In the past few years, intercollegiate programs have become popular in schools and colleges across the country. Universities like Colorado State and the University of Texas have offered such programs for years. Now Temple University can be added to the list.
Intercollegiate programs provide students with the opportunity to have an undergraduate experience different from traditional study, as they take advantage of more than one school within the university.
Temple has four different programs that fit this description. American Culture and Media Arts is a major combining courses from both the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Communications and Theater. Students are required to choose a primary school, but the requirements for the major are the same in either CLA or SCAT.
The courses required of all ACMA majors include FMA, JPRA and American Studies courses. Though the major is only five years old, there are already 30 students in the program, a jump from the five declared majors three years ago.
“The goal of the major is to give students a broad cultural and historical context, as well as the critical-thinking skills, to understand the role of media in American life. At the same time, the program is meant to give students some exposure to media themselves,” Dr. Carolyn Kitch, director of the ACMA program said. “The major prepares them for a variety of possible careers, including work in the media industries, museum or library work and graduate school.”
Recently, Temple’s Department of Economics and Department of Mathematics have joined forces to create the Mathematical Economics major. The Undergraduate Bulletin reported that, “economics has progressed in the last several decades by making extensive use of mathematical techniques.”
Though this program is especially recommended for those students who intend to pursue graduate studies in economics, a focus in accounting and other disciplines make this major an attractive option.
The Environmental Studies major at Temple is offered jointly by the College of Liberal Arts and College of Science and Technology, designed to help students attain an academic background to understand a wide range of significant environmental issues. “The program has had remarkable growth in that rather short time,” professor Robert Mason said.
Only five and a half years since its inception, there are 85 majors. “I think environmental studies offers considerable benefit,” Mason said. ” We ensure that our students have a good science as well as a policy, planning and economics background. This is essential for much work in the environmental field.”
Unlike other intercollegiate programs, environmental studies includes both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science option, as well as a possible minor. “A minor is an excellent add-on to many majors, including those in sciences, social sciences and journalism. For those who plan to teach, environmental studies preparation is in demand,” Mason said.
Combining the Department of Economics and the Department of Political Science has resulted in an intercollegiate program known as political economy here at Temple. Political economy is not a major, but rather a track for students seeking specialized knowledge in political economy. The program calls for the completion of eight courses in two components, core courses at the lower-division level and elective courses at the upper-division level.
The political economy program offers intense study of the relationship between the political and economic areas of society. As stated in the Undergraduate Bulletin, students will walk away with a “better understanding of public policy choices and the policy making process, as well as a better understanding of how government actions affect the process of economic change and vice versa.” This program is ideal for students preparing for graduate study in the social sciences or law. These four programs offer a unique approach to the ordinary undergraduate study. However, interested parties be warned, as Kitch said, “Interdisciplinary learning is not just about freedom to choose classes; structure and planning are crucial.”
Intercollegiate programs, in her experience, have tended to “attract students who are highly motivated to put together a major that makes particular sense for them, who take an active role in planning their own education.”
Michelle Nicoletto can be reached at email@example.com.