Interdisciplinary Studies is a major that requires coursework to be taken in more than one academic area. This degree was formerly called General Studies Option II, but in fall, 2011, it was changed to its current name. The reason for the name change was to better distinguish it from "general" education requirements and to emphasize its requirement of at least two subject areas, rather than simply taking an assortment of "general" courses.
You have to have at least 45 credits to declare this major. Students selecting Interdisciplinary studies over the years have done so for a variety of reasons. They include having an interest in taking courses in two or more academic disciplines, having a dissatisfaction of their current major, being unable to maintain a 2.5 or 3.0 GPA of certain majors, or wanting more flexibility in course selection.
Why would you want to consider Interdisciplinary Studies?
1. Academic variety Interdisciplinary Studies offers a wide variety of coursework under many different disciplines. In this program, you build your major to fit your individual needs or desires, instead of meeting the more structured requirements of other majors. Interdisciplinary Studies is perfect for self-starters who are looking to create a college experience that is entirely their own.
One particular strength of Interdisciplinary Studies is that it can easily combine courses in the liberal arts with courses from professional programs. So for example a student could combine political science with criminal justice, or social work with theater.
2. Making use of the credits earned from your original major For many students who choose this major, graduating on time is a big consideration. Because this major has room for a large number of electives, the courses a student took in their former major can often be used toward the completion of the Interdisciplinary Studies degree.
3. Flexibility of scheduling Life is demanding. If you're a student who needs to get a degree within the traditional four years, but can't achieve this because of limited course offerings, Interdisciplinary Studies gives you the freedom and flexibility to select from a wider assortment of options that may uniquely appeal to you or which provide the flexibility of scheduling courses that, especially for students with family or work obligations, need to accommodate a limited window of availabilty.
4. Study abroad Traveling to exotic locations such as Madrid or Melbourne can be exciting and life changing, but there is always the concern that study abroad will negatively affect one's progress toward graduation. With an Interdisciplinary Studies major, a student can typically study abroad for a semester or even a full year without the loss of credits toward the completion of their degree.
5. Your current major is not working out Let's suppose that you're in a major and decide that you would much rather choose a different academic area, but you're already deep into the credits you've earned. Starting over with an entirely new major might not be the best alternative if the cost is losing the credits you have already earned. Interdisciplinary Studies allows you to go a new direction without wasting all of the time and effort you've already put in. Although having to take extra semesters is always a possibility, this path may make it easier for you to graduate on time.
How Does it Work?
To receive an Interdisciplinary Studies degree, a student must complete:
•52 credits of general education courses
•18 credits from one academic discipline. (6 of these need to be 300-400 level)
•12 credits from a second academic discipline
•38 credits of free electives
•120 Total credits
In line with PASSHE requirements, 42 of your 120 credits need to be upper division (typically 300-400 level) coursework.