Interdisciplinary studies bring the expertise and knowledge of several disciplines together with the aim of answering questions, solving problems, or addressing topics that are too broad or complex to be dealt with adequately by a single academic major or profession. Since most significant issues have multiple causes, interdisciplinary studies integrates a range of perspectives to provide a more comprehensive understanding of issues and challenges. Because interdisciplinary study allows students to approach their education thematically, it is an exciting and refreshing approach which adds breadth and nuance to their understanding. Minors that are developed around the interdisciplinary studies model can complement and enhance a traditional major.
Students who pursue interdisciplinary lines of study gain a specific set of skills in the process. This approach encourages independent thinking and problem solving. Students learn to facilitate communication and cooperation among colleagues and peers; they learn to address problems from multiple perspectives in order to provide more comprehensive solutions; they display a high level of sophistication in their analytical capabilities; and they develop excellent investigative and research skills.
Interdisciplinary studies can take many forms. As with the Liberal Studies major, students can develop a program of study not currently offered. There are also minors that are by their nature interdisciplinary, such as Women and Gender Studies and International Studies. These minors gain their coherence from their overarching category and draw from several departments, which offer courses that address issues, problems and themes within that category.