Program Overview

Interdisciplinary Studies Program Overview

Interdisciplinary Studies provides students with the opportunity to construct, with intensive consultation and advice, a 36-credit interdisciplinary “major equivalent” that is not restricted to conventional departmental or unit boundaries. While the program encourages the creation of highly individualized degrees, it serves to accommodate students in a variety of fields that lack an undergraduate major and are interdisciplinary by their very nature. These include, among others: Aquaculture, Criminology, Cognitive Science, Environmental Studies, International Studies, Linguistics, Sustainability Studies, Translation & Interpretation, Health Studies and other Pre-Professional programs.

Objectives of the Program:

Our main goal is to foster critical interdisciplinary thinking on the part of students who are obliged to articulate a “proposal,” which defines an interdisciplinary inquiry. Thus, students must construct, under advisement, a 36 credit upper-division program of study, which draws on not less than three Departments in the University. To do so, they must come to an understanding of the immense possibilities available in the University as represented in the UHM catalogue, and then see how the various courses in their programs integrate into an intellectual whole. A critical feature of this process is the writing of a  ”narrative,” a clear statement of the rationale for the course of study. Once engaged in the course of study, the IS major is a unique opportunity for students, regardless of the immediate motivations in any single course, to see that there are important connections as regards what occurs in the world and that they need to get clear on these connections in problem-solving. During the mentoring sessions, the student learning objectives are:

The main goal of the Interdisciplinary Program is to foster critical interdisciplinary thinking on the part of students who construct, under advisement, a 36 credit upper-division program of study, which draws on not less than three Departments in the University. The Program Learning Outcomes are:

  1. To demonstrate knowledge in the chosen area of their interdisciplinary major.
  2. To demonstrate the capacity to think across disciplines. (We encourage students to be problem-focused, rather than discipline-oriented, and to recognize that information pertinent to problem-solution is not discipline-bound.)
  3. To communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. (The writing of a narrative, which justifies the array of courses in the program, is the first step in developing this capacity.)
  4. To demonstrate critical thinking, encouraged, perhaps uniquely, not only by the effort to construct individualized BA programs, but by pressing students to expand the context and forms of inquiry.
  5. To demonstrate “learning to learn” skills or ‘problem-solving” skills, which begins with the construction of the specifics of the major, requires initiative in determining what needs to be investigated and how it is to be investigated.

(Click here for a Sample Proposal.)