Interdisciplinary Study at Grinnell College
In many ways, study at Grinnell College seeks to integrate different forms of knowledge, approaches, and ways of thinking. Interdisciplinary (and otherwise integrative) study begins with the first year Tutorial and can culminate with a Mentored Advanced Project, many of which cross disciplines.
Interdisciplinary majors, concentrations, interdisciplinary study themes, collaboratively-taught and otherwise interdisciplinary courses, and interdisciplinary centers and programs provide students with a rich and coordinated opportunity to explore a significant issue from a range of disciplinary perspectives and experiences. Students interested in an interdisciplinary major can apply for an independent major or pursue the Biological Chemistry; Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies; and General Science majors. The college offers 11 interdisciplinary concentrations in American Studies; Central, Russian and East European Studies; East Asian Studies; Environmental Studies; Global Development; Latin American Studies; Linguistics; Neuroscience; Policy Studies; Technology Studies; and Western European Studies. As they plan their course of studies, students and their faculty advisors can refer to Interdisciplinary Study Themes to explore areas of interest, often of a highly timely nature, through courses and related programming offered by Grinnell’s interdisciplinary centers and programs and the Faulconer Gallery. This year’s Interdisciplinary Study Themes include African Studies, Film and Media Studies, Human Rights, Nationalism and Migration, Prairie Culture and Environment, and Peace Studies (see their descriptions listed below).
Cross-listed, divisional, and interdivisional courses (such as CLS/HIS 255 “History of Ancient Greece” and HUM 101 “The Ancient Greek World,” and MAT/SST 115 “Statistics,” respectively) offer courses using two or more disciplinary approaches. A number of these courses are collaboratively-taught (team taught or otherwise developed in partnership with faculty members of different disciplines). A group of courses designated as “Humanities" employ both traditional and contemporary approaches to the close analysis of cultural texts, practices and media and their relation to meaning and value. More information about these three kinds of interdisciplinary experiences can be found in the course catalogue and elsewhere in this schedule of courses.
The interdisciplinary Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights; Center for the Humanities; Center for International Studies; Center for Prairie Studies; Wilson Program; and Peace Studies offer programming, courses, and community activities that cross the disciplines and explore learning in and outside of the classroom.