APU adds a new major aimed towards students who are undeclared or have multiple majors

Azusa Pacific University recently introduced a new program called the Interdisciplinary Studies major. This major is under the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and led by Professor Jefferey Boian.

“This is a program that has been designed to help provide an exciting and innovative academic option for students that know what they want to do [after college], but don’t see an existing APU degree as being the degree that is going to get them to their desired end goal,” Boian said. “A great deal of thought is required in designing each specific degree as students choose from two or three unique disciplinary areas of study.”

According to the APU website, the Interdisciplinary Studies major is purposely made for those who seek additional guidance in finding a vocational calling.

“The Interdisciplinary Studies program is a response to the shifting expectations of college students, higher education as a whole, and the needs and wants of industry leaders (future employers),” Boian said. “In design terms, the IS program is simply a response to these shifting expectations. Ask anyone involved with or interested in higher education, and they’ll tell you that the landscape is rapidly changing.”

Students can combine many different disciplines, from music and psychology to business and sociology.

“Right now there is a lot of buzz about what could be in this program,” Boian said. “A good number of students that are inquiring about this new program may end up going with an existing degree program, but there are also a good number of students that are confident that the BAIS program will help them reach their end goal and, for these students, we want to do all we can to help them design a degree that will work for them.”

Tyler Gonzalez, an undeclared freshman, noted the positives that this program can provide.

“It allows students to let all their passions shine. It’s hard to choose exactly one thing, so this allows you to choose a couple to focus on,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez continued to discuss how this major could potentially help a student in the future.

“Having this major on your resume shows a couple things. One that you took time to consider all your passions. Two, that you are creative and can come up with a plan for something. Lastly, it also shows that you have a wide range of abilities and functions that can be useful in the work place,” Gonzalez said.

Undeclared freshman Courtney Page talked about a different approach to the major when it comes to having it on your resume for your future career.

“For the people who have trouble narrowing down a major, it will be helpful to have options for what they want to study,” Page said. “However, I think it could help you or hurt you, depending on who’s reviewing the resume. People could not know what the major is and disregard it, or people could be interested in the fact that you studied multiple disciplines.”

With a major that combines more than one discipline, it seems like the workload would become much higher, but Boian talks about how the work actually might be equivalent to single majors.

“It does not differ in the sense that they will be doing any more or less writing, reading, presenting, etc. I often hear students tell me that something they are doing in college is ‘easy,’” Boian said. “If I prod a bit on these statements, I soon discover that they don’t really mean that it’s easy, but that it is enjoyable, so it seems to come easy to them. I think this program could be just that – students that design their degree program will, likely, feel as though the courses that they are taking enjoyable because they chose them.”

Like other majors, the mission of this program is to prepare students for their future and career opportunities.

“There is a whole lot that could be said about our program’s mission, but in a nutshell, I would say that we want to educate and train vocationally-agile graduates, prepared to make a difference by helping them to develop their vocational identity in Christ, so that they will love God, love others, and be faithfully present in their families, neighborhoods, churches, and workplaces,” Boian said. “We want to prepare graduates who know who they are, whose they are, and are able and ready to do good work well.”