Interdisciplinary Focus

Interdisciplinary Focus

Crossing disciplinary boundaries to consider issues from many perspectives better prepares students to address the complex problems our world faces.

What is 'Interdisciplinary?'


At the college level, "interdisciplinary" refers to an approach to education and academic study that integrates knowledge and methods from multiple disciplines or fields of study.

It involves crossing the boundaries between traditional academic subjects to address complex issues or topics that cannot be fully understood or solved using a single disciplinary perspective.

In an interdisciplinary program or course, students might be exposed to concepts, theories and methodologies from various disciplines, such as humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and the arts. The goal is to foster a broader understanding of a subject by considering it from different angles and incorporating insights from different areas of expertise.

Interdisciplinary education encourages students to think critically, make connections between different disciplines, and develop problem-solving skills that can be applied to real-world challenges. It also promotes creativity and innovation by encouraging students to explore novel ways of approaching problems.

For example, an interdisciplinary program might combine elements of biology, ethics, law and policy to examine complex issues surrounding biotechnology and genetic engineering. Or an interdisciplinary course could explores the history, sociology and literature of a particular time period to gain a more comprehensive understanding of culture and society.

Overall, interdisciplinary education at the college level aims to prepare students for a world where many challenges and opportunities require a holistic understanding that spans multiple fields of knowledge.

Interdisciplinary Work In Action

The Center for Risk Management is a Kansas State University interdisciplinary effort creating new knowledge across varying industries to help identify, accurately assess and manage business risk today. The center is supported by K-State's Department of Agricultural Economics, Departments of Finance and Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, students, and industry partnerships.
This four-year interdisciplinary research project received a nearly $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study the potential for microbially active soil amendments to provide a long-term solution for conserving moisture and increasing nutrient availability for climate change-stressed crops. The study will bring together engineers, mathematicians, soil and agricultural scientists, social scientists, and agricultural economists and will build future research capacity.
The SurePoint Innovation Center is an example of a public-private partnership with an interdisciplinary approach. The center aims to create a student talent pipeline for the workforce and expand internship opportunities within mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and software development. The center will also partner with university faculty for research and development projects.
What people are saying
The Agriculture Innovation Initiative is more than just a physical building. It starts with an idea that informs a physical space, and then that physical space changes behavior. These three new facilities are being designed in a way to promote the collision of ideas. We're putting departments, colleges and people together in new configurations, co-locating offices, sharing equipment and labs. These spaces are being designed with input from our faculty, students, stakeholders and industry partners on what they want to see from this project.
Susan Metzger, Director of Strategic Multidisciplinary Program Development

Invitation to invest

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