What is Multidisciplinary Studies?
Multidisciplinary Studies is a major that gives students the opportunity to design a unique two-year degree program focusing on a subject of interest from a variety of different disciplines. Working with an adviser, the student selects courses from a wide range of knowledge areas to explore an overarching theme or subject. In choosing the focus of study, the student is limited only by course availability and university policies; creativity and curiosity lead the way!
The distinctiveness of the Multidisciplinary Studies degree is well suited for highly motivated students whose interests range across various fields of study and whose needs are not met by an established interdisciplinary major. This degree is also ideal for students who are already employed and would like to combine elements of their current work life with their strengths and desired knowledge and skills. Whether you’re interested in starting your first career, a new career, career advancement, or personal enrichment, this program can open new doors.
In the Multidisciplinary Studies program, students work with an adviser to explore their interests and plan their schedules, focusing on the knowledge, skills, and critical practice of their specific career goals. Internships provide additional practical experience that readies you for the job market with appealing work history.
Examples of Chosen Subject Areas
What can Multidisciplinary Studies students study?
One former student wanted to continue teaching dance while also learning how to manage a small business. She combined dance, education, and business to create a unique program that was tailored to her needs. The courses she selected included Professional Writing and Communication about the Arts; Business Management; Marketing; Accounting; Education Theory and Practice; Psychology; Kinesiology; and the University’s general education requirements. No established Penn State University degree matched this multidisciplinary program, designed to prepare the student for being a successful dance studio owner, instructor, manager, and marketer.
To work in technology fields as managers, sales representatives, and technical writers, students have combined courses in writing, business, information technology, management, and communications.
To work in public relations for the healthcare industry, students have combined courses from the humanities, marketing, communications, and human development and family studies.
Here are some other examples of subject areas students have chosen on which to build their knowledge, analytical abilities, and relevant skills:
- Travel apps, tourists, and South American culture
- Modernism art and literature movement
- Train transportation, history, and culture
- Frank Lloyd Wright—architecture and biography
- Educational changes post millennial culture
- Society and mobile technology culture
- Atomic energy and public perception
- Video gaming and social behavior
- Depression and anxiety on the playground
Multidisciplinary Studies students take courses that develop transferable knowledge, intellectual abilities, and skills:
- Research and Information Proficiency. You understand the question or problem that needs to be solved, and you know where to find information to facilitate a solution.
- Critical Thinking and Analysis. Your skills in critical thinking, sound reasoning, and analysis (of written documents, situations, and people) help you identify options and lead you to logical conclusions and actions.
- Communication Skills. You are proficient in writing clearly and editing content with care; you have the ability to teach, inform, entertain, and persuade your audience.
- Technological Literacy. You are able to digitally create and share well written and effectively designed documents, with attention to message content, page layout, and graphical elements.
Your University Education
As an Multidisciplinary Studies student, you will:
- create a unique multidisciplinary program of study, unlike any other Penn State degree.
- take university-required General Education courses to widen your exposure to subject areas across disciplines.
- take university-required General Skills and Quantification courses to enhance your research, critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills.
- use flexibility to select courses in subjects that fit with your chosen topic of study.
- complete an Associate of Arts degree in Multidisciplinary Studies, with the option to pursue employment or further study. (Courses in this program will transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in many Penn State majors, as well as to other universities.)