Dec 04, 2023  
2016-2017 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Interdisciplinary Studies, M.A. or M.S.

Coordinator: Dr. David L. Doerfert, Professor of Agricultural Education and Communications, Associate Dean of the Graduate School

About the Interdisciplinary Studies Master’s Program

The Master of Arts or Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies is a degree program intended for students who wish to continue education at the graduate level but do not seek specialized training concentrated in a traditional major area. This program is not a substitute for a traditional master’s degree; rather, it is designed for students with broader interests in several fields or for those whose career goals do not match fully with a single identifiable academic unit or department. Emphasis is placed on continued intellectual and cultural development in a constantly changing society in which new career interests may extend over several traditional specializations.

Each program, exclusive of those tracks with required courses, is developed individually according to the student’s interests and background. Among the few restrictions are the requirements that work be taken in at least three different subject areas with typically 12 hours from any one area, within at least two different colleges. Some programs (departments/colleges) have specific prerequisites for students taking their courses so students are encouraged to discuss their options with those program advisors. Most students pursue the 36-hour non-thesis plan, but the thesis option (24 hours of graduate coursework plus 6 hours of thesis [6000]) may be appropriate. For the 36-hour non-thesis option, students may choose the master’s examination, an internship, a project report, or the portfolio as their final comprehensive component of their program.

The standard admission policy for applicants to other degree programs will apply to those seeking admission to the interdisciplinary master’s program. Applicants may submit GRE or GMAT scores and undergraduate records. Students should have a 3.0 GPA on previous graduate work. For further information, contact the coordinator of the program in the Graduate School office.

Students normally select areas of study that meet their own educational and career interests, as described above. However, a number of study themes are identified in the following paragraphs that provide somewhat more specialized focus, while maintaining the interdisciplinary nature of the program as originally approved.

Applied Linguistics

Courses relating to theoretical, descriptive, historical, and applied study of language structure and use may be selected in a plan leading to the degree in interdisciplinary studies. Studies in anthropology, bilingual education, psychology, and speech communication as well as in various languages (American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish) will provide a comprehensive understanding of the discipline. Interested students may contact Dr. Greta Gorsuch, Department of Classical and Modern Languages and  Literatures. See discussion of graduate linguistics in the interdisciplinary programs listed in the opening section of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Environmental Evaluation

Students may gain a holistic view of environmental evaluation by taking courses that focus upon problems and techniques relating to natural resources and their utilization. Work in geography, geology, land and water management, atmospheric sciences, and other disciplines is tailored to each student’s interests. Persons interested in this plan should contact Dr. Jeff Lee in the Department of Geosciences.

International Affairs

This interdisciplinary concentration focuses on problems that are international in scope. Students may focus on problems that are global in nature, such as international business/economics or international security/conflict, or they may focus on problems that are regional in scope. The regions available for emphasis in this program are as follows: Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Post-Soviet Europe. Students will have the Department of Political Science as their home department but will also take courses in and work with faculty from the Department of History, the Department of Economics, or any other department that matches their interests. Interested students should contact Dr. Frank Thames, Department of Political Science, 806.742.4049.

Peirce Studies

Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914), a true American genius, made major contributions to logic, mathematics, language studies, history of science, specific areas of science such as chemistry and physics, and philosophy, among others. His ideas are being explored in fields as diverse as semeiotic and artificial intelligence. Students enrolled in Peirce Studies will normally take 6 to 9 hours of PRAG 5000  and at least 30 additional hours in several defined areas, depending upon each student’s future educational or occupational goals. For details, contact Dr. Kenneth Laine Ketner, director of the Institute for Studies in Pragmaticism, 806.742.3128.

Women’s Studies

The interdisciplinary concentration of graduate work focuses on the changing position of women in society. Selected courses are offered in history, sociology, anthropology, and psychology with related work available in business administration, the humanities, and other areas of the social sciences. An emphasis on women’s studies may be pertinent to careers in education, management, and personnel relations as well as in the administration and delivery of social services to families, women, and children. Interested students should contact the director of the Women’s Studies Program, 806.742.4335,

Other Options

Studies of an interdisciplinary nature offer almost limitless combinations. Students may select from graduate offerings in almost the entire catalog and from the graduate offerings of the School of Law and the Health Sciences Center. Those interested in a customized program should contact Senior Associate Dean Clifford Fedler in the Graduate School or visit the website