2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Apr 24, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived]

Multidisciplinary Studies

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Chair: Tina Kruger Newsham
Program Office: Holmstedt Hall, room 291
Web site:
E-mail: Barbara.McNeill@indstate.edu

The Department of Multidisciplinary Studies consists of Gender Studies, International Studies, Multidisciplinary Studies, Philosophy, and Sociology.  The department is designed to foster collaboration and innovation in interdisciplinary studies, teaching, and research at Indiana State University. Faculty and students in Multidisciplinary Studies benefit from cross-program and cross-discipline exchange.  Specifically, students examine various thematic and current issues using methodologies from the multitude of disciplines in the arts and sciences. 

Regular advising is a central component of the Department of Multidisciplinary Studies. Majors and minors in the department are encouraged to maintain good contact with their faculty academic advisor, and are expected to work with their advisor prior to registration each semester. Students who do so are more likely to meet their goals and achieve academic success. Students can find their assigned advisor by consulting the college or their degree audit tool.


Multidisciplinary Studies

The Multidisciplinary Studies Program offers a curriculum that leads to a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. Candidates for either degree must complete the University requirement of a minimum of 120 credits, including Foundational Studies course work and the requirements for their Multidisciplinary Studies concentration.  The program is designed for students who wish to pursue expansive study in the liberal arts and sciences with a custom-designed concentration. With appropriate consultation with an advisor, students may combine available courses to create a concentration in an area of study not offered elsewhere in the University. As a result of their course of study, students are expected to be able to communicate effectively, demonstrate integrative habits of thinking, especially across the disciplines constituting their major, and transfer skills from one setting to another. Highly motivated students and students with specialized career or professional goals will find this combination of flexibility and focus very attractive.

Students may also complete a minor in Multidisciplinary Studies.  The Multidisciplinary Studies minor allows students to pursue a coherent, multidisciplinary course of study not duplicated by any existing ISU minor. It encourages students to engage in focused exploration of related disciplines in their areas of interest or in fields that complement their declared major. 

Students may design their own minor or, when available, select from multidisciplinary minors already developed by faculty.  One example of this is the designation in Genomic Advocacy.  This program is the first Coordinated Program of Study for the minor in Multidisciplinary Studies.   This minor introduces students to the ethical, business, and political issues that surround the field of genomic science and how they are interconnected to impact personalized medicine, healthcare, public policy, business/insurance/risk management, education and other science fields.  Genomics has a far-reaching impact on humanity with numerous social and ethical issues to be addressed now and in the future.  This minor will somewhat parallel, yet extend for undergraduates, the currently approved graduate program in Genomic Advocacy.


The study of philosophy provides students with an awareness of critical thinking, an appreciation of ethical reasoning, and the power of logical analysis. These abilities are valuable in every academic endeavor. With appropriate work in related fields, the study of philosophy prepares students for continuing education in law, theology, the humanities, journalism, research, management, and a variety of graduate programs.

Philosophy is best described as the combination of the following disciplines: logic, the study of correct or valid reasoning; ethics, the study of morality and value; aesthetics, the study of the nature of beauty and art; epistemology, the study of knowledge; and metaphysics, the study of the most general categories and principles by which humankind understands the universe. The close associations among these disciplines are made apparent upon in-depth investigation of a wide variety of philosophical issues.

With its emphasis upon clarity and logical rigor on the one hand, and upon breadth and generality on the other, philosophy not only cultivates a critical and analytical perspective, but also provides for a comprehensive world view. In this way, a study of philosophy enables people to deal more thoroughly with the complex problems facing civilization.

In support of the liberal arts and sciences mission of the college and the University, the Philosophy program participates in the Foundational Studies Program, the University Honors Program, the Genomic Advocacy Center, and the Gender Studies Program.

The Philosophy program offers a curriculum leading to a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree. Candidates for the degree must successfully complete the University requirement of a minimum of 120 credits, including Foundational Studies course work, and the requirements for the major. A minor is not required for this degree.

The Philosophy program sponsors a very active student organization, The Great Ideas Philosophy Club. All students, regardless of major or minor, are invited to participate in this organization.

Gender Studies

Gender Studies is a multidisciplinary field that draws from a variety of academic areas to examine the creation and perpetuation of sex/gender systems. In many cultures, sex/gender systems, as well as race, ethnicity, sexuality, and class function serve as lines of division and oppression that restrict access to education, the work force, and full participation in social and political life. Coursework in Gender Studies explores constructions of identities and asks how political institutions, the law, the economy, art, history, literature, and education (among other agencies) shape understandings of gender and human relations. Feminist theories that address possibilities for social change are specifically explored.

The Gender Studies program offers an academic minor that is available to all students. A minor in Gender Studies benefits students in any major because it promotes the development of cross-cultural communication skills and the ability to work well with diverse groups of people. It is highly recommended to students who plan to work in social service areas (law and law enforcement, social work, public administration, teaching, or nursing) or students who plan a career in business.  Students interested in majoring in Gender Studies are encouraged to declare the major in Multidisciplinary Studies and work with the Gender studies academic advisor to identify a major course plan in Gender Studies.

The Gender Studies program offers core courses in the filed as well as a variety of electives in over 11 programs in the arts and humanities, the social and behavioral sciences, and the physical sciences. A listing of currently approved Gender Studies elective courses is available on the program’s web site. Many Gender Studies core courses and electives also fulfill Foundational Studies requirements. Independent study and fieldwork opportunities may be arranged through academic advising. 

Gender studies teaching and learning is not confined to a traditional classroom. The curricular program is matched with a robust co-curricular program that has included a yearly Take Back the Night event, conferences featuring undergraduate and graduate faculty research, performances, exhibits, and field trips.

International Studies

The International Studies program was created to prepare students to be more effective in their chosen careers through the development of their international and intercultural competence. The program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to international connections in political, economic, environmental, philosophical, and cultural systems. Through the program students have the opportunity to study with faculty experts, to interact with visiting scholars and students from around the world, and to gain personal experience through study or internships abroad.

Students with International Studies minors as a component of their degrees are competent for positions in federal agencies (such as the Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Agriculture, and Immigration and Naturalization) or state or local governmental offices involving international trade, tourism, and economic development, as well as in business enterprises, media, healthcare, education, and not-for-profit organizations.

International Studies offers an interdisciplinary curriculum designed to educate students to live and work in an interdependent world through the international studies minor.  The program complements any major by combining course work from several key disciplines, including anthropology, history, geography, economics, foreign languages and political science. The core courses in the minor encourage a global perspective, while the concentration allows students to focus their study on a particular world region or global theme. Work in the minor also includes a study abroad experience and a culminating capstone course for a Senior Project. Foreign language study available at ISU includes Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

Successful completion of the minor entails a total of 25 credit hours and requires careful planning. Students must design their programs of study in consultation with the International Studies Academic advisor. Early consultation will facilitate smooth completion of the international studies minor in coordination with the student’s major field of study.

The University is committed to providing access to an array of affordable of study abroad programs across the world. Opportunities for full-year, single-semester, and summer programs to study in English or to study a foreign language make it possible for students to easily incorporate an international experience into their academic program.  The University supports students taking advantage of these opportunities through competitive scholarships and financial aid assistance.

Program and scholarship information for Academic Programs Abroad opportunities can be obtained from the Director of Study Abroad in 240 Gillum Hall, or by visiting the website at www.indstate.edu/studyabroad/.


A minor in sociology provides foundational knowledge of social structures and behavior for students of criminology and criminal justice, psychology, social work, and family and human development studies.  Sociological training is also valuable for students entering teaching, nursing, business, and technology.  An optional internship/field placement is available for minors who wish to jump-start their plans for employment following graduation. Department faculty are happy to discuss the value of these programs in support of students’ career aspirations.

Students interested in majoring in Social Justice and Sociology (SJS) are encouraged to declare the major in Multidisciplinary Studies and work with the Sociology academic advisor to identify a major course plan in SJS.  This concentration focuses on finding solutions to complex social problems.  Social justice is a fast-growing area, and many employers are looking to hire specialists in this field. 

All students, regardless of major or minor, are invited to join the Student Coalition for Social Justice, a registered student organization dedicated to making a positive impact on the world.  Students in this organization work together to increase awareness of systems that disadvantage members of various racial, ethnic, religious, and other groups and strive to bring about social change.

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