2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Dec 05, 2023  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Multidisciplinary Studies

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Contact: Tina Pitts, Administrative Assistant
Department Office: Holmstedt Hall 291
Web site: https://www.indstate.edu/cas/MultidisciplinaryStudies
E-mail: Tina.Pitts@indstate.edu


The Department of Multidisciplinary Studies consists of Gender Studies, International Studies, Multidisciplinary Studies, Philosophy, and Sociology, and is the only department at Indiana State University that allows students to design their own majors.  The department is designed to foster collaboration and innovation in interdisciplinary studies, teaching, and research at Indiana State University, and to encourage faculty and students to engage in cross-program and cross-discipline exchange.  Students in Multidisciplinary Studies will 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 regular 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 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.


Multidisciplinary Studies students can earn either 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 coursework and the requirements for their Multidisciplinary Studies concentration.  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 select from multidisciplinary minors already developed by faculty, such as the designation in Genomic Advocacy.  This program is the first coordinated program of study for the minor in Multidisciplinary Studies, and introduces students to the ethical, business, and political issues that surround the field of genomic science, the interconnection of these issues, and their impact on 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 and professional 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 coursework, and the requirements for the major. A minor is not required for this degree.


The Philosophy program sponsors two active student organizations: the Great Ideas Philosophy Club and the Chess Club. All students, regardless of major or minor, are invited to participate in these organizations.



Gender Studies


The Gender Studies program at Indiana State University is a multidisciplinary field of study. The program promotes a critical, feminist, and cross-cultural understanding of structural inequalities in a local and global context from historical and contemporary perspectives.  Students who pursue the Gender Studies concentration in the Multidisciplinary Studies major explore the intersections of gender, sexuality, social class, nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, age, and ability.  


Coursework in Gender Studies explores constructions of identities and asks how political and corporate institutions, the law, the economy, art, history, literature, and education (among other agencies) shape understandings of gender and human relations. Theories that address possibilities for social change are specifically explored, and the Gender Studies Program is active in facilitating and supporting a variety of activities and events concerned with social justice.  Gender Studies students are subsequently well-prepared for occupations in law and government, education, criminology, health, human resources, business, and social and human services. 


The Gender Studies program also 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 field as well as a variety of electives in over eleven programs in the arts and humanities, the social and behavioral sciences, and the physical sciences.  Students can contact the Department of Multidisciplinary Studies for a list of current elective offerings, and 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, the Women’s History Month Colloquium, 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.  Students who pursue the International Studies concentration in the Multidisciplinary Studies major 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 who select a minor in International Studies as a component of their degrees refine the competencies and skills necessary for positions in federal agencies (such as the Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Agriculture, and Immigration and Naturalization), in state or local governmental offices involving international trade, tourism, and economic development, and 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, and the core courses encourage a global perspective.  The Intenational Studies concentration allows students to focus their study on a particular world region or global theme, while the minor complements any major by combining course work from several key disciplines, including anthropology, history, geography, economics, foreign languages and political science.  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 major or minor 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 concentration or 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/.




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. 


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.

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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