Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Program Information

Degree programs in interdisciplinary studies are available at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Interdisciplinary students can create their own major by combining various areas of study, such as liberal arts, sciences, business and healthcare, among others.

Essential Information

An interdisciplinary degree is ideal for students who want a well-rounded education and also desire to focus on more than one field of study. Common prerequisites vary, but include senior projects for bachelor's programs, a thesis or exam for master's programs and a dissertation and comprehensive exam for doctoral programs.

Students enrolled in an interdisciplinary studies program choose at least two areas of concentration, usually in disciplines such as history, science, math, cultural studies, media studies, computer science or international relations. Graduates have many career options in diverse fields with an interdisciplinary degree. Employment opportunities may include retail manager, healthcare administrator or university professor, to name a few.

Associate's Degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies

Students who wish to pursue professions with multiple responsibilities--such as in the health care field, which may require both administrative and clinical work--often benefit from an interdisciplinary foundation. This type of degree is also attractive to individuals who attempted college courses in the past but never graduated; they can often apply previously earned credits toward the 2-year degree. Applicants to a 2-year interdisciplinary studies program need a high school diploma or GED, and may be required to meet with an advisor on enrollment. Students are typically required to choose at least two areas of concentration. Typical courses include:

  • Art
  • Computers
  • Business
  • Health
  • Education
  • English literature

Bachelor's Degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies

This 4-year degree is often conferred as a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, and is typically a completion program for students with an associate's degree. A cumulative undergraduate grade of a C or higher is usually required for admittance. Students can combine tracks, such as social and natural sciences, media and film studies, fine arts and humanities or information systems and computer science. Many undergraduate interdisciplinary studies programs are geared toward working adults, and consequently offer part-time, evening and online classes. Interdisciplinary majors at the bachelor's level often participate in an internship and complete a senior project. Common courses include:

  • Geography
  • Accounting
  • Political science
  • Environmental science
  • Philosophy
  • Social theory

Master's Degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies

Applicants to a master's degree program in interdisciplinary studies must have a bachelor's degree, with some programs requiring prerequisite coursework as well. Additionally, applicants must prepare a mission statement specifying intended areas of study and indicating their academic and personal goals.

Interdisciplinary studies master's program are focused on developing students' writing, debating and problem-solving skills. Graduate students must typically select an advisory committee of professors to guide them in creating their own interdisciplinary specializations and in completing a thesis or final examination. Graduate students may also opt to participate in a professional work experience. Classes often consist of:

  • Research methods
  • Statistics
  • Data analysis
  • Cultural and historical studies
  • Critical-thinking seminars

Doctoral Degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies

Applicants to a doctoral degree programs in interdisciplinary studies must have a master's degree, provide reference letters and submit official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores. Doctoral programs in interdisciplinary studies prepare students for scholarly work, and students often participate in fellowships and teaching assistantships. After completing program coursework, students must pass a knowledge and skills evaluation that qualifies them to begin work on their dissertation. After completion of all requirements, they take another final examination. Common courses include:

  • Methods for qualitative examinations
  • Methods for quantitative examinations
  • Leadership development
  • Diverse populations
  • Concepts of data measurement

Popular Career Options

Some graduates of an interdisciplinary degree program are already employed when they begin the program and simply want a degree for career security or advancement possibilities. Typical career titles for graduates of associate's degree programs include:

  • Tutors
  • Retail managers
  • Child care workers
  • Salespersons
  • Administrative assistants

Career options for graduates of bachelor's degree programs in interdisciplinary studies are dependent on the student's chosen topics of study. Graduates may need to apply for additional certifications in order to practice in their field of interest. Those who complete a bachelor's degree program could go on to work as:

  • Teachers
  • Writers
  • Business managers
  • Analysts
  • Public service coordinators

Graduates of master's degree programs in interdisciplinary studies can often find work in schools, government agencies and corporations. Employment opportunities for master's graduates might include:

  • Health care administrator
  • Executive
  • Account manager
  • Community outreach director
  • Environmentalist

Doctoral program graduates in interdisciplinary studies often work in university settings. Job titles for doctoral graduates may include:

  • Professor
  • Researcher
  • Consultant
  • University textbook writer
  • College department head

For students looking to study interdisciplinary degrees, there are a range of program options available at associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Typical career progression includes administrative assistants, teachers, executives and professors.

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