Interdisciplinary advanced degrees can help students who want to take a less traditional path in their graduate studies.
When planning out a course of study, some students find that they aren’t required to take many courses, even if those courses can benefit them in their intended field of study. They might even be required to take courses that are not relevant to what they’d like to do with their degree. Graduate students who find that many master’s programs are too linear to cater to their specific interests and skills may benefit from pursuing an interdisciplinary degree.
Defining an interdisciplinary graduate degree
Interdisciplinary programs, sometimes called general studies programs, allow students to customize their degrees. Students who take this path can enroll in courses in a variety of subjects, not limiting them to one specific field.
Students might need to choose concentrations when they enroll in an interdisciplinary program. Depending on the graduate schools you plan on applying to, you could focus on one primary field of study or you can choose multiple concentrations. Before selecting your concentration(s), take a look at grad schools’ course offerings to make sure you’re getting the most out of your degree.
Graduate students are typically required to take a variety of general education courses to supplement their primary studies and concentrations. You might need to take a research course, a social science, a communications class or other general education courses.
When you can benefit from an interdisciplinary graduate program
Undergraduates enrolling in an interdisciplinary undergraduate program might do so when they aren’t sure what they want to do in their careers and want to take a variety of courses to help them narrow it down. Graduate students can gain value from these degrees for a different reason. They might already be working in their chosen fields, but want to gain the skills and degree to move up the career ladder or improve their impact in their industry.
Interdisciplinary graduate programs are helpful for students who want to pursue an advanced degree but want a more customized education. They might want to pick certain courses from different paths of study to improve their performance in their careers. It’s rare that a career uses every single course that their degree requires; for instance, a graduate of a Business & Commerce program with a career in marketing may not have gained any value from the required accounting and macroeconomics courses, but might have benefited from a course in advertising.
Examples of interdisciplinary graduate programs
Graduate universities are increasingly embracing the value of a customized major. Some interesting examples of universities that offer interdisciplinary advanced degrees include: