Mission Statements: Interdisciplinary Programs


In many of the mission statements colleges and universities I have read, desired to give students an interdisciplinary education. So interdisciplinary programs have attracted my attention when it comes to learning. After learning about teaching methods and how to bring back the desire to learn in education, I wanted to know more. The question I have had constantly I had since that class is: how do universities actually do what we are told is desirable?

First, what is an interdisciplinary program? And how do these differ from an interdisciplinary degree?

From the New York Institute of Technology:

Interdisciplinary Studies offer students the opportunity to put together their own degree program. Based on their interests, they can choose three concentrations in different professional and/or liberal arts areas of study, and sample a number of academic and professional disciplines. This multifaceted approach, which encourages a broad-based education built on a progressive core curriculum, offers the opportunity to tailor a student’s degree toward one or several career fields.”

U. Penn

“Interdisciplinary opportunities at Penn allow students to express their academic creativity and discover new ways of synthesizing information.”

I looked around, but could not find a “interdisciplinary degree” but students were encouraged to work within the system to make their own education more varying.

Virginia Tech:

“Virginia Tech is a premier research university, offering master’s and doctoral degrees through eight academic colleges including interdisciplinary degrees and certificates in a variety of disciplines.”

What was more interesting was that Virginia Tech operated on a program and individual degree level including this list of interdisciplinary doctorate degrees.

The difference I have found between an interdisciplinary degree and a program is that a degree is actually credit based and is a conferred degree upon graduation. An interdisciplinary program is a program that combines different styles of thought and study together to create an atypical learning environment. This can either be through an individual person’s education, or as a group of students working together on a project.



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