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Interdisciplinary Studies FAQs
What sets KWU’s Interdisciplinary Studies program apart from other schools?
The Interdisciplinary Studies program provides students with eclectic interests to plan their own flexible interdisciplinary/integrated program. Students blend upper-level courses from several different majors to meet their personal interests, skill sets, and career goals. KWU offers many options for students to combine areas of study (for example: Area Majors, Special Majors, Creative Degrees), but the Interdisciplinary Studies program provides both structure (guidance for how to design your program) and true Liberal Studies breadth, taking classes from truly diverse areas of study.
Similar programs at other schools might be called General Studies majors or Liberal Arts majors, but often these are used merely to help people finish their degree. Our program allows students who would like to major in everything but can’t be in school forever to fit it all together and encourages them to do what they want to do, to think outside the box, to dare to blaze a new path.
How do I know if this program is for me?
The IDS program is designed for students who have lots of different interests and talents, and who want to combine their studies in a new and personal way, outside of the traditional major/minor or double major sort of way. IDS majors earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, which can take one of two forms: Breadth (3 areas of concentration) or Depth (2 areas of concentration). Areas of concentration are Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Fine Arts, or Physical Health. They can then take any classes they want from those broad groups, as long as they meet the required number of junior- and senior-level courses.
What can I expect from the program?
The curriculum in Interdisciplinary Studies is designed by you in cooperation with one or more interdisciplinary advisors. The coursework need not be in a single department, but could be spread between any number of departments in the division. Also, the major requires that you take courses from more than one distinct division, so that you are connecting courses from sometimes widely different disciplines.
This is not a program where you are told what to take. This is a program where you are in charge of your choices and you are responsible for designing a program that is tailor-made, just for you.
This also means that you can expect to be responsible to make connections, to see relevance and application from one area of study to another. You get to apply theories and methods of one area of study to your other areas of study, and see new relationships in new ways.
What are the job opportunities like following graduation?
An Interdisciplinary Studies major develops the ability to analyze and synthesize diverse theory and practice to an identified area of interest. It is particularly good for fields where a strong liberal arts background is desired; for example, graduate studies in traditional liberal arts disciplines, law, business, government, and teaching.
Most first jobs for graduates do not require a specific degree, employers merely are looking for an ability to think, communicate, learn, analyze and solve problems, work with people, and be, above all, adaptable. An Interdisciplinary Studies major allows the student to do this by providing a broad base of advanced studies in a variety of disciplines.
How can I be involved with the department outside of the classroom?
Each student in Interdisciplinary Studies completes a capstone interdisciplinary experience – a special study experience, headed by a faculty in one of your areas of concentration. This project allows you to integrate what you have learned into a coherent package, and can serve as a special stepping-stone to graduate school or your first job.
What would a suggested first year course schedule look like for someone in your program?
The first year is one of preparation; because the IDS program targets upper-level coursework, most students don’t meet major requirements until later in their academic careers. The first year is spent setting the foundation for future work, learning writing, mathematics, and oral communication skills, in addition to exploring other aspects of the Liberal Arts curriculum. However, for the Interdisciplinary Studies student, it is useful for the first year to take introductory and prerequisite courses for one’s various areas of concentration.