How to Build Your Own Degree with an Interdisciplinary Studies Program


interdisciplinary studies student

You know that a college degree will help you get ahead, but you don’t know what to major in or the kind of classes you might want to take. You also want to get credit for all your past training and experience, even though it might not easily fit into a traditional college major. Or perhaps you just want to expand your skillset by studying a variety of general education topics. How do find a degree program that satisfies your unique qualifications and needs? An interdisciplinary studies (IDS) degree program could be the answer. It allows you to select classes from a variety of different subjects. You’ll also learn in-demand employment skills in combination with a career specialization. In other words, you will have the opportunity to customize your education!

Skills You’ll Learn in an Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Whether you want to start your own business, advance in a current career, or pursue new employment opportunities, there are general skills you need to develop as you enter the working world. Employers look for graduates who can communicate effectively, solve problems, and work as part of a team. Any program you choose should help you build your skills in each of these areas:

  • Research and analysis
  • Development of effective solutions based on knowledge gained from a variety of sources
  • Evidence evaluation to support your opinions or solve problems
  • Cooperative teamwork in any situation
  • Communication skills including speaking and writing effectively

Find an Interdisciplinary Studies Program that is Right for You

As you begin to explore IDS programs, be sure to consider the following:

  • Can you transfer your previous military or civilian training, education, and experience? Check to see if you can transfer your previous training and experience into a personalized degree program. You’ll be able to finish your program more quickly with less student loan debt if you can transfer credits and experience. Perhaps you have training certificates that you earned, or you passed national tests such as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), or other testing sources. Contact the colleges you are interested in to see how many transfer credits they will grant you.
  • Can you take open electives, especially if you want to explore a variety of career specializations? Find out how many electives you are permitted to take to finish the program. The more freedom you have to select courses that interest you, the happier you will be.
  • Can you complete your program online? If you’re exploring the flexibility of an IDS program, you would probably appreciate the convenience of online learning. Take your classes from home. Study and do assignments at a time and place that fits your life.
  • Will you be assigned to an advisor? A good academic advisor will help you choose the right classes to design your degree program. They will also be there throughout your program to help you achieve your goals on the way to your degree.

Good Candidates for an Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Whether you’re in the military, a veteran, an adult who wants to advance in your career, or a student with a variety of interests, there are certain traits that will enable you to be successful in this type of program:

  • Self-Motivated: You’re the type of person who can set a goal, stay motivated, and achieve it. When you encounter an obstacle, you find ways around it. Because you are following a unique path in designing your own schedule, you will need to stay positive and productive to complete your degree.
  • Creative: You often “think outside the box.” As you build your IDS program, you might make new connections between different fields of study, such as combining aviation management with communications.
  • Critical Thinker: In an IDS program, you will be the one who needs to make the connection between different career specializations and skills, even when these connections aren’t clearly laid out for you. Critical thinking will be very useful in selecting electives and planning out your path towards a degree.


At National American University, we offer an online Interdisciplinary Studies program for Associate as well as an IDS Bachelor’s degree, with a variety of career specializations. Do you already have some experience or a certificate in your field? You may be able to transfer those credits to your program so you can complete your degree faster. Call 800-209-0182 to speak to a counselor or fill out the form to request more information.


Online programs for maximum flexibility
NAU students receiving transfer or experiential learning credit
Relevant degree and certificate programs
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