Center for Interdisciplinary Studies

Are you a student whose curricular interests don’t fit in just one department or discipline? Are you a faculty member considering collaboration across disciplines or new directions in teaching and research?

The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (CIS) serves as an incubator for collaboration, innovation, and experimentation for students and faculty whose work spans different disciplines. CIS promotes both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary* learning, teaching, and scholarship at the College–approaches that are an integral part of a liberal arts education.
(* Interdisciplinary generally refers to the integration of methods and knowledge from two or more disciplines. Multidisciplinary approaches draw upon several disciplines to address a question or set of issues.)  

The wide variety of programs, courses, and events supported by CIS cultivates and nurtures innovative approaches to teaching, learning, and research.  CIS academic and cocurricular programs provide opportunities for students and faculty to address the following themes:

  • Dialogue across the arts, humanities, and STEM (science, technology and mathematics) 
  • The intersection of race, class, gender — locally and globally
  • Past and present implications of science and technology in societies
  • Questions of globalization in relation in society, politics, and culture
  • Intellectual engagement with the ideals of service and social justice

Students can pursue a variety of academic plans within CIS:

  • The Concentrations  are equivalent to minors in Africana Studies, Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies, Latinx, Latin American, & Caribbean Studies, and Peace & Conflict studies that students can pursue without an application process–though each Concentration has certain required courses or areas that students must fulfill in consultation with the Concentration Director. Students may also apply to major in any of these Concentrations.

Students may also apply to three different types of minors/majors:

  • Faculty-designed template minors/majors  This means that faculty have created specific requirements–including certain pre-requisite courses before application–that students must fulfill to complete the plan of study. These programs include Health Studies, Architectural Studies, Urban Studies, Ethics, Society, & the Institution of Business, Russian & Eastern European Studies, and Rhetoric & Composition.
  • Established student-designed minors/majors  These are longstanding interdisciplinary programs with designated faculty advisors, but students have flexibility about how they create a curricular plan to complete the minor/major. These programs include Catholic Studies, Film Studies, Digital Media Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Medieval & Renaissance Studies, and the Deaf Studies major.
  • Unique student-designed minors/majors These are individual plans of study created by students–that draw upon relevant College offerings–in consultation with a faculty advisor. Recent examples include Performance Studies (major), International Political Economy (minor), and Global Development Studies (major).