Welcome to the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs! We are the office that provides administrative support to the many exciting interdisciplinary units in the College of Arts and Science (CAS). Among our many responsibilities, we maintain records, assist students and faculty, and coordinate dozens of events each semester.
In CAS, we have 20 interdisciplinary programs in areas as diverse as Health, Medicine, and Society, Africana Studies, Cognitive Science, Sustainable Development, Asian Studies. While each unit has its independent identity, you will often find them in close collaboration when it comes to curriculum, scholarship, and hosting co-curricular events. Collectively our programs offer a wide range of undergraduate minors and majors as well as graduate certificates and masters degrees.
What is an interdisciplinary program?
In addition to excellent traditional academic departments, the College of Arts and Sciences offers a wide range of curricular and other programs that span and incorporate many academic disciplines. Interdisciplinary work therefore requires students and faculty to work with a broad array of knowledge suited to approaching complex problems. For example, a faculty member in Women, Gender, and Sexuality might incorporate methods and knowledge from the fields of sociology, history, and psychology to understand workplace sexual harassment. Scholarship in American Studies might involve the use of primary historical documents, interview and survey data, or documentary film to examine a trend in American culture. A class in Latin American and Latino Studies might incorporate language, art, politics, and religion. Fieldwork in Sustainable Development might require knowledge of economics and gender dynamics in addition to environmental science.
Why pursue interdisciplinary studies?
A top notch 21st Century education recognizes that no one discipline provides the answers. Increasingly, the complexity of today’s problems requires that we reach for creative solutions that come through interdisciplinary approaches. Both students and faculty find that interdisciplinary studies are challenging. They require us to stretch beyond our comfort zone and exercise flexibility in our thinking through the application of a multiplicity of methods and theoretical traditions. These are the tools that help us face the compelling issues of our day.
Students can choose an interdisciplinary major as their primary focus or combine interdisciplinary minors and majors with disciplinary programs or with each other. Imagine combining Global Studies with Sustainable Development or Sociology or combining Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with Art or Psychology. Faculty have an academic “home” in a department, but maintain different levels of commitment and involvement with a range of interdisciplinary programs. You can get a sense of the richness of these programs by examining their websites. Just click onto any of our programs listed on the left-side of this page.