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Interdisciplinary Studies program

Individually Structured Major Intercampus Interdisciplinary Studies, BA

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Overview

A degree in Interdisciplinary Studies offers an ideal means for learning to integrate and synthesize theories, methods, and perspectives from diverse disciplines. Not only is this a key skill set in our rapidly-changing world, but degrees of this nature also prepare students for an increasingly complex world where challenges have become the norm. This is truly a career preparation degree with more breadth than a standard, single-discipline-focused degree. To customize a degree to your interests, pick a topic from column A and another from column B, explain how those two seemingly different topics fit together and voilá — you have a degree that is as unique as you are.

This program has three mandatory foundation courses that are critical to the development of your problem-solving interdisciplinary thinking. Year one’s course exposes you to resources, skills and a plan to properly prepare for an optimum experience with degree style and for career preparedness. Year two’s course is a hands-on placement in the community that will combine with in-class work and objectives. Year three’s capstone course allows you to present solutions for an issue you’ve uncovered in your field of choice. These combined experiential learning components and Capstone Challenge will provide you with opportunities to strengthen the analytical, planning, problem-solving and communication skills that are in high demand across many career fields.


Program Details

The Interdisciplinary Studies degree requires a total of 120 credits — all available 100% online. The credits are comprised of:

  • ​9 credits in the three Foundation Courses 
  • 21 credits are earned in CU Denver core courses
  • 30 Credits in two of the ten Interdisciplinary Clusters
  • At least 15 additional upper-division credit hours (in addition to the 2 upper-division Foundation Courses = 6 credits) 

Students of this program must also:

  • Earn an overall GPA of 2.0 or greater
  • Earn a minimum grade of C- in the three Foundation Courses and the Cluster-specific courses. 

Foundational Coursework

Students must complete three Foundation Course​s:

  • Introduction to Interdisciplinary Learning (3 credits)
  • Interdisciplinary Experiential Learning (3 credits)
  • Interdisciplinary Capstone (3 credits)
Interdisciplinary Clusters

Students must complete at least five relevant courses (15 credits) from each of their two clusters of choice. With the assistance of an advisor, students will choose two of the following ten options in which to base their custom degree plan.

Cultural Diversity

Cultural Diversity engages students in critical analyses of the historical and contemporary cultural landscape with a focus on the social constructions of race, ethnicity, class, disability, gender, sexuality, citizenship and religion.  

Research Methods and Data Analysis

Research Methods and Data Analysis focuses on creating and presenting information for multiple audiences through collecting, organizing, analyzing and interpreting qualitative and quantitative data. Students will be prepared to identify and define complex problems, design and analyze research, and interpret qualitative and quantitative data in a variety of work settings.

Global Studies

Global Studies explores past and present processes of globalization, emphasizing the complex interactions among these global processes, regional and local cultures, and societal structures with an emphasis on non-western societies.

Digital and Media Studies

Digital and Media Studies explores multiple perspectives of how information or content is created and distributed in digital media, as well as the role and impact of those media on human interactions.  Students will be prepared to work in a variety of communication-based industries as well as government and nonprofit settings.

Environment and Sustainability

Environment and Sustainability explores the biological, geological, ecological, political and social dimensions of environmental and natural resource issues involving environmental policy, resource management, climate culture, biodiversity conservation and human health. Students studying this cluster area will gain the knowledge and analytical skills needed to shape policy and design sustainable programs for resource management by business and government agencies.

Social Justice

Social Justice explores methodological and theoretical frameworks for understanding the advancement of equitable and just social change, through an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Organizations and Leadership

Organizations and Leadership focuses on understanding the many paths to creating and sustaining organizations, communities and societies as well as leadership principles that promote organizational excellence. These leadership principles include understanding how change occurs, when it is needed, and how it affects a group, as well as persuading individuals and groups to work toward a common goal. This cluster prepares students to become informed participants and leaders in private and public sector organizations.

Professional and Technical Communication

Professional and Technical Communication develops students’ facility to convey ideas and concepts in business, technology, research and government. This specialization includes rhetorical theory and conventions for crafting communications for a range of audiences, including specialists and non-experts. Students pursuing this area can choose to prepare themselves to work in corporate communications, marketing, advertising, public relations, technical writing and grant writing.

Health, Science, and Society

Health, Science, and Society studies how health sciences, medical research, social perceptions and public policy intersect, and how these distinct sectors inform and shape one another. Study in this cluster will prepare students to coordinate the findings of medical and health research with public perceptions and concerns, and develop responsible educational programs and policies to foster community safety and well being.


Tuition and Fees

Investing in your future is a big decision. However, becoming a fully online student at the University of Colorado is a high-quality and affordable option for learners of all types. Tuition and fees are based largely on the degree program you enroll in.

The tuition amount assessed is determined based on which University of Colorado campus, school, or college is offering your degree program, as well as if it is at the undergrad or graduate level, and finally your resident status. Visit our tuition and financial aid page for more information.

Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.

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Timeline

The completion timeline for this degree varies greatly because students can transfer in courses from previous accredited universities. You will create a custom degree plan and degree completion timeline with your advisor.


Courses

Courses at CU Denver are offered three times a year — fall, spring and summer. Not all courses are available every semester. For most programs, courses last 15 weeks, plus one week for finals. This is a big commitment, but we believe the extra time you spend dedicated to your studies pays off! 

Example Courses

Introduction to Interdisciplinary Learning
This course will prepare students to:

  • Utilize the approaches that interdisciplinary scholars use to combine the theories and methods of a variety of fields
  • Engage in university-level critical thinking, research methods, and writing
  • Learn more effectively in an online environment
  • Develop an Interdisciplinary Study Plan​ 

Interdisciplinary Experiential Learning 
Through outside-the-classroom experiences, students will develop self-directed learning skills and will be exposed to the complexities of their interdisciplinary learning. Choosing an internship, a community-based project, or a job extension, students will collaborate with peers to design projects in this highly student-driven course. 

Interdisciplinary Capstone
This course will bring together students who have been working on their individualized majors to share a capstone experience, with the goal of integrating knowledge from their two clusters and applying their knowledge to a Capstone Challenge project relevant to their field of interest. Students will develop a written paper and videotaped presentation addressing a question, dilemma or challenge that is authentic to their professional domain of interest. 


Admissions

Admission requirements and deadlines vary based on the program. In addition, you will have different requirements depending on if you are a first-time student, a transfer student or an international student. 

Learn more about the admissions process by filling out the form above or contacting an Enrollment Navigator today.