Interdisciplinary Studies Program


The Bachelor of Arts of Interdisciplinary Studies program is an individualized academic program that crosses diverse fields of study. This degree allows students whose vocational or intellectual goals do not lead them into a preexisting degree program the opportunity to explore many different disciplines, gleaning important perspectives, knowledge, and skills while working toward a singular degree. As part of the degree program, students benefit from guidance in exploring and discerning vocational calling for themselves and others. Ultimately, the program allows students to design a major around multiple interests and with a core of vocational exploration and development that helps them identify their vocational calling and prepare for vocations that cross disciplinary boundaries.

Program Overview

The Interdisciplinary Studies Program offers: 

The interdisciplinary studies major, a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree for students whose vocational or intellectual goals do not lead them into one of APU’s existing degree programs, and who seek additional guidance in exploring and discerning vocational calling for themselves and others. With the assistance of an assigned advisor, students design their own study pathway that draws from two or three disciplines.  

The vocational development minor, an 18-unit undergraduate program for students who seek to explore and discern vocational calling for themselves and others while pursuing their chosen major. 

LDRS 303, Career and Life Planning, 3 Units

For students entering the professional world, this course aids in understanding career development options, finance management, and coping with stress. Students gain a greater understanding of their strengths, values, interests, skills, and personality as they seek employment and/or apply to graduate school. Relevant guest presenters spend class time sharing important information that benefits students in planning for careers and life.

LDRS 311, Leadership Values and Virtues, 3 Units

This course views leaders as authentic servants committed to transformation. Students study the leader's motivations, the dreams of followers, conflict resolution, as well as personal, intellectual, and civic virtue. Perspectives for steering clear of bad leadership and toward collaboration with those who share the leader's commitment to the common good are considered. The course focuses on the development of leaders who are responsible, good, humble, and who understand the diverse values of others.

Prerequisite: LDRS 201 (may also be taken concurrently) or junior standing or department consent.

LDRS 322, Leadership Strengths and Skills, 3 Units

This course focuses on a strengths-based approach to leadership and leadership development, as well as the skills necessary for good leadership. Opportunities to understand and practice essential skills such as continual learning, powerful communication, problem solving, managing process, goal achievement, conflict resolution, win-win negotiating, and empowering stewardship are woven throughout the course. Training additional leaders is also a key topic. Effective leadership practice through emphasis on strengths development is the goal of this course.

Prerequisite: LDRS 201 (may also be taken concurrently) or junior standing or department consent.

VOC 200, Exploring Vocation, 3 Units

This course seeks to clarify the assumptions that undergird the Interdisciplinary Major by introducing students to the concept of vocation from a Christian perspective. By developing a theology of vocation, students will see how God calls Christian disciples to engage in work, across the domains, in individualized, ethical, and strategic ways. The class prepares students to engage their academic study with an eye to becoming well-prepared for faithful service in the field of work to which God is calling them. Meets the General Education Requirement: Civic Knowledge and Engagement. 

VOC 300, Writing 3: Writing Within and Between Disciplines, 3 Units

This course prepares students to engage in the professional writing tasks commonplace in the field the student is preparing to enter and to think in an interdisciplinary manner regarding the various disciplines and themes the student has encountered during their degree program. It transitions students from classroom writing tasks, genres, and audiences to those that will be expected of them once they enter their chosen academic field or profession, such as white papers for professional audiences, proposals for organizational change, and letters that cast vision for a group or team. This includes researching in the Information Age, synthesizing information from sources, upholding appropriate industry standards, and adapting to various audiences and rhetorical purposes. Meets the General Education Requirement: Writing 3: Writing in the Disciplines. 

Prerequisite: Writing 2

VOC 450, Interdisciplinary Internship, 3 Units

This course provides an opportunity for directed experiences in applying the principles and skills learned throughout the interdisciplinary studies program while performing specific tasks. Internships are arranged individually by the participants and supervised directly by the instructor. Tasks may include career training and group leadership. Enrollment is contingent upon department approval. Three units must be taken for the Interdisciplinary Studies major; an additional three units may be taken for credit toward graduation. *Enrollment in this class also fulfills the General Education Integrative and Applied Learning requirement as long as students complete a total of 120 internship hours. Meets the General Education Requirement: Integrative and Applied Learning. 

Prerequisite: VOC 200 and VOC 300

VOC 499, Interdisciplinary Capstone, 3 Units

According to a 2013 article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, Employers Want Broadly Educated New Hires. In light of this [consistent] revelation, this course provides students with the learning experience that intentionally brings together all of the previous learning in their respective Interdisciplinary academic journey, pulling together content from multiple areas, held together with a common thread, focused on one's post-college vocational call and identity. Students will showcase their learning from the entire degree's worth of coursework by way of a final project comprised of three major components. Along with the final project, students will engage in thoughtful reading assignments and meaningful dialogue, thus helping to prepare them for successful careers, fully prepared to faithfully engage their future careers as professionals broadly educated, adaptive, thoughtful, and concerned with personal and social responsibility.

Prerequisite: VOC 200 and VOC 300


Department Chair

Chris Leland, Ph.D., Communication Studies

Program Director

Jeffrey Boian, M.A., Interdisciplinary Studies


Paul Kaak, Ph.D., Leadership

Associate Professors

Chris Adams, Ph.D., Center for Vocational Ministry

Bryant Mathews, Ph.D., Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics

Assistant Professor

Courtney W. Davis, Ph.D., Communication Studies

Adjunct Faculty

Phil Brazell, M.A., Career and Alumni Relations

Thomas Eng, M.S., Center for Career and Calling

Rev. Jenn Graffius, D.Min. (Cand.), Center for Vocational Ministry

Shawna L. Lafreniere, Ph.D., Leadership

Chris Neal, M.Div., School of Theology

Karen Rouggly, M.A., Center for Student Action

David Zovak, D.Min., Noel Academy for Strengths-Based Leadership and Education