Interdisciplinary Studies

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

The Interdisciplinary Studies program offers creative alternatives for students interested in emerging fields of study and, more generally, for students whose academic needs and interests do not conform to the traditional major. The Interdisciplinary Studies degree programs are individually designed and are tailored to the personal academic and professional objectives of each student. The program is also interdisciplinary/cross-disciplinary in spirit and practice and, thus, challenges students to make deliberate, thoughtful, and meaningful choices in developing a coherent plan of study that draws on resources from two or more academic departments.

One of the goals of the Interdisciplinary Studies program is to encourage and support students who wish to take an active role in creating their own educational experience. The Interdisciplinary Studies Coordinator is there to help students define and think clearly about their objectives, provide them with resources important in their decision making, and offer guidance in the design of their course of study.

In addition to designing a personalized curriculum, students may also choose the Youth Development Concentration which provides the opportunity to develop skills necessary in a broad range of careers in nonprofit youth and human service organizations. Professionals in these organizations play pivotal roles in making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others.

Degrees

The Interdisciplinary Studies program offers both the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science degree.

Interdisciplinary Studies students may design a curriculum to reflect either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, which will be declared upon admission to the program. Specific requirements for each of these degree programs be found in the WIU catalog. Student admission proposals must reflect these requirements.

Renewable Energy Concentrations

Biofuels Technology

This concentration focuses on the technological aspects of using plant materials to produce ethanol and biodiesel. Students will take courses in agriculture, chemistry, biology, physics, GIS, and finance, among an array of courses.
Students will be expected to understand the fundamentals of feedstock production, fermentation, fractionation, supply chain management, and plant management. Students choosing this option might pursue careers in private sector or cooperative biofuel production facilities. They might also find jobs in local planning agencies, nonprofit advocacy groups, nonprofit environmental groups, state agencies, or federal regulatory departments. 

Policy, Planning, & Management

This concentration emphasizes the numerous public policies that affect the development and utilitzation of renewable energy. Students will understand how laws, contracts, and regulations operating at the local, regional, state, federal, and international scale affect renewable energy development. They will also gain an understanding of many technical aspects of renewable energy such as commodity and energy markets, facility site location, and the general operations of biofuel processors and wind turbines.
Students choosing this option might pursue careers in local planning agencies, nonprofit advocacy groups, nonprofit environmental groups, state agencies, federal regulatory departments, or in the private sector.

Wind Technology

This concentration emphasizes the technological aspects of using wind to generate electricity. Students will be required to take a series of technical courses in physics, engineering technology, GIS, meteorology, materials science, management, and finance. They will understand how to locate, finance, develop, and manage a community-scale or utility grade wind power facility. 

Students pursuing this concentration can expect to find jobs working for private sector wind consulting companies to locate and develop wind projects, municipal and state planning agencies, and in the nonprofit sector, among a range of career options.

Opportunities

Approximately 1/3 of Interdisciplinary Studies graduates complete an optional internship as part of their curriculum. Internships are an excellent means of gaining practical experience as well as establishing contacts for reference or future employment.

Recent graduates have entered a variety of professional fields, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Administration
  • Advertising
  • Artist Promotion
  • Energy Advising
  • Engineering
  • Higher Education
  • Human Services
  • Law
  • Military
  • Ministry
  • Public Relations
  • Public Service
  • Sales
  • Sport Promotion
  • Water Quality Inspection
  • Youth Development