The Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) program in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences encourages students' freedom and creativity while maintaining the University's commitment to excellence. Founded in 1982, Interdisciplinary Studies recognizes the demand for high quality, non-traditional graduate programs that transcend disciplinary boundaries.
Interdisciplinary Studies consists of multiple established degree paths (concentrations) that exist in partnership with academic units and faculty across the University. In addition, the Individualized Studies concentration allows applicants the opportunity to design a custom degree tailored to their unique multidisciplinary interests.
While their degree paths may vary dramatically, all Interdisciplinary Studies students share a desire to address critical problems facing the world today: environmental degradation, climate change, human trafficking, social injustice, income inequality, trauma and psycho-social healing, gender-based violence, religious intolerance, international conflict, and so on. Interdisciplinary Studies offers a home for students with broad academic interests who seek a master's degree that will help them to create a better world.
All of our concentrations are multidisciplinary in nature, allowing students considerable freedom to tailor their degrees to their unique interests and professional goals.
Many Interdisciplinary Studies concentrations require or encourage credit through experiential learning as interns, researchers, or consultants in a professional setting of the student' own choosing. Experiential learning enables students to extend and apply their classroom learning by turning theory into practice.
The MAIS degree culminates in a Capstone Experience that unfolds over 2-3 semesters. Students synthesize their course work into an original research proposal in MAIS 797, our guided proposal-writing course. They then register for project or thesis credits, enabling them to stretch and grow through 1-2 semesters of unstructured research, writing, and discovery under the direction of their capstone faculty committee.
Innovation is not just a core component of the Interdisciplinary Studies student experience; it is also built into the design of the program itself.
Interdisciplinary Studies is unique among Mason graduate programs because it offers faculty a way to pilot new Master's degrees as concentrations, thereby staying on the cutting edge of higher education. For example, the M.A.s in Anthropology, Communication, and Higher Education were once MAIS concentrations. As a result, the Interdisciplinary Studies program continues to evolve.
Growth and change are constants in Interdisciplinary Studies, but our embrace of excellence, freedom, and creativity is timeless.