Why Design Your Own Major at Emory?

Never Take a Class You Don’t Love

Are you an independent thinker?  Are you passionate about something that goes beyond traditional majors? Are you looking for creativity in your major? 

The American Studies (AMST) and Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) majors enable students to take control over their educational journey.  Majors develop a topically focused, individualized course of study integrating multiple disciplinary perspectives. Core courses in the major provide a grounding in interdisciplinary thinking.  Students then select the courses they need to understand their chosen topic from across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Find your intellectual community

All AMST and IDS majors conduct independent research in close collaboration with faculty.  A strong community provides a nurturing environment in which students can grow.  In classes dedicated to developing their individual research projects, peers provide feedback on research ideas and support the writing process.   

Topics of recent senior theses include:

  • Political activism of the 1980s Atlanta punk scene
  • The social implications of the neuroscience of decision making
  • Muslim women’s storytelling
  • Psychological impact of horror films

If you can imagine it, the AMST and IDS majors can help you do it!

Prepare for a Career of the Future

By developing creative, flexible, and broad intellectual capacities, AMST and IDS majors are well prepared to grow into satisfying careers.  All fields, including those just emerging, are looking for partners who can:

  • Engage novel questions
  • Integrate multiple perspectives
  • Design holistic interventions
  • Communicate complex ideas

AMST and IDS majors have gone on to careers in law, medicine, advertising, journalism, city planning, business consulting, media, user experience/interface, education, and non-profits. Translate your passion for a broad, liberal arts education into your life story!

Is the Philosophy of Nursing an Interdisciplinary Field?

Dr. Mark Risjord

Last week, I attended the 25th annual Philosophy of Nursing Conference in Irvine California. It is always a little awkward when a restaurant server or hotel clerk asks “What conference are you attending?” “Philosophy of nursing” uses two words that they’ve heard before and combines them in a way that must be well-nigh unintelligible. I feel awkward because it is so difficult to describe how the two fields are related. After this conference, I began giving the matter some thought, and began to wonder: is philosophy of nursing a kind of philosophy? A kind of nursing? Or is it an interdisciplinary field? And why does this matter?

Questions about whether a field is disciplinary or interdisciplinary sometimes seem to matter only for the sake of academic politics. The relationship between philosophy and nursing is a bit different because, historically, the search for a “nursing philosophy” was begun by practicing nurses. As nursing solidified its professional status in the middle of the 20th century, nurses needed to explain how and why nursing was a distinct form of health care. This led to questions like “what is a nurse?” “what special knowledge or expertise do nurses have?” and “what should the responsibilities of a nurse be?” These feel like “philosophical questions,” and nurses treated them that way. The question of whether the philosophy of nursing is a kind of philosophy, kind of nursing, or interdisciplinary begins to matter when we ask: who should be answering these questions? Philosophers? Nurses? Philosophical nurses? Nursing philosophers?

Last edit: August 24, 2002