With a seemingly endless number of degree possibilities, choosing just one major presents challenges for students who don't have a definitive career track. Unless you absolutely know that you want a career in nursing, teaching or a specific trade, an interdisciplinary studies degree provides the chance to tackle multiple disciplines. If you're not just looking for freedom in your course of study, but are also looking for some leeway in how you complete your degree, an online program in interdisciplinary studies may fit all of your needs.
Learning Within Limits
In its truest form, "interdisciplinary" includes programs from all fields of study, and most online degrees in this major are bound to arts and sciences -- or liberal arts -- schools. For example, Arizona State University Online has a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies offered through their School of Letters and Sciences. Students in this program pick two concurrent majors from liberal arts areas such as art history, history, media analysis, religious studies, women and gender studies or sociology.
If you don't necessarily fit the cookie-cutter mold that many colleges expect majors to follow, choosing an online interdisciplinary degree provides you with a personalized option. Students with multiple interests, or who need more than one major area of study to meet their needs, may pursue an interdisciplinary degree to cover all of the bases. Picking and choosing areas to study means you can work towards your own individualized career path, without having to follow up your first degree with a subsequent area of study. For example, King University Online's Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies requires students to pick 48 credit hours of major study -- dividing it up among two 24 credit hour areas. Students may also take elective courses in a third -- or more -- discipline.
An online program in interdisciplinary studies doesn't only provide flexibility when it comes to your course of study. While you are busy taking courses from multiple departments or areas, the online component of your education provides an additional layer of freedom. Instead of having to conform to a traditional brick and mortar college class schedule, you can take your array of course content on your own time. Additionally -- as Jones College notes in reference to their online interdisciplinary studies bachelor's degree program -- you can take your cross-discipline course of study from anywhere with internet access.
Depending on where you see your career going, and how much time you want to spend working to get there, you'll find different types of online degree options. When it comes to interdisciplinary studies, the shortest route to degree completion is through an associate degree. Most online schools include a curriculum that allows you to complete this type of program within two years. While this is a shorter route than a bachelor's-level program, you may not have the career options that a four-year version offers. For example, Liberty University Online suggests that students use their Associate of Arts in interdisciplinary studies as a beginning to a more intense four-year degree. Getting an online interdisciplinary associate degree provides a varied base for future study in a more specific area in a bachelor's program.
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.