The Office of Interdisciplinary Studies is home to medievalists and urban
planners; to those studying computational biology and those who rebuild bikes in
the Bike Co-op; to those who work for sustainable food systems with the Truman
Compost Project and those who use approaches and knowledge from many different
disciplines to teach a class on the Civil War.
Interdisciplinarity is an intellectual journey.
While standard disciplines, like Biology or French, have their integrity and
their strengths, they also have some limitations. Every discipline
supplies knowledge yet, without the context of other disciplines, some questions
subjects evade comprehension.
Some modes of thought are intrinsically interdisciplinary. Many
studies such as Gender Studies and Medieval Studies, can be better understood
using knowledge drawn from multiple traditional disciplines. Studying
gender requires the insights of psychology, sociology, art, literature, and many
others. Understanding the Middle Ages requires knowledge of languages,
history, religions, archaeology, and other disciplines.
Intellectual growth flourishes when building an interdisciplinary base
of knowledge. Today’s world demands not only experts with deep and specific
knowledge, but also people who will coordinate and apply the insights of these
experts to a variety of intellectual and practical challenges.
In initiating an Interdisciplinary Studies Major (IDSM), we mean
to cultivate the coming generation of public intellectuals, and to prepare young
people for lives of informed engagement and leadership in a conceptually rich
begin your Interdisciplinary Journey, click the links on your left.
For more on the IDSM process, click Interdisciplinary Studies Major
To contact the director with specific
questions, please Contact the OIS