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College of Arts & Sciences Interdisciplinary Programs

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If you’re interested in integrating a variety of subjects, an interdisciplinary program might be what you’re looking for. These programs combine complementary academic areas to better prepare you for certain careers or to give you a broader view of a field of study.

Interdisciplinary (INTD) Studies foster the acquisition of foundational knowledge, promote integration of ideas from multiple disciplines and provide insight on how to apply knowledge, all of which advance a student’s understanding of how to learn. Students are encouraged to account for the contribution of disciplines that highlight the roles of caring and social interaction when analyzing problems. The structure of interdisciplinary learning is consistent with the core features of Significant Learning.

Learning outcomes for Interdisciplinary Studies:

INTD Studies help students overcome a tendency to maintain preconceived notions. This is accomplished by recognizing the source of the preexisting understandings they arrive with, and by introducing students to subject matter from a variety of perspectives that challenge their existing notions. Interdisciplinary instruction accomplishes this by helping students identify insights from a range of disciplines that contribute to an understanding of the issue under consideration and by helping them develop the ability to integrate concepts and ideas from these disciplines into a broader conceptual framework of analysis.
INTD Studies help students acquire Perspective-Taking Techniques (Baloche, Hynes, and Berger 1996), which address the capacity to understand multiple viewpoints on a given topic. Students develop an appreciation of the differences between disciplines on how to approach a problem and their discipline-specific rules regarding viable evidence. This leads to a broader understanding of the issue under investigation. Simultaneously, students will develop Structural Knowledge - both declarative knowledge (factual information) and procedural knowledge (process-based information) which will allow them to integrate conflicting insights from alternative disciplines.
INTD Studies help students understand why conflicts commonly arise, the causes and consequences of an issue and the ideal way for police to address the issue of concern. When learning is confined to a single disciplinary perspective, ambiguity is often considered either a shortcoming of the analytical framework or evidence that assumptions need to be adopted to provide a clear prediction. Interdisciplinary instruction advances the notion that ambiguity results from alternative perspectives on issues that are advanced by different disciplines rather than a shortcoming of a particular discipline. Students acquire a better understanding of the complexity of problems of interest and the associated challenges of solving them.
INTD Studies help students understand that there are ethical dimensions to most issues of concern. Ethical considerations entail moral concerns, which means accounting for perceptions of right vs. wrong, good vs. bad and the provision of justice. Many disciplines steer clear of such subjective phenomena and confine their analysis to more objective factors in an effort to be scientific. Interdisciplinary instruction, by contrast, promotes the integration of ideas from relevant disciplines, including moral philosophy when exploring an issue so ethical considerations are often part of an interdisciplinary examination of an issue.
Significant Learning (Finke, 2003) takes place when meaningful and lasting classroom experiences occur. Fink identifies six elements of the educational process that lead to significant learning and each of these is a common feature of interdisciplinary forms of instruction:
  • Foundational knowledge - acquiring information and understanding ideas
  • Application - acquiring an understanding of how and when to use skills
  • Integration - the capacity to connect ideas
  • Human Dimension - recognition of the social and personal implications of issues
  • Caring - acknowledgment of the role of feelings, interests and values
  • Learning How-to-Learn - obtaining insights into the process of learning

Majors

Digital Media Studies

The Digital Media Studies major is an interdisciplinary program that includes courses in Art & Design, Communication, English and Math & Computer Science. The major gives you a well-rounded background in content, visual design and computer programming to prepare you for jobs that require a wide range of digital skills and media knowledge.

Environmental Sustainability

Environmental Sustainability combines environmental problems with social sciences and the humanities.

The Environmental Sustainability major offers an interdisciplinary program that is especially well-suited for students who are interested in the environment and solving environmental problems, but are less interested in scientific work. The program has a strong social sciences and humanities component, offers several internship opportunities, and pairs well with other majors or minors.

Experience Design

Experience design incorporates methods and research from various academic disciplines to help students develop a broad design perspective for multi-sensory experiences. Experience designers create and manage both real and virtual experiences in a variety of settings, including theme parks, museum and cultural attractions, entertainment venues, sporting events, schools, and even video games and other virtual environments.

International Relations

International relations takes a cross-disciplinary approach to global affairs.

International relations takes a cross-disciplinary approach to global affairs. Students study both history and current affairs from a global perspective, and also complete higher level foreign language courses. In addition to the bachelor's program, UIndy is the only school in Indiana to offer a master's degree in international relations.

Minors

Gender Studies

Gender Studies is the interdisciplinary, scientific, and critical study of how assumptions and expectations about gender and biological sex influence cultural, social, and political ideas about women and men. The Gender Studies minor is open to all students and, due to its interdisciplinary nature, is suitable for students with a wide variety of majors, including health sciences, business, education, social and natural sciences, humanities and the arts.