2021 Best Online Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies Degrees

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An online masters in interdisciplinary studies can enable you to learn about a wider range of topics than what you would be able to study in other types of graduate degree programs.

Online Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies Degrees

In an interdisciplinary studies master degree program, you have the freedom to tailor your curriculum to your interests and career goals.

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You can combine courses from two or more subject areas to create your own unique degree program that might not be available to you otherwise.

Online Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies Programs

An interdisciplinary studies program is a type of customizable degree program that allows you to choose what to study. On the other hand, there are liberal arts degrees that have you follow a prescribed curriculum that covers many different subject areas.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

Both of these fields offer plenty of opportunity for growth, a lot of different job prospects, and plenty of job security.

Online Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies

Online Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies

Interdisciplinary graduate programs enable you to take 2 or 3 subject areas and combine them into one master degree program that is unique to you.

Your university will likely set down some basic requirements regarding things like how many credit hours you need to take to graduate. You may also need to have studied certain subjects at the undergraduate level as necessary prerequisites to studying them as part of your interdisciplinary graduate program.

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An advisor at your university can help you consider your different options and plan your program to get the best possible results. Interdisciplinary master’s programs could be used to prepare for nearly any career, depending on what particular fields you choose to study.

This may be an appropriate degree program for you if you wish to study the relationships between several different fields. It would also offer you the freedom to structure your own studies.

Online Masters in Liberal Arts

Online Masters in Liberal Arts

An online masters degree in liberal arts can provide you with a broad curriculum that covers many subject areas. Your courses will often cover natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, art, mathematics, philosophy, and foreign languages, among others.

Liberal arts degrees provide a rare opportunity to study both creative and technical disciplines in tandem with one another. So, you may graduate with a background in both arts and sciences.

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A master’s degree in liberal arts can develop your general communication and critical thinking skills. It can also help prepare you for careers that require broadfield knowledge. These types of careers can include librarian,  museum archivist, or editor.

A liberal arts master’s degree program generally does not allow for as much customization as an interdisciplinary studies master’s degree program. Instead, a liberal arts program has set requirements for how many credit hours of coursework you take from all of the core academic subjects.

Interdisciplinary Studies Careers & Salaries

Interdisciplinary Studies Careers & Salaries

Because of its customizable nature, you could structure an interdisciplinary program of study for almost any career path. Careers in business and finance, management, community and social service, and education are common paths for someone in interdisciplinary studies.

Professionals who work in business often need to be knowledgeable about a variety of topics. For instance, they need to understand the financial aspects of their business, but they may also need more specialized knowledge regarding the products and services they sell.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median annual salaries for some different occupations that might require interdisciplinary knowledge:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Natural Sciences Managers $137,940
Human Resources Managers $121,220
Postsecondary Education Administrators $97,500
Social and Community Service Managers $69,600
Market Research Analysts $65,810
Human Resources Specialists $63,490
Training and Development Specialists $62,700
Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers $55,350
Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers $52,140
Social and Human Service Assistants $35,960

These are just some examples of interdisciplinary careers. There are numerous paths you could potentially pursue, depending on what you decide to study in your interdisciplinary program. It can be helpful to plan your degree program carefully with a specific occupation in mind to ensure that you take the most relevant coursework.

Interdisciplinary Studies Masters Curriculum

Interdisciplinary Studies Masters

There are many different courses you could take in an interdisciplinary studies program, depending on your areas of concentration.

Here are examples of courses you might take to help you see relationships between different fields:

  • Development of Modern Thought: In this course, you’ll study the history of philosophy, from ancient Greek and Roman philosophers to the postmodern era.
  • Academic Writing and Research: In this course, you’ll learn how to write a formal research proposal, conduct quantitative and qualitative research using correct methodology, and summarize your findings in writing.
  • Critical Theory: In this course, you’ll learn to analyze social and cultural power structures.
  • Environmental Science: In this course, you’ll study the different types of biomes in which species can live and the different roles species play in their respective ecosystems.
  • Environmental Issues: In this course, you’ll study how humans use natural resources and affect the Earth’s climate.
  • Cultural Eras: In this course, you’ll study the trends and ways of thinking that have been common in each decade of recent American history.
  • Gender Studies: In this course, you’ll learn about how beliefs about gender vary in different cultures and how they have changed throughout the course of human history.
  • Global Cultural Diversity: In this course, you’ll study how culture varies in different geographic regions around the world.
  • Film and Media Studies: In this course, you’ll analyze films and other media from different cultures and historical eras to understand the different perspectives they express.
  • Social History of Medicine: In this course, you’ll study the development of modern medicine, how culture affects people’s thinking about medicine, and related social phenomena, such as alternative medicine.

In addition to coursework, you may also be required to complete a thesis or capstone project as part of your curriculum.

Admissions Requirements

Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies Degrees admissions

Here are some common admissions requirements for graduate degree programs in interdisciplinary studies:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA, typically 3.0
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose

Some universities may also require GRE or GMAT scores, but a growing number of schools are no longer requiring these. When applying to an interdisciplinary studies program, you may want to take extra care that your personal statement clearly explains what you want to study and why.

Accreditation

Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies Degrees accreditation

To receive regional accreditation, a college or university must be regularly evaluated by an outside agency to ensure that its faculty, curriculum, and facilities meet certain objective standards.

The concept of accreditation can be helpful to you as a potential student since it’s a way to ensure that the schools you apply to can provide you with a quality education.

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If you choose to transfer schools before completing your degree, your coursework is more likely to be accepted by your new school if your original school was accredited. Attending an accredited school can also be a precondition for some forms of financial aid.

For more information about regional accreditation, you can visit the US Department of Education’s website.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies Degrees financial aid

If you are planning to attend graduate school, you may be wondering about your options for financial assistance. There are many different types of financial aid available to qualifying students, including online graduate students who qualify.

You may be able to qualify for state aid or financial aid, and some universities have grants and scholarships available. Need-based and merit-based scholarships are also offered by private and public organizations.

If your graduate studies can enable you to become better at your current job, your employer may provide financial assistance as well, such as a tuition reimbursement program.

To find out if you qualify for federal financial aid, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What Is an Interdisciplinary Master’s Degree?

Interdisciplinary Master's Degree

An interdisciplinary master’s degree is a type of graduate program that enables you to combine the study of two or three distinct fields, analyzing the ways in which they relate to one another.

For example, you could choose to study both engineering and marketing. This could allow you to examine the differences in how engineers and marketers approach product development while you learn to speak the languages of both.

There is a wide variety of ways in which you could combine different fields of study within an interdisciplinary program to receive a unique education.

What Can I Do with an Interdisciplinary Studies Master’s Degree?

Interdisciplinary Studies Master's Degree

The different career paths you can pursue after earning a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies will most likely depend on your chosen specializations.

Once you are enrolled in an interdisciplinary studies program, your academic advisor can help you choose the specializations that are most relevant to your personal career goals.

Fields in which interdisciplinary knowledge is often useful include business, advertising, marketing, human resources, journalism, ministry, education, and social and community service. The main advantage of an interdisciplinary studies degree is its versatility.

Employers may also value the general critical thinking and soft skills developed by this type of study.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies Online?

Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies Online

If a master’s degree program only requires 36 credit hours of coursework, you may be able to complete the program in as little as 1 year when you take classes full-time, including during the summer semester.

Some interdisciplinary studies programs require the completion of a thesis or a capstone project. These allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the fields you have been studying and how they relate to one another.

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A thesis requirement will often extend how long you need to complete the degree program. You may also need more time to complete your degree if you choose to only take classes part-time.

What Is a Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies Good For?

Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies

You may be wondering where graduates of interdisciplinary studies programs are already employed. There is no straightforward answer to this question because there are many different types of interdisciplinary degrees.

Interdisciplinary students are expected to choose one department or program as their main department, or “home.” Most graduates go on to pursue employment in whatever field is their main field.

A degree program in interdisciplinary studies may not be as specialized as other types of degree programs. It can still help to have a specific career path in mind, though, as you set to work planning your studies.

What’s the Difference Between an MA vs. MS Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies?

MA vs. MS Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies

As you are looking at different degree programs, you may see schools offering both Master of Science and Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degrees. Here are the basic differences between these two graduate degrees:

  • Master of Arts: An MA usually focuses on arts and humanities. It’s often more applicable to careers in human services or creative disciplines.
  • Master of Science: An MS usually focuses on technical and scientific fields. It’s often more applicable to careers in science or technology.

Whether you choose to pursue an MA or an MS will likely depend on where your interests lie.

What’s the Difference Between Interdisciplinary Studies vs. General Studies?

In addition to interdisciplinary studies, some universities also offer graduate programs in general studies. A growing number of universities also offer a degree in general studies online.

Interdisciplinary Studies General Studies
  • May be highly specialized, depending on what disciplines you choose
  • More career-oriented
  • Has more customizable programs
  • Involves broader studies with a well-rounded set of courses
  • Intended to prepare students with broad critical thinking skills
  • Often has prescribed, set coursework

If you have specific interests you want to pursue, a degree in interdisciplinary studies can let you tailor your program to better fit your unique goals.

Is a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies Worth It?

Master's in Interdisciplinary Studies

Yes, a master’s in interdisciplinary studies is worth it for many professionals. Many organizations expect employees to be able to perform interdisciplinary work once hired, so being knowledgeable of more than one field could be an advantage in the job market.

A degree program in interdisciplinary studies could help you improve your problem-solving skills and your spoken and written communication skills. It can also enhance your ability to understand and apply all kinds of research. These skills could be useful in numerous positions.

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In addition, an interdisciplinary studies degree provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in your unique passions.

Universities Offering Online Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

California Baptist University

California Baptist University campus

California Baptist University offers an online degree program for a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours. The program is designed to allow students to focus on two areas of study. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

California Baptist University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University campus

East Tennessee State University offers a Master of Professional Studies. Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours to graduate.

A specialization in Leadership, Organizations, and Workforce Studies is available. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher from an undergraduate degree. A personal essay and transcripts from attended schools must be submitted when applying.

East Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University offers a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. The program requires 31 credit hours to graduate and can often be completed in a year. Classes are held online and are 8 weeks long. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and official college transcripts to be eligible for the program.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Southern Utah University

Southern Utah University campus

Southern Utah University offers a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies program. Students must complete 30 credit hours from any of the 20 fields offered by the school, such as Creative Writing, Public Administration, and Human Values. Applicants must submit a resume, a statement of intent, and transcripts from a bachelor’s degree program.

Southern Utah University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University campus

Texas Tech University offers a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. To graduate, students must complete 36 credit hours.

The program offers pre-designed programs, or students may participate in their own self-designed program. Those interested in the program may apply online with official test scores. Transcripts must be submitted only after receiving a letter of acceptance.

Texas Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Maine

University of Maine campus

The University of Maine offers an online Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Maine Studies.

Students must complete 30 online credit hours, with at least 15 courses in Maine Studies—classes that focus on the history of Maine. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and submit a resume, letters of recommendation, and test scores.

The University of Maine is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global campus

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers a Master of Science in Management with an Interdisciplinary Studies in Management specialization.

Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher and complete the required courses within 5 years. Those interested in the program must have a bachelor’s degree. While official transcripts are required, students may complete their first 6 credits before submitting them.

University of Maryland Global Campus is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of North Texas

University of North Texas campus

The University of North Texas offers both a Master of Arts and a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Students must complete 30 credit hours, including at least 6 credit hours from 3 different fields of study. Those interested in these programs should contact an interdisciplinary studies academic counselor prior to applying to check for specific admission requirements.

The University of North Texas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of South Dakota

University of South Dakota campus

The University of South Dakota offers an online program for a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. Students must complete at least 32 credit hours from two or three fields of study, with half of the credits coming from 700-level or higher courses. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.7 or higher and need to submit official transcripts.

The University of South Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Western New Mexico University

Western New Mexico University campus

Western New Mexico University offers a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours.

At least 9 of these credits must be in a specific field of study, which is then added to their transcript as a concentration. Entrance, midpoint, and exit self-reflections must also be completed to graduate. Applicants need a GPA of 3.0 or higher to be eligible.

WNMU is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

Getting Your Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies Online

master's degree in interdisciplinary studies online

Maybe you’ve decided that a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies is the next step on your educational and career path. There are many convenient and affordable options available for earning this type of graduate degree.

Earning your degree online can enable you to save time each day by omitting a daily commute to campus. A credible online degree can also enable you to balance your studies with work, family, and other commitments.

An interdisciplinary studies degree provides more flexibility than most other types of graduate degree programs. You can start exploring accredited universities today to find the interdisciplinary studies program that best fits your learning needs and professional goals.

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Amy Wilson
WRITTEN BY
Amy Wilson
While attending the University of Georgia, Amy enrolled in both on-campus and online courses giving her the opportunity to explore the pros and cons of each course delivery system. Amy's research is focused on making education more accessible to everyone and how different education methodologies can affect student outcomes.