Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) is a unique, interdisciplinary, flexible, and customizable degree program designed for students who want deeper engagement with the development of their degree plan. Students typically pursue IDS because they want their undergraduate education to correspond to their post-graduate goals, including professional programs, graduate school, and careers or because they are looking for an academic home for credits they have earned in other programs. IDS faculty work closely with students and with other WCU departments to help each student craft the best path to degree.
The capacity to reason, synthesize, and problem-solve across disciplines is highly valued by all kinds of employers, businesses, and graduate schools. Most of the important problems and crises of our age require interdisciplinary approaches to resolve; for example, we cannot solve the issue of plastic pollution with science alone, nor with behavior changes such as not littering. Instead, seemingly intractable problems will require combined approaches and the types of thinkers who can grasp the magnitude of the problems.
IDS is a great fit for these students:
- Students who are looking for a major, but cannot find a “good match,”
- Students who think “outside the box,”
- Students who want to stay at WCU but major in a discipline not offered, such as Advertising, Real Estate, Animal Sciences, or Sustainability Policy,
- Students who are more interested in what is IN the major (and the skill set they can develop and hone while pursuing their curriculum), not what the major is called,
- Students with high number of credits earned who are not enrolled in a major, and
- Students who are presently enrolled in a major but will not be able to (or choose not to) complete the requirements for that degree.
Student and Alumni Testimonials
"With the IDS major, I am allowed to have different understandings and make connections between them. I feel better about this major because it does not force me to learn about one topic. It makes sense because I always like doing multiple things." - Jeff Jordan
"I knew if I majored in Marketing, I’d be limiting myself to not learn about other topics I could apply to my life post-graduation, which brough me to the Interdisciplinary Studies major. Now learning everything the IDS major has to offer, I feel like I am going to be able to apply everything I’ve learned so far in this major with my job post-graduation" - Francesca M.
"As an Interdisciplinary Studies major, more now than ever do I see the silver linings of a muddy and complex issue. I can start to see how powerful the coming together of different ideas can be." - Julia B.
"Interdisciplinary thinking is best because you can understand a problem from multiple perspectives. Interdisciplinary thinking encourages you to think outside the box. Every problem does not have a straightforward approach. Sometimes using a variety of different disciplines will be necessary because you can understand a different approach you previously ignored. That’s why interdisciplinary thinking is important when solving a problem." - Chase G.
In the IDS major, I was able to have minors in Women’s and Gender Studies and in Military Science. You can’t get much more interdisciplinary than that, and I will bring interdisciplinary thinking to my next role as an officer in the US Army. Gillian B, class of 2023.
- the general education requirement (40/41 credits),
- a major breadth/distributive component (credits vary between tracks),
- a self-designed concentration of 15 credits,
- two required IDS courses, and
- between 21 – 30 credits at the 300/400 level(depending on the specific track) of additional courses in the self-designed concentration.
Students are required to select at least one minor. The required minor courses are incorporated into the self-designed concentration component.
New first-year and transfer students are welcome.
If you are a current WCU student and plan to transfer to IDS, meet with an IDS advisor by scheduling an appointment:
Appointment with Ann Colgan, then use the Change/Add/Remove Major/Minor/Certificate link in your MYWCU to choose the Interdisciplinary Studies track that is right for you
If you are a new first-year or transfer student, you must first apply to WCU and indicate Interdisciplinary Studies as your major of chouce.
The mission of Interdisciplinary Studies is to provide a flexible, customizable academic path to degree for WCU students.
The Interdisciplinary Studies major creation process encourages students to critically assess their personal skills and abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and personal values and priorities as they plan their education. The skills and abilities that are developed during students’ program of study will benefit them in their professional and personal lives.
- Students will demonstrate integration of their general education, and individualized program: including minor(s), pathway, and elective courses.
- Students will create a viable post-graduate plan, including possible professional opportunities, and/or post-baccalaureate education.
- Students will express interdisciplinary in their own work and in the work of others.
- Students will demonstrate applied interdisciplinary thinking via spoken and written communication.
Effective professionals need to communicate clearly, think critically, look outside ordinary disciplinary lines, appreciate diversity, and make informed decisions and ethical choices. Because of the unique nature of IDS, students have the power to construct their individualized programs of study. Students work with IDS academic advisors, as well as the advisors for their academic minors. Graduates earn the degree by taking ownership of the program and assuming responsibility to make informed, intelligent decisions. In addition to major, minor and general education requirements, this major emphasizes the development and/or enhancement of “transferrable skills.”