Degree requirements can vary according to individual student interests and the school.

Four notable schools for interdisciplinary studies are profiled here. Each earned high rankings from U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

1. University of Southern California in Los Angeles

As of 2017, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles ranked 23rd among national universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. It was also listed as a best college by The Princeton Review. Students interested in an Interdisciplinary Studies program can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in one of two areas: Narrative Studies or Health and Humanity. Minors are available in Forensics and Criminality, Photography and Social Change, Consumer Behavior and American Popular Culture.

Once enrolled, Interdisciplinary Studies majors design their own course of study, work on research projects and complete a customized thesis. Students interested in customizing their major belong to a particular honors program, tailor-made for especially driven students who push the boundaries of the current curriculum.

2. University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign

In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign as the 44th-best national university. The university offers 150 undergraduate and over 100 graduate programs in 17 different schools, through which students can pursue interdisciplinary bachelor's degrees in American Civilization, Medieval Civilization or Renaissance Studies.

Minors are also available in Asian American, Latin American, African and Global Studies, in addition to other fields of study. A faculty member oversees each area of study, and advisers are available to help students choose courses.

The Interdisciplinary Studies program is supervised by professors whose own research and courses draw on many academic fields.

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3. College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA

At the College of William and Mary, students pursuing an interdisciplinary education can choose to create their own major or select from a wide array of pre-structured majors and minors that involve the perspectives of multiple departments.

U.S. News & World Report ranked the College of William and Mary 32nd among national universities and sixth among public schools for 2017. The interdisciplinary studies program offers bachelor's degrees in Film Studies, Environmental Science and Policy, Neuroscience and Public Policy.

Minors are available in Biochemistry, Women's Studies and Linguistics. All students complete foundational courses in Writing and Computer Technology and participate in classes from three different departments. Students interested in designing their own majors can do so with the help of a faculty member.

4. Duke University in Durham, NC

Duke University offers a large number of interdisciplinary programs. Undergraduates can choose from interdisciplinary majors like global cultural studies, visual and media studies, and neuroscience. The Focus Program offers freshmen the chance to participate in small seminars. The school also offers Program II, a self-designed major option.

At the graduate level, interdisciplinary programs include analytical political economy, global health, and liberal studies. There are also undergraduate certificate options in topics like decision science and human development, graduate certificates in subjects such as feminist studies and nanoscience and professional certificates in topics like business communication and nursing informatics.

For 2017, Duke was ranked #8 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

Top Schools for Interdisciplinary Studies

There are several other top universities that also have excellent interdisciplinary studies offerings:

School Name Distinction Location
George Washington University Interdisciplinary courses can be found both within the standard curriculum, as well as in independent programs Washington, D.C.
Lehigh University Offers over 20 interdisciplinary programs and initiatives Bethlehem, PA
New York University Offers over 100 different seminars on interdisciplinary topics New York, NY
Purdue University Majors and minors in 14 different programs West Lafayette, IN
University of California - Berkeley Encourages students to study abroad and develop their foreign language skills Berkeley, CA
University of Connecticut Offers internships, fieldwork and international study options Storrs, CT

For students with diverse interests, interdisciplinary studies programs and self-designed program options are available at many of the country's best schools.


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