What is an Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Program?

One of the most over-looked bachelor ‘s degree fields is interdisciplinary studies. This area is perfect for adult students looking to complete their education, undergraduates intent on heading to graduate school and anyone who wants a customized study plan. Whether your school calls this customized degree plan general studies, interdisciplinary studies or non-traditional studies, you should talk to your academic advisor about how it can help you achieve your career goals.

What Is an Interdisciplinary Studies Degree?

Simply put, a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies is a study program that you and your academic advisor create based on your specific interests. Schools offer these programs if you want to study a rare field not covered by an existing degree. For example, Will Shortz, long-time crossword puzzle editor for the New York Times, created an interdisciplinary study program in enigmatology, the study of puzzles. He combined math, logic and English courses to get the skills he needed to make top-notch crosswords.

If you’ve found that working without a college degree is making it hard to move up the career ladder, a unique degree program can help by letting you choose classes that match your interests and academic strengths better than a traditional plan of study that shoehorns you into one area.

Is an Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Useful?

Designing your own interdisciplinary major will help you with a number of possible career options. If you’re heading back to school as a non-traditional student, interdisciplinary studies curriculum can help minimize the time you need to spend in the classroom. By working with an advisor, you can get college credit for your work experience, military service and transfer classes and apply these credits to your bachelor’s degree.

Related: 50 Great Schools Where High School Students Can Get College Credit

As the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found, your earnings increase and your risk of unemployment decrease as your level of education increases. A personalized bachelor’s degree will bump you into a higher income bracket and raise your career stability. It can help you advance at your current company, especially if you choose a minor related to your field of work.

Can You Earn a Minor and an Interdisciplinary Studies Degree?

Majoring in interdisciplinary studies makes it very easy for you to earn a minor; you can even choose to complete multiple minors with this program. Because you can pick the classes that will count towards degree completion, you’re able to put the classes you need for a minor into your bachelor’s requirements. For example, psychology and business classes are normally taught by different departments and have no overlap in a degree program. With your unique study plan, you can create a hybrid bachelor’s of individualized studies with a focus on the psychology of business. This will allow you to study both of your academic interests without slowing down your degree completion. Minors can also boost your graduate school admission chances; adding a minor or certificate in a relative field will demonstrate your commitment to your field.

The average bachelor’s degree requires 40 to 45 classes to complete. Majoring in interdisciplinary studies lets you earn a minor, reduce the number of courses you have to complete or add a career-enhancing technical certificate to your resume without delaying your progress to graduation.