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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.) Degree

Majors Overview January 22, 2015

Students in interdisciplinary studies programs will be given the chance to craft their coursework around a particular field of interest while incorporating various academic subjects. They will be prepared for career-related goals or graduate work.

Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.) Degree Programs

Students enrolled in flexible bachelor’s degree programs in interdisciplinary studies are typically allowed to satisfy general education requirements and tailor the coursework to meet more than one primary field of interest. Schools may award the official degree title of Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.).

Alternatively, an interested individual can meet the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) requirements of their school and opt for an interdisciplinary study major; the Bachelor of Arts degree program typically includes a foreign language competency requirement. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma.

Some educational institutions offer established interdisciplinary programs in areas such as education, women’s studies, or peace studies. Alternatively, a broad field, such as the arts or the social sciences, may be allowed to be chosen by a student who may also be able to choose courses within the discipline.

Students enrolled in some other schools may be allowed to choose from various subject areas such as psychology, biology, behavioral sciences, English, humanities, fine arts, or theology. Environmental studies, ethics, and cultural or language studies are additional disciplines that students may select. The subjects chosen must demonstrate a level of synthesis and carry the approval of relevant departments.

While the chosen coursework will determine the skills achieved by students, proficiency is often attained by students in areas such as citizenship, teamwork, communication, writing, problem-solving, time management, critical thinking, integration of ideas, and research. Students enrolled in most schools are required to complete practicum experiences or internships. Additionally, many schools may include a capstone project as a final degree requirement.


As individual students themselves design interdisciplinary coursework, the curricula and the subject areas covered therein will vary according to the goals and interests of students. General education requirements are required to be met by all students. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Collaboration of the fine arts
•Social science issues
•Cross-cultural education
•Cultural diversity
•Professional conduct
•Community development
•Humanities issues

Career Choices

Students are not trained for particular vocations because they devise coursework in most interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree programs themselves. However, the coursework will influence the finding of careers and the advancement within them in various fields. In the past, interdisciplinary program graduates have filled positions such as:

•Case manager
•Public relations personnel
•Purchasing agent

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, purchasing agents and buyers and public relations specialists have been predicted to have job growth rates of 4% and 12% respectively (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, purchasing agents, excluding those who bought farm, retail, and wholesale products, brought home an average annual wage of $62,310, while public relations specialists earned $54,170 on average.

Continuing Education Choices

Many graduates from bachelor’s degree programs in interdisciplinary studies opt for continuing education by earning a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies or in a focus area of interest that they studied during the bachelor’s degree program.

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