Masters, PhD., and Interdisciplinary Programs

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Masters, PhD., and Interdisciplinary Programs

Postby the_stabbage » Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:27 am UTC

I'm asking this on this forum because there seems to be a larger than usual stratum of graduate and post-graduate students here.

What are interdisciplinary programs like? Specifically, I'm interested in M.A. programs in the Social Sciences, but I would welcome all contributions. I'm interested too in more specific programs within a discipline, e.g. Bachelor's in Economics -> Master's in Transport Economics (the former degree is what I'm working towards).

-Does their mixed nature make it harder to pursue a PhD.? On the other hand, does this same quality make it easier to find a job with just a M.A.?
-What about the classes? And thesis programs?

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Re: Masters, PhD., and Interdisciplinary Programs

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:35 pm UTC

I'm not really certain how to answer your question, but a place to look might be the PhD forums:

There's a lot of people talking about advanced programs and what they're doing.

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Re: Masters, PhD., and Interdisciplinary Programs

Postby Ralph Slatton » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:09 pm UTC

I hope you don't mind a response from an art professor. What I have to tell you may be totally unrelated from your questions about economics programs, but I give it a try.

I've taught art for about 20 years and hold three degrees myself. In the course of my career, I've carried several grad students who pursued interdisciplinary programs in art or education fields. In answer to your question of what are the programs like, I can only speak from my own experience. Unless you go to a school with an already well established interdisciplinary degree, the student and professor usually have to plan a course of study, which is a one of a kind deal. This is essentially determined by the central theme of the student's research. If you enjoy working independently and don't need the structure of normal degree programs, then this might be a good option for you. Students who work interdisciplinary tend to be self-starters and have good "problem creating," and "problem solving" skills. For example, one of my recent grads worked in a graphic 2-d field, but wanted to take his printmaking ideas to a 3-d level. His interdisciplinary approach combined the areas of sculpture and printmaking. He printed on lenticular plastics which were used as installation pieces in the gallery. His creative approach was choosing an extremely nonconventional medium for printmaking and making it into a gallery construction.

I don't think having a interdisciplinary MA degree will detrimentally affect your PhD program, as long as there is some relationship between your areas of study. I don't know if I can answer your other question about whether the mixed program would help your job chances. That would certainly depend on the place of employment. If possible, you should direct this question to those who are working in the specific area of Economics of your interest.

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