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Interdisciplinary Studies

Interested in business technology? American Studies? Public relations? Art therapy? Gender, culture, human rights? UMA’s Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies lets you realize your goals by designing your own major in almost any field not represented by existing degree offerings.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Arts
Available on the Augusta and Bangor campuses and online

The University of Maine at Augusta offers a wide variety of interdisciplinary courses on both the Augusta and Bangor campuses and through distance technologies like compressed video and online classes. Interdisciplinary courses can be found listed under the INT designator as well as AME, HGH, and WGS. Students may also choose to self-design an interdisciplinary major.

Interdisciplinary studies encourages students to work between and among traditional disciplines, to approach a topic, issue, or problem from a variety of perspectives. Interdisciplinary education is particularly valuable in our complex and changing world. 

The INT Major

Students interested in Interdisciplinary studies can also choose to major in INT, creating a connected, integrated program in close consultation with faculty advisors. In fact, the interdisciplinary major is one way that students can major in fields that do not otherwise culminate in bachelor degrees at UMA, including areas in which there are minors, such as American Studies. Students combine programs and courses to create a major that works with their interests and goals.

INT Minors

Students may self-design an interdisciplinary minor or they may minor in American Studies; Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights; or Women and Gender Studies.

UMA offers a variety of Interdisciplinary (INT) courses that create unique learning experiences for students.  Some of the regular INT course offerings include Portfolio Preparation & Presentation, Computers & Culture, and Wham! Bang! Pow! The Graphic Novel.

Several 1-credit courses are in development for Fall 15 and Spring 16, including INT 201, which guides students through an introduction to INT and helps them to write their statement of interest and intent.

UMA professors also regularly offer INT topics courses that offer a wide range of connected, integrated, learning experiences.This Spring 16 we will be offering a course that combines digital art and sociology and includes a spring break trip to Cuba!

Some previous INT courses include:

Philosophy, Art, and Architecture
Professors in Art, Architecture, and Philosophy worked with a group of students to explore the intersections of these three disciplines while also applying ideas outside of the classroom in a community service project. Students designed a new shelter and garden space for local organization, Bread of Life, and learned about the importance of actively participating in the local community. (Spring 2010)

Prisms on Culture: Art, Community, and the American Experience
A nine-credit course combining Art, English, and American studies, students explored a diverse set of “American” experiences–locally and internationally. Students read memoirs and theories of community, culture, and consciousness and applied their learning through a variety of art and writing projects. After a spring break service-learning trip to Nicaragua, students presented their critical, interdisciplinary work in a final exhibition. (Spring 2011)

Revolution
A 12-credit course combining Art, English, History, and American Studies. Students explored the theme of revolution in Latin America from artistic, historical, and literary perspectives as well as through a case study of Nicaragua. After visiting Nicaragua for a service-learning trip over spring break, students presented their multidisciplinary projects in a final exhibition. (Spring 2012)

Other Interdisciplinary Programs and Courses
In addition to INT courses, Interdisciplinary studies can be found in a variety of places in UMA’s curriculum. Minors in American Studies (AME); Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights (HGH); and Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) allow students to consider culture, politics, economics, environment, science, language, technology, human services, justice, gender, and more, from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.

WHO CAN MAJOR in INT?
The INT major is ideal for the highly motivated student who is interested in combining several different areas of study into a coherent program of study that cannot be met by other UMA majors. Students may start out in another UMA program or may build an INT major from transfer credits.

WHAT IS the INT MAJOR?
The INT major allows a student to work closely with faculty members to develop an individualized course of study that is:

  • Connected: INT students are encouraged to make connections between and among disciplines, between and among the classes they are taking, and between the classroom and their lives.
  • Focused: An INT major can be focused toward particular goals and interests like social justice, innovative technologies, or education, for instance.
  • Flexible: Working closely with faculty INT students decide what to take and when to take it.
  • Student-centered: A student proposes a set of courses that meet his or her interests and goals. The self-designed major creates a unique education for each student.

HOW DOES the INT MAJOR WORK?

A capstone gives the INT major a framework for advanced studies interdisciplinary studies. Using this framework, students will choose a particular topic to explore in more depth, and will work with their advisors to create a course that brings cohesion to their course of study.

An internship is created to complement the student’s particular INT major and to provide the student with an opportunity to gain some practical, hands-on experience in the fields of their choice.

STEPS TO BECOMING an INT MAJOR

  • Students begin by exploring UMA classes and completing General Education requirements. Students may also transfer credits from other colleges.
  • As students begin to identify their areas of interest, they choose a primary advisor and begin to develop a plan of study.
  • Students will identify an area of emphasis and two areas of concentration and choose two more faculty members for a committee to advise them in creating a program of study and an INT Major Proposal.
  • Students will complete an INT Major Proposal which includes a statement of purpose and an outline of planned courses.
  • The UMA INT Council will approve the student’s INT major and will provide direction and advice in addition to the student’s committee.
  • Students will conclude their program of study with a capstone that allows students to apply interdisciplinary tools to their accumulated knowledge and an internship that will allow students to explore a career path and gain practical experience.

WHERE CAN I BE an INT MAJOR?
UMA–Augusta and Bangor campuses; many interdisciplinary classes are available through on-line and distance education opportunities as well.

WHY SHOULD I MAJOR in INT?
An INT major allows for both freedom and structure and a focused exploration of a variety of areas of interest. The INT major gives a student ownership of and responsibility over her or his education.

WHAT KIND of JOB CAN I GET WITH an INT MAJOR?
Many of the same career paths that are available to traditional majors are also available to INT majors. In fact, an INT major might be more closely aligned with specific professional goals than some traditional majors.

HOW DOES an INT MAJOR COMPARE WITH a TRADITIONAL DISCIPLINARY MAJOR or WITH LIBERAL STUDIES?
The chart below gives a general understanding of some of the similarities and differences between traditional disciplinary studies, the UMA Liberal Studies major, and the UMA Interdisciplinary Studies Major.

INT MAJOR LIBERAL STUDIES MAJORDISCIPLINARY MAJORS
Explores several disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary approaches and perspectives with a focus on finding connections.Explores multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches and perspectives.Explores a singular disciplinary perspective and approach.
A layered, interconnected knowledge.A broad base of knowledge.A specific and focused knowledge.
A self-designed program created in collaboration with faculty; students can name and shape their course of study.A loose framework of curriculum that allows for flexibility and a generalized knowledge.An established curriculum that meets the standards and expectations of a particular field or discipline.
Provides students with a focused, directed knowledge and a set of skills that can provide a particular career option or a general set of skills applicable to a variety of opportunities.Provides students with a diverse set of knowledge and skills that provide a variety of possible job opportunities.Provides students with a specialized knowledge and a defined set of career and job objectives.

HOW DO I BECOME an INT MAJOR?
Contact your advisor, UMA’s Advising Office, or Sarah Hentges, Assistant Professor of American Studies, and chair of the INT Council.

INT Major Proposal Form

  1. Identify, develop, apply, and synthesize the theories, methods, and critical perspectives of three disciplines or interdisciplines.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge and the value of interdisciplinary inquiry.
  3. Develop new interdisciplinary knowledge.
  4. Develop, articulate, achieve, and analyze educational goals by employing interdisciplinary theory and methodology.
  5. Effectively communicate interdisciplinary educational goals and knowledge to others.
  6. Develop an awareness of diverse peoples, cultures, and ideas, and appreciate the importance of engaging in lifelong interdisciplinary learning to become informed and responsible global citizens.
  7. Develop and apply critical reading, thinking, and writing skill