Interdisciplinary Thesis Research Course


The Interdisciplinary Thesis Research course focuses on the formation of interdisciplinary research questions, the integration of fields of knowledge, and the development of a thesis rationale. The course complements the research work guided by each senior’s disciplinary faculty mentors. This 1-credit course will provide a cohort experience for the seniors in the IDST major, offering opportunities to share and compare questions and approaches and to workshop the development of their thesis questions with feedback from their peers and the instructor. The course will provide the senior majors with opportunities to compare and assess how fields of knowledge approach answering insistent questions by thinking across questions and disciplinary combinations. 

The course will meet on a bi-weekly basis to allow time for the seniors to meet with their faculty advisors in alternating weeks. The course will require four assignments: 

● A revised literature review (with annotations) 

● A statement of integration 

● A thesis rationale 

● An intellectual autobiography 

The statement of integration will explore how the students have connected the ideas, approaches, and questions from two fields of knowledge. Students will reflect on connections between coursework, readings, conversations with faculty mentors, and research work. In the thesis rationale, students will reformulate their research questions (originally proposed in the application to the major), articulate refined questions, and indicate plans for pursuing the thesis over the senior year. The rationale will indicate the methods each student plans to use and will describe the final form of the thesis itself. In the intellectual autobiography, the seniors will reflect upon and explore their own learning and thinking processes by considering important events and experiences that have shaped their intellectual formation. 

Course readings will be drawn from Allen Repko (et al), Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing, 2017) and Maya Lin, Boundaries (New York: Simon & Shuster, 2006).