This article provides an in-depth overview of the masters in interdisciplinary studies degree program, some of the subject matters and courses that are covered as part of the degree, and why you may want to consider this degree for your personal career advancement. It also presents an online masters in interdisciplinary studies that you could enroll in.
What Is a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies?
A masters in interdisciplinary studies can be either a master of arts or a master of science, depending on the focus of the degree program. Essentially, it enables students to undergo an integrated program made up of at least two different fields. These are unique degrees, therefore, in which students can set their own professional and personal goals. All universities that offer this program do so in a flexible way, whereby students partner with faculty in order to come up with a program of study that is relevant to their personal needs.
In order to be successful in a masters in interdisciplinary studies program, you must be highly self-disciplined and motivated because the program is so non-traditional. You will generally have to create a proposal in which you show the school why you want to combine certain programs of study, how that will be relevant to your personal goals, and that you already have sufficient education at the bachelor’s degree level to meet the educational standards for the different elements of your proposed interdisciplinary studies.
Being interdisciplinary, students can quite literally make up their degree as they see fit. Typically, they must complete between 30 and 48 credit hours in certain fields, such as history, literature, culture, the arts, mathematics, engineering, and science, to name but a few. The curriculum, therefore, is completely different from any other type of graduate degree. It is also highly flexibly, which means that most schools only offer it through part time, distance, and online learning.
Usually, a set number of courses have to be taken, and some schools will require the students to place a greater emphasis on at least one of the areas of their interest. However, due to the nature of this program, there is no standard curriculum with core courses that all masters in interdisciplinary studies will offer. Yet, general courses are commonly required, such as:
- Cultural Studies
- Leadership and Management Skills
- Interdisciplinary Theories
Why Earn a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies?
If you hold a masters in interdisciplinary studies degree, you may have the opportunity to continue on towards earning a doctoral degree in one of the areas that you have chosen for your interdisciplinary studies. There are even some doctoral programs in interdisciplinary studies, which are some of the most unique programs of all. That said, not everybody wants to obtain a doctoral degree. Rather, some may want to have the skills and knowledge that allow them to stay current and have relevant skills in the modern world.
The masters degree in interdisciplinary studies is perfect for those who have an interest in multiple fields. In so doing, they also place themselves apart as someone with multiple skills, many of which are transferable. Hence, they become leaders in a variety of fields, and they are able to bring together different elements that are interlinked although we have previously seen them as separate. Unsurprisingly, this can create a great deal of personal satisfaction. According to a report by Payscale.com, those with a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies earned around $71,500 per year as of April 30, 2016.
Online Option for Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies
If you are interested in a masters in interdisciplinary studies, you may want to consider the degree program offered by Liberty University. This is a master of arts degree and it is offered 100% online. It has been designed to give students the opportunity to choose two separate areas of studies, mastering the skills and knowledge that are related to their personal passions and to their career. Students design their own program in a way that is relevant to their needs, while at the same time obtaining essential management and leadership skills.
Students take part in a number of foundational classes. These have been designed to enable students to synthesize the different areas that they are interested in, creating a cohesive, holistic set of skills that they can apply in the workplace. They can focus on executive leadership, public health, government, religion, counseling, psychology, English, and history.
The program requires 31 credit hours for completion. Furthermore, students can transfer up to 50% of the required program hours, in allowable and approved circumstances.
As an interdisciplinary degree, the program is very flexible, and students can choose from a wealth of areas of concentration. These include:
- Counseling (crisis counseling, marriage and family therapy, life coaching, military residence, pastoral counseling)
- Sport management (sport business and leadership, outdoor adventure sport and tourism management)
- Public and community health
- Exercise science
- Religion (theology and apologetics, discipleship and evangelism, New Testament, Old Testament, global studies)
- Government (criminal justice, international relations, American government)
- Music and worship studies
- Executive leadership
Two core courses are required as part of this degree: Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies and Interdisciplinary Research. Students must then complete 12 credit hours in a chosen area of study, nine credit hours in a second chosen area of study, and six credit hours in elective courses.
Because the study concerns several interdisciplinary areas, degree holders can work in just about any industry, taking on any position of leadership. That said, common job titles for those with this degree include:
- Public relations manager
- Business executive
Clearly, earning a masters in interdisciplinary studies is a fantastic way to advance a career in just about any field. Because students can develop their own degree in terms of its components, they can get to work in virtually any industry, combining different branches of those industries into one, and showing the required leadership and management skills to be successful. During the degree program, students learn how to take two different areas of study and turn them into a cohesive whole, and this is precisely what they will be able to do in the workplace as well. Since the world is in a constant state of change and flux, there is an increased demand for generalists and people who have graduate-level knowledge of different areas. Hence, with a masters in interdisciplinary studies, you will be very much in demand. This, in turn, can lead to a deserved personal and professional pride.
- Master of Arts (MA), Interdisciplinary Studies (IS) Degree Average Salary. (2016, Apr. 30). Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Master_of_Arts_(MA)%2C_Interdisciplinary_Studies_(IS)/Salary
- Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.liberty.edu/online/masters/interdisciplinary-studies/