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About Interdisciplinary Studies

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York’s Interdisciplinary Studies (IS) is one of the university’s oldest and most successful graduate programs. Intentionally small in size, Interdisciplinary Studies is unique not only among the programs hosted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, but also among graduate programs offered by other universities in Ontario. IS enjoys a national and international reputation by attracting applicants from across Canada, as well as from the United States and overseas. 

The IS Master’s programme provides students with an opportunity to pursue independent, innovative and individualized research that does not fit into traditional disciplinary categories. IS students are self-motivated, well organized, innovative and independent. Applicants to the programme have a wide range of academic and non-academic vocational and/or professional backgrounds and are driven to conduct trailblazing research.  

Students can propose a wide range of interdisciplinary topics for study, by focusing on three disciplines from any faculty at York, e.g. the fine arts, the sciences, the social sciences, humanities, law, education, engineering, health, environmental studies, business etc. Successful applicants are required to accumulate 18 graduate course credits. Additionally, students write a scholarly thesis with the option of a creative component that culminates in a full oral defence.  

History of Interdisciplinary Studies

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Since its founding in 1965, York University has established itself as “a leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada.” The Interdisciplinary Studies (IS) programme epitomizes this academic imperative. The Master of Arts in IS - one of the first formalized graduate programs in Canada - enables highly motivated students to study within three distinct disciplines in order to deeply explore a particular problem or phenomenon.  

Established in 1972, the IS Graduate Programme encourages students to pursue original research in ways that do not fit comfortably into methodological and theoretical categories represented by and propagated in conventional MA programs. Interdisciplinarians evaluate multiple theories and methods and utilize the best elements from a variety of disciplines to generate cutting-edge work. IS students interact with a community of scholars who have insight into specialized topics in order to address complex problems and questions that cannot be tackled satisfactorily based on research in one discipline. 

Learn More

The Graduate Programme in Interdisciplinary Studies at York is an exciting environment to pursue innovative, socially engaging, career-ready education. Contact our Graduate Programme Administrator to learn more.