While searching for the right degree, the process may be shrouded with uncertainty as you strive to select a program that best matches your interests. Schools are constantly adding programs to fit the desires of incoming students, and even allow the blending of different programs to create a degree with a variety of academic disciplines. Interdisciplinary studies programs allow students to incorporate different disciplines and embark on an educational journey not limited to one specific major or subject.
How Does an Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Differ from a Typical Degree?
On a typical degree path, there is a centralized focus or subject matter that will be examined. Coursework and program requirements include the specialized knowledge students need to succeed in that particular discipline. Interdisciplinary studies, however, blends at least two different disciplines, which enables students to choose coursework that they believe provides the knowledge required to be a dominant force in those fields. There are many reasons for electing to learn multiple disciplines at once, including:
- The ability to gauge interests in different fields
- A wide range of experiences and career preparedness
- A diverse skill-set
- Not limiting to one focus or field of study
- Many organizations value employees who possess multidisciplinary knowledge
How Interdisciplinary Studies Can Aid Career Readiness
During the hiring process, there are many aspects that employers look for in a potential candidate. Employers may be more apt to bring in a candidate that not only has their degree but experience in multiple disciplines. There are many traits employers search for in a potential employee, an article by Liz Ryan, a regular contributor about workplace issues on forbes.com, highlights 12 Qualities Employers Look For When They’re Hiring. Ryan (2016) states that employers hire people who:
- Understand their own path
- Know what they want in their career
- Can point to successes at work or elsewhere
- Know their strengths
- Think independently
- Like to problem-solve
- Have ambition
- Are proactive
- Are happy to learn new things
- Are goal-oriented
- Work well on a team
- Are responsible
While interdisciplinary studies programs are not specifically focused on a particular discipline, there are still many career paths one can choose with this degree. According to an article on Study.com, “Some positions that interdisciplinary program graduates have filled include: entrepreneur, purchasing agent, case manager, machinist, and public relations personnel.” With such diversity in potential career opportunities earning a degree in interdisciplinary studies can equip students with the tools they need to advance professionally.
Pursuing an interdisciplinary studies degree can solidify an individual’s understanding of what they want from life, personally and professionally. The ability to embark on studying two or more subjects at once can serve as a test to measure concrete interest in each subject in addition to how well they will succeed in one or all of those fields. After attaining a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, students can utilize that experience in selecting a master’s program in one of the disciplines they may have focused on while taking undergraduate courses. While these different experiences can illuminate what fields they excel in,they can also reveal where they are weaker, allowing students to make an informed decision on choosing their career path.