Jul 16, 2018  
2017-2018 School of Arts & Sciences 
2017-2018 School of Arts & Sciences

Interdisciplinary Studies

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In the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, students investigate a subject from the viewpoints of several disciplines. The interdisciplinary approach leads to acquisition of knowledge and the skills characteristic of the liberally educated person without sacrificing flexibility in programs of study and an individualized approach to education.

The major requires 36 completed credits in designated courses. At least 18 of these credits must be in a focal department and must include a methodology course and either a seminar or an independent study, as well as a methodology course and either a seminar or an independent study in a second department. (Because seminars and independent studies have specific prerequisites or require demonstrated competence in the subject, this requirement will, in practice, demand more credits than the six specified.)

The last requirement, under this general model, is a final project of an interdisciplinary nature. In most cases this will be a research project leading to a senior thesis, although alternative projects are not ruled out.

To complete the number of credits required for the major, students take courses in other disciplines. To ensure coherence in the program, students have to consult with their academic advisor and obtain the approval of the dean. In addition to the courses designated as part of the major, you may have to take courses which develop skills necessary to the particular program (e.g., in foreign languages for international studies).

Senior Interdisciplinary majors who have a cumulative index of 3.5 and a distinguished senior thesis will be awarded departmental honors upon graduation.

Each specific implementation must meet the requirements of Interdisciplinary Studies as outlined above. Successful completion of this program leads to a B.A. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. Approved interdisciplinary programs have been developed in six content areas.

Two of these areas, presented first, have more formalized program requirements:

International Studies

International Studies is based on the principle that events that influence our lives originate in and have a bearing upon distant sectors of the international community.

The International Studies program is designed for women planning careers in government, international public service, international commerce, journalism, or the teaching of modern foreign languages, to name a few. This program provides a unique opportunity to learn about different cultures, their political structures and the relations between them in order to gain insight into other ethical and value systems for an understanding of current problems affecting the future of international society.

The multicultural and international perspective is highly useful for pursuing international internships and, later, careers. Clearly, the major in International Studies provides excellent preparation to live and work in the global community. A minor in International Studies broadens a student’s major field of studies. The curriculum is designed to be both practical and scholarly leading to graduate studies, as well as a direct entry into career paths. The program maintains membership in the Westchester Consortium for International Studies, UNIFEM and other associations.

Study Abroad and Internships

Study Abroad for short-term study/travel courses, a summer program, a semester, or year is encouraged both to improve proficiency in foreign language and to add an experiential dimension to the student’s academic investigation of the international community. Internships, either in the New York City area or abroad, provide an opportunity to apply skills and knowledge in business, law, history and international organizations.

Women’s Studies

Women’s Studies is designed for the student who wishes to enrich the study of any academic discipline with an understanding of the ways in which gender affects the organization, methodology, premises, and practices of that discipline. Thus, the Women’s Studies student will bring a more informed perspective to scholarship and career and will function more effectively in all areas of life through heightened awareness of the generally hidden interconnections of gender and power.

The Women’s Studies program is based on the conviction that gender, the meaning we give to bodily differences between the sexes, is one of the fundamental ways that human beings conceptualize and order the world. Although sexual difference is usually assumed to be a given, its meaning and effect are actually fashioned in and through social and cultural beliefs, institutions, and activities; hence, gender is not universal but subject to historical change. Because of its fundamental nature, gender is also a way of signifying and articulating relationships of power.

The Women’s Studies Program seeks to help students achieve the following:

  1. An understanding of gender as an historically, culturally, and socially constructed means of conceptualizing and ordering the world, one that closely interacts with other social constructions (including race, ethnicity, class, and sexual identity);
  2. The means to analyze and critique the way gender constructions and differential access to power affect the structures of knowledge, particularly with regard to the organization, methodology, premises and practices of academic disciplines;
  3. An understanding and validation of the achievements, experiences, and perspectives of women;
  4. An increased sense of personal empowerment through the ability to understand and critique the conditions of their own lives as women.

Seniors who have a cumulative index of 3.5 and a distinguished final project will be awarded departmental honors upon graduation.

A graduation prize in honor of Patricia Wismer ‘71 is awarded annually to a graduating senior for outstanding work in the field of Women’s Studies.

Students interested in a Women’s Studies major or minor should contact the director of the program to plan their courses.

Additional Interdisciplinary Studies areas include:

American Studies

American Studies is based on the principles that American culture is best understood as a whole and that literature and art should not be artificially disconnected from the history and society from which they arise. The student blends work in American history and literature with an examination of how several other disciplines view American society and culture.

The student chooses American history or American literature as a primary interest and develops a substantial concentration (at least 18 credits) in the area, including a methodology course and a seminar or an independent study. The student does extensive work in the secondary area, usually three or four courses, and takes related courses in at least two of the following areas: Social Sciences (Economics, Political Science, Sociology), Philosophy and Religious Studies, and the Arts (Art, Communication Arts). During senior year, the student is responsible for a final project of an interdisciplinary nature in some aspect of American Studies.

Comparative Literature

Comparative Literature combines the study of languages and literature. The student compares the structures of languages, explores the relationship between literature and the language in which it is written, and studies literary themes and genres in the context of several cultures.

A student interested in Comparative Literature should develop a substantial concentration in one of the following areas: English, Modern Foreign Languages. A student must acquire proficiency in one foreign language and advance to at least the intermediate level in a second. The general model for a major in Interdisciplinary Studies must be varied slightly to accommodate the student interested in Comparative Literature, since the requirements for the major are levels of competence. It is not possible to stipulate the number of credits that will be needed to achieve the required competence. Although the student will be responsible for ENG 228 - Introduction to Literary Theory, Criticism, and Research  and a course on theory and methods of comparative literature, the student is required to do a senior project of an interdisciplinary nature in an area of Comparative Literature.

General Science

The General Science track combines the study of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This interdisciplinary major is designed to provide familiarity with and an understanding of science across disciplinary lines. It is primarily intended for students in Education seeking childhood (Grades 1-6) teacher certification. Other students seeking to complete this program must obtain permission from the Chairperson of either the Biology or Chemistry Department who will assign an academic advisor for the program.

The program prepares teachers who are able to: produce science-literate citizens; give children an understanding of basic concepts in science and of the importance of science in daily life; integrate science with other subjects in the curriculum; and develop students’ inquiry and problem-solving skills through the study of science. Biology is the focal area of study for students in this track. Students interested in New York State teacher certification are required to take 8 credits in General Biology, another 18 credits in upper-level Biology courses, 10 credits in Chemical Principles I and II, 8 credits in College Physics I and II and a one-credit interdisciplinary course in Chemistry or Physics, which includes an independent research project. The requirements in Biology should be selected to reflect the content of the science framework and new standards recommended by New York State. In view of New York State’s new regulations for Teacher Certification, the General Science track and all other teacher education programs are subject to change.

Social Studies

The Social Studies track is built around a focus in history with an additional 18 credits of course work chosen from Political Science, Economics and Sociology. Following the general requirements of an Interdisciplinary Studies major, the student will develop an appropriate breadth and depth of study for a coherent appreciation of methodology and content of several disciplines within the Social Sciences. This track also will provide students in the childhood (Grades 1-6) Teacher Education Program with a strong background in one of the common branch subjects taught in the elementary school. In this program, students may select courses which are consonant with the Social Studies framework recommended by the New York State Education Department.

Students preparing to teach Social Studies beyond 6th Grade are required to major in History - 30 credit hours with an additional 6 credits in Economics and Political Science. In view of New York State’s proposed new regulations for Teacher Certification, the Social Studies track and all other teacher education programs are subject to change.




      Interdisciplinary StudiesWomen’s Studies

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