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What Is Interdisciplinary Communication?

By Deneatra Harmon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Interdisciplinary communication involves using writing, speaking, and visual skills, as well as critical thinking and research across a variety of professions, leadership positions, and social settings. Some colleges offer interdisciplinary communication as a major, while other institutions offer it under communication studies, mass communication, or organizational communication. Studies in this program generally prepare students for careers as communication specialists or other related jobs.

Schools that offer interdisciplinary communication usually allow students to choose specializations, as well as combine courses with those in the social sciences, business, or journalism. Some colleges, for example, offer interdisciplinary studies that follow different tracks. One track may include mass communications courses such as news writing, graphic design, and public speaking, while another may focus on public relations and advertising with courses like media writing, principles of marketing, and social psychology. Other tracks may follow a curriculum related to organizational communication with courses such as persuasive communication, human resource management, and organizational and industrial psychology.

Other colleges offer tracks that focus on multidisciplinary studies. They offer programs in interdisciplinary communication, with specializations such as marketing, journalism, and digital media. Each specialization has a curriculum relevant to that field of study, such as advertising, magazine writing, or interactive multimedia. In addition, it may be a requirement for all programs to also include general communication courses such as travel writing, popular culture, and media and politics.

Most interdisciplinary degree programs seek to provide students with an overview of communication, which helps to hone their skills in research, analysis, speaking, and writing. An example may be a communication studies program with courses related to interpersonal, mass, and oral communication, as well as theories of communication. To fulfill degree requirements, students may also need to take courses in English, sociology, and other social sciences like psychology and anthropology, in addition to economics, computer programming, and linguistics.

Studies in interdisciplinary communication often prepare students for further study and a wide range of careers. Those who seek graduate study may opt for programs in education, journalism, business or communication management, as well as law, film and television, and international relations. Courses in undergraduate and graduate study generally prepare students for jobs in government, print or broadcast journalism, and private and nonprofit corporations. Work can also be found in fields ranging from public relations to technology to finance. Training in teaching, social work, and human resources can also be received through interdisciplinary studies.

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Discussion Comments
By bear78 — On Jun 29, 2014

Does interdisciplinary communication also have courses in cross-cultural communication? I'm interested in both of these fields and I want to make sure that I take courses in both. Do we have any interdisciplinary communication students or graduates here? Did you take any classes on cross-cultural communication?

By literally45 — On Jun 29, 2014

@SarahGen-- I don't think that career options are limited with an interdisciplinary communications degree. Most public and private institutions have public relations departments or other departments where they need people educated and experienced in communications.

Of course, when the economy is tough, it may be necessary for an interdisciplinary communications graduate to think outside of the box and apply for positions in a wide range of fields. But the need for communication experts will never disappear.

By SarahGen — On Jun 28, 2014

Skills in interdisciplinary communication is highly desirable nowadays in many different fields. I actually think that courses in interdisciplinary communication should be offered for all degrees and majors. Because more than likely, regardless of where these students end up working in the future, they will need to communicate and cooperate with individuals in other disciplines.

I don't think I would want my daughter to study this as a major in and of itself because I think that the career options would be somewhat limited without another degree. But I would like her to take classes in it regardless of her major.

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