The Cross-Disciplinary Program

in the College of Arts and Sciences 

What is the Cross-Disciplinary Program?

Education in the 21st century is changing. It is evolving by virtue of not just new knowledge but entirely new fields of knowledge that require the capacity to solve complex problems by drawing on concepts, methods, and information from a plurality of disciplines. This increasingly interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary knowledge is widely recognized as essential to the new employment opportunities in the emerging knowledge economy. To help prepare students for these opportunities, the College of Arts and Sciences offers the Cross-Disciplinary Program.

 

Cross-Disciplinary Majors

 

B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies

Program Director: Dr. A. Samuel Kimball, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, 904-620-2560
COAS Advisor: Mr. Keith Martin, Associate Director, College of Arts and Sciences Advising, 904-620-1379

Interdisciplinary Studies provides students with the opportunity to design an individualized program of study that involves an intentional selection of coursework in more than one discipline. The central purpose of the Interdisciplinary Studies major and minor is for students to investigate a focused set of cross-disciplinary issues, problems, challenges, and methodologies and to develop expertise in key intellectual competencies, including but not limited to advanced writing and critical thinking skills. The history of education in the Western world is the history of changing configurations of knowledge, on the one hand, and a recurrent concern with critical thinking and communicative adeptness, on the other, in relation to the Socratic imperative to know oneself. The Interdisciplinary Studies major and minor enable students to reflect critically on how their educational efforts in the present will enable them to engage in a process of life-long learning in relation to a future that might be unimaginably different from the present.

How to Apply: Acceptance into the Interdisciplinary Studies major and the Interdisciplinary Studies minor requires that students first meet with the Program Advisor, Mr. Keith Martin, 904-620-1379.

Students wishing to complete a major in Interdisciplinary Studies will select from one of the two available tracks:

Track 1 - Major Requirements for Theme-Based Interdisciplinary Study (36 credits)

In consultation with COAS advisor Mr. Keith Martin, each student will choose eleven (11) upper-division (3000-, 4000-level) courses that focus on a converging set of themes, issues, problems, challenges, or questions. At least one of the 11 courses must be from COAS. Courses cannot count toward both the general education requirement and the requirement for the major.

Also in consultation with COAS advisor Mr. Keith Martin, each student will select a capstone course involving either (i) a research project or (ii) an experiential learning project (based on but not limited to a TLO or transformational learning opportunity, a community-based learning opportunity, or a leadership opportunity) in which students synthesize the learning they have attained in relation to their goals and outcomes.

Each student must also complete the Foreign Language/Foreign Culture requirement.

Track 2 - Major Requirements for Competency-Based Interdisciplinary Study (36 credits)

In consultation with COAS advisor Mr. Keith Martin, each student will chose eleven (11) upper-division (3000-, 4000- level) courses, including (i) at least three advanced writing/communication courses, (ii) at least four critical thinking courses or four quantitative reasoning and analysis courses, and (iii) four additional courses that focus on specific competencies. Courses cannot count toward both the general education requirement and the requirement for the major.

Also in consultation with COAS advisor Mr. Keith Martin, each student will select a capstone course involving either (i) a research project or (ii) an experiential learning project (based on but not limited to a TLO or transformational learning opportunity, a community-based learning opportunity, or a leadership opportunity) in which students synthesize the learning they have attained in relation to their goals and outcomes.


B.A. in International Studies

Program Director: Dr. Jorge Febles, Professor of Spanish

The International Studies Program endows students with knowledge of international studies as a discipline and with the skills necessary to become effective global citizens. The Departments of Economics and Geography, English, History, Philosophy, Political Science and Public Administration, Sociology and Anthropology, and Languages, Literatures and Cultures cooperatively provide students with an interdisciplinary curriculum that captures the wide-ranging historical, political, geographical, economic, social, and cultural forces at play in an increasingly interdependent world. A required study abroad component ensures that majors experience the world they study and cultures other than their own.

The major allows undergraduate students to pursue an interdisciplinary study of the world today and comparative study of foreign cultures, languages, and societies leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies. Students majoring in the International Studies program will complete a five-course core requirement (15 semester hours) which provides the framework for a better understanding of global affairs. Beyond the core course requirements, the major permits students to select three courses (9 semester hours) from one of six thematic or regional study tracks:

• Asian studies
• European Studies
• Foreign Language and Culture
• International Relations and Politics
• Latin American Studies
• Middle East and African Studies

Students are required to study a foreign language through the intermediate level and to undertake an international educational experience. Finally, students complete a required Capstone experience in their senior year. Recommended prerequisites are INR 2002 Introduction to International Relations and/or CPO 2002 Introduction to Comparative Politics. These are not prerequisites for the major, but students cannot enroll in required core courses without first having taken at least one of these prerequisites.

Please note: This is a daytime-only major. While many courses are offered as night courses, a student cannot complete the program solely at night. A selection of core courses is offered each semester, but each individual core course is generally offered once per year.

The Capstone seminar is offered only once per year.


B.A. in Religious Studies

Program Director: Dr. Julie Ingersoll, Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Religion has been the source of great human achievement and of much cultural conflict. The discipline of Religious Studies seeks to understand why and how this is the case. To this end, in courses that are taught from a variety of perspectives and disciplines (including religious studies proper, philosophy, anthropology, history, literary studies, and sociology), Religious Studies offers students an opportunity to explore a range of meaning-making systems—their beliefs, practices, texts, history, and social-cultural functions. In learning how seemingly foreign systems of meaning make sense to those who hold them, students are asked to make explicit their own assumptions about their religious beliefs, to look at their assumptions from the point of view of someone who does not share them, and thus to deepen their understanding of how their beliefs compare with the beliefs of others in relation to the course of human civilization.

The Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies requires a total of 120 semester hours. Religious Studies majors take a total of 30 credit hours of coursework: 27 hours across four categories of courses—(i) foundations, (ii) methods, (iii) traditions, and (iv) topics—and 3 hours of a Senior Seminar Capstone course. Religious Studies majors are encouraged to participate in a study abroad experience. 

 

Cross-Disciplinary Minors

   

African Diaspora/African American Studies This cross-disciplinary program is designed to promote the academic study of, as well as a broad appreciation for, the diversity and richness of peoples and cultures throughout the African Diaspora. Multidisciplinary methods of inquiry and research give students a range of theoretical approaches to the central questions and concerns of Diaspora studies—including race, culture, identity, diversity, history, and society. Students examine these central concerns through regional, national, and global perspectives. Additionally, students have the opportunity to participate in internships, service learning, and study abroad in order to bridge theory and praxis. Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Tru Leverette, Associate Professor of English

 

Asian Studies.   This cross-disciplinary program is administered by the Department of History. It is designed to facilitate an academic concentration in South, Southeast, or East Asian civilization. Courses for this program come from a variety of Arts and Sciences departments. Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Harry Rothschild, Associate Professor of History

 

Classical Civilization.  The Classical Civilization minor is a cross-disciplinary program administered by the Department of History. The minor enables students to fashion a course of study imparting a broad yet coherent understanding of the civilization of ancient Greece and Rome. Courses for this program come from a variety of Arts and Sciences departments. Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Phil Kaplan, Associate Professor of History

 

Environmental Studies.  This program focuses on understanding the nature and complexity of environmental issues in relation to a range of issues, including the carrying capacity of our planet, the idea of sustainability, the challenges of managing resources wisely, the meaning of environmental stewardship, and the urgency of promoting environmental literacy. Courses for this program come from a variety of Arts and Sciences departments. Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Stuart Chalk, Associate Professor of Chemistry

 

Film Studies Why study film? Because film is often considered the only new art form produced in the 20th Century. Because the 21st Century has witnessed the explosion of moving images into nearly every sphere of contemporary life, and advances in technology have made film/video/audio technology widely and easily available. Because film functions as a unique art form, a social barometer, a cultural artifact, an historical record, a political argument, an agent of change, and a good time. Because it is complex in construction and function, and yet directly powerful in its effect. Because the reach of film is so wide, and because the film minor thrives as a community when students come from varied perspectives and fields of study. Courses for this program come from a variety of Arts and Sciences departments.

 

Gender Studies.  Courses for this program from a variety of Arts & Sciences departments. Faculty Coordinators:  Dr. Erinn Gilson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Dr. JeffriAnne Wilder, Associate Professor of Sociology.

 

Interdisciplinary Minor.  In consultation with COAS advisor Mr. Keith Martin, students develop a five-course program of study organized around either (i) a cross-disciplinary theme, issue, problem, challenge, or question or (ii) cross-disciplinary skills in advanced writing and critical thinking/quantitative reasoning and analysis.Students wishing to complete a minor in Interdisciplinary Studies may select either of the following two tracks:

Track 1 Requirements for Theme-Based Interdisciplinary Study (15 credits)

This theme-based program of cross-disciplinary study requires that students, in consultation with COAS advisor Mr. Keith Martin, select 4-5 upper-division (3000-, 4000-level) courses (the number depending on how many are 3-credit courses and how many are 4-credit courses) that focus on a converging set of themes, issues, problems, challenges, or questions. At least one of the courses must be from COAS. Courses cannot count toward both the general education requirement and the requirement for the minor.

Track 2 Requirements for Competency-Based Interdisciplinary Study (15 credits)

This competency-based program of cross-disciplinary study requires that students, in consultation with COAS advisor Mr. Keith Martin, select 4-5 upper-division (3000-, 4000-level) courses (the number depending on how many are 3-credit courses and how many are 4-credit courses), that focus on the development of key intellectual competencies. Student must select (i) at least two advanced writing/ communication (3000-, 4000-level) courses and (ii) at least three critical thinking courses (3000-, 4000-level) or three quantitative reasoning and analysis courses (3000-, 4000-level). At least one of the five courses must be from COAS. Courses cannot count toward both the general education requirement and the requirement for the minor.

 

International Studies This cross-disciplinary program enables undergraduate students to pursue a comparative study of foreign cultures, languages, and societies. Courses come from a wide range of departments (including but not limited to anthropology, economics, geography, and political science) and involve a range of research methods. Together these courses and their methodologies provide the framework for a better understanding of global affairs. The minor in international studies allows undergraduate students to pursue an interdisciplinary and comparative study of foreign cultures and societies while fulfilling the academic requirements for a minor in one of the College of Arts and Sciences degree programs. Students minoring in International Studies must complete three of the five core courses required of the major and two electives from within the same regional study track.  Faculty Coordinator:  Dr. Jorge Febles, Professor of Spanish

 

Religious Studies.  Religion has been the source of great human achievement and of much cultural conflict. This cross-disciplinary minor seeks to understand why and how this is the case. Courses taught from a variety of perspectives and disciplines offer students opportunities to explore a range of meaning-making systems—including the beliefs, practices, texts, history, and social-cultural functions that constitute these systems. In learning how seemingly foreign systems of meaning make sense to those who hold them, students are asked to make explicit their own assumptions about their religious beliefs, to look at their assumptions from the point of view of someone who does not share them, and thus to deepen their understanding of how their beliefs compare with the beliefs of others in relation to the course of human civilization. Student minoring in Religious Studies must take REL 2300—Comparative Religion, REL 3102—Religion as Culture, and any three upper level Religious Studies (REL) courses and/or courses offered by other departments and approved for this minor.  Faculty CoordinatorDr. Julie Ingersoll of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

 

Urban & Metropolitan Studies.   Courses for this program from a variety of Arts & Sciences departments. Faculty Coordinator:  Dr. Krista Paulsen, Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology