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Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies, BA

Explore Seattle University’s top-ranked Interdisciplinary Studies program for a broad liberal arts degree. Gain marketable skills and real-world experience.

About this Program

Deep, Broad Knowledge to Respond to Complex Problems

Interdisciplinary liberal studies majors explore complex problems, such as the nature of consciousness, race relations, what is family, environmental-economic sustainability, immigration, impacts of technology and many more.

Persistent, complex problems have multiple components studied by different academic areas.

In this liberal arts degree, you will learn to how to find common ground among various stakeholders and bring them together to better understand and respond to these issues.

Flexibility to choose courses that match your interests provides you with solid preparation for a rewarding career or graduate school. You can also take advantage of study abroad and internships to broaden your perspective even further.

Because our program allows maximum flexibility in course choices, you will work closely with professors and advisers to plan your program in a way that helps you focus on understanding and responding to the complicated, real-world problems you care most about.

Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies at a Glance

Learn how an undergraduate interdisciplinary liberal studies degree will contribute to your career goals. Then, explore course requirements and see how impactful a Seattle University degree can be.

This degree is for students who have decided to gain a broad and deep education rather than be narrowly focused. Flexibility to choose courses that match your interests provides you with solid preparation for a rewarding career or graduate school.

Interdisciplinary liberal studies students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the skill of critically thinking about how disparities in power can create systemic discrimination and inequity for underrepresented groups in social, political, and economic structures.
  • Demonstrate skills of project management, including self-directed research, imaginative problem solving, and awareness of stakeholders and audience expectations.
  • Demonstrate interdisciplinarity, the ability to bring two or more disciplines, or areas of research, to bear on complex problems or issues of contemporary concern, expressed through written and oral communication, in a way that shows the ability to create common ground between stakeholders.
  • Demonstrate metacognition and reflection in the spirit of Ignatian pedagogy, especially with respect to the process of education or in multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary work.

What You’ll Learn

Learn about the classes you’ll take as a student here.


In the Nation

Best Bachelor's in Interdisciplinary Studies —Bachelors Degree Center

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#4 In the Nation

Best Integrative Studies

Program Designed for Your Success

Labor of Love, Seattle University students

Community Engagement That Makes a Difference

All interdisciplinary liberal studies majors volunteer to work with organizations for social justice as part of a unique 5-credit course—Leadership for Community Engagement. It provides you with real-world work experience and first-hand familiarity with how community organizations work. Many students choose to continue volunteering beyond the scope of the course.

Alumni Day of Service Photo, Hallie MacPherson

Internships in Seattle: Real-World Experience

Interdisciplinary liberal studies majors are encouraged to take internships for credit, making the most of the many opportunities to work in the Seattle area. You gain professional skills, contacts and advice to pursue your career goals.

Film Studies class, movie lighting practice

Choose a Minor to Support Your Career Goals

Because this liberal arts major is adaptable to your needs, you may choose to minor in any area to achieve your goals. Majors regularly minor in business, psychology, film, criminal justice, creative writing, economics and more. A double major is also possible.

Gaining Marketable Skills

Businesses and communities need creative problem-solvers, leaders and integrative thinkers, which means it is no longer enough to be limited to one discipline.

Being trained as an interdisciplinarian and integrative thinker gives you marketable knowledge and skills that you can apply to your career, such as project-management, effective communication, teamwork, leadership, strategic thinking, creativity and enterprise.

Recent graduates are working in major tech companies, nonprofits, communications, business management, medical fields, counseling, and other professions, and teaching in the U.S., Asia and Europe, and pursuing graduate work. 

Variety of Careers for Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies Majors

Recent graduates are working in every kind of profit and nonprofit business imaginable, or teaching in the U.S. and abroad. Others have pursued master’s and doctorate degrees in places like Harvard and Stanford, as well as locally at Seattle University and University of Washington.

Marketable skills come from being trained as an interdisciplinarian: project-management, effective communication, teamwork, leadership, strategic thinking, creativity and enterprise.

Select hiring companies for program graduates: 

  • Google
  • AmeriCorps
  • T-Mobile
  • Seattle Public Schools
  • Yahoo
  • Verus Investments
  • State of Washington
  • Mariners
  • Blitz Digital Agency
  • U.S. Government

Hear From Our Alumni

Parker Williams

"The effort, research, and love of learning that goes into the IDLS curriculum will serve you both in the classroom and in many other facets of life… I decided [on] IDLS because of the small size of the major, the ability to take classes that align with both personal and academic interests, and the faculty support in this program."


  • Sven Arvidson, PhD
    Sven Arvidson, PhD

    Professor and Director, Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies
    Associate Appointment, Philosophy

  • Philip Barclift, PhD
    Philip Barclift, PhD

    Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies
    Associate Appointment, Theology and Religious Studies

  • Jennifer Schulz, PhD
    Jennifer Schulz, PhD

    Teaching Professor, English
    Teaching Professor, Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies
    Associated Appointment, Psychology

Contact Us!

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