The University of Minnesota is home to nearly 50 interdisciplinary graduate programs. This site will help you identify, learn about, and contact these units.
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American Studies is the interdisciplinary study of American culture(s). Students at the University of Minnesota are trained to study U.S. cultures and their interactions. Students and faculty work in a variety of academic specialties, including literature, history, sociology, anthropology, geography, cultural studies, art history, urban studies, political science, women's studies, and the history of science. In addition, the Department of American Studies maintains a strong commitment to multicultural scholarship. We maintain important ties to African American Studies, Chicano Studies, American Indian Studies, and the Asian American Studies Program.
The Applied Economics Graduate Program is a unique partnership of applied economists from across the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus. Participating academic units include:
The Graduate Program in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics provides a broad research-based education. We focus on determining the molecular mechanisms that underlie basic biological functions using an integrated approach that encompasses biochemistry, chemistry, biophysics, genomics, molecular biology, proteomics, and structural biology. Special emphasis is placed on revealing how biological processes go awry in diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and AIDS.
The Graduate Program in Bioinformatics offers a graduate minor, including core coursework in computer and biological sciences and opportunities to interact with others interested in bioinformatics. The curriculum encourages interdisciplinary interaction, communication, and synthesis.
The vision of the Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology (BICB) program is to conduct research and provide education through the establishment of academic and research programs. All BICB academic and research programs collaborate among the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR), the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMTC), the Mayo Clinic, IBM, and the Hormel Institute to advance informatics and computation and to support a strong life science industry in Minnesota.
This is an interdisciplinary graduate program that offers educational and training opportunities not available in chemistry or physics. Faculty members participating in the Chemical Physics Graduate Program come from various departments in the Institute of Technology, the College of Biological Sciences, and the Medical School.
Comparative and Molecular Biosciences (CMB) Graduate Program is interdisciplinary, bringing together graduate faculty with clinical and basic research expertise from various Colleges including the College of Veterinary Medicine; the Medical School; the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; and the School of Public Health. The mission of the CMB Graduate Program is to train outstanding researchers in the basic mechanisms of animal and human health and disease.
Conservation Biology is a free-standing, interdisciplinary graduate program, offering PhD, MS, JD/PhD, JD/MS, and minors. The program strives to provide students with sound graduate traing in the biological sciences relevant to the conservation of plant, animals, and ecosystems. and to expose students to the social, political, and economic sciences that relate to both the recognition and solution of conservation problems.
Research includes: numerical computation, robust control, nonlinear control, linear and nonlinear dynamical systems,and image processing.
The Graduate Program in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior (EEB) links faculty and students interested in the biology of organisms from molecules to ecosystems. Studies address questions from molecular mechanisms of evolution, the interactions of organisms in social groups and populations, the distributions and abundances of species in communities and ecosystems, to global biogeochemical processes.
The Feminist Studies graduate program provides rigorous interdisciplinary training that enables students to conduct scholarly research and analysis both within and outside the academy. Our courses excite students by making clear how research, education, and social change go hand in hand. Our research and teaching interests are tied closely to the expertise of our faculty. Gender, class, race, and sexuality; science, health, and environmental ethics; migration, transnational spaces, and citizenship; collaboration, community, and feminist politics; representation and social inequities; globalization, culture, and power-are at the center of the department's pedagogical mission. Feminist Studies is located within the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. It offers students not just a chance to read and create theory, develop new methods for analyzing the world, or sharpen their critical thinking skills-but also the intellectual tools for envisioning a better society and enacting social change.
The Institute for Health Informatics (IHI) leads the interprofessional discovery, application, and teaching of health information science to improve the health of individuals and communities. The IHI, like the field of health informatics, is interdisciplinary. As an integral component of the Academic Health Center (AHC), it includes informatics as it relates to the professions and practices of medicine, nursing, veterinary medicine, public health, dentistry, pharmacy, and the health sciences libraries, in addition to other University colleges, such as the Carlson School of Management and the College of Design. The IHI offers three graduate level degrees: Masters of Health Informatics, Masters of Science in Health Informatics, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Health Informatics. The graduate program maximize student's flexibility by offering courses online or in person.
The History of Science, Technology, and Medicine is a dynamic, interdisciplinary field that studies these areas in their broad cultural context. The field's rapid growth stems from the increasing recognition that science, technology, and medicine are themselves among the most important cultural phenomena of the modern age. For over twenty-five years, the graduate programs in History of Medicine and the History of Science and Technology at the University of Minnesota have consistently ranked among the country's best. These two programs have now merged into a new Program in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, which began admitting graduate students in 2007.
Human Factors and Ergonomics are the study of how to create things and processes that effectively support people in their work and living activities. They are essential considerations in making technological systems safe, effective, easy and enjoyable to use.
The program emphasizes basic research in the fields of genetics, cell biology and development through the use of model organisms such as yeast, Chlamydomonas, Arabidopsis, C. elegans, Drosophila, Dictyostelium, zebrafish and mice. There is also a strong group of faculty that study human genetic diseases including cancer, ataxia, muscular dystrophy, and immunologic deficiencies. Faculty members have appointments in various departments in The College of Biological Sciences, The Medical School, The Institute of Technology, The College of Agriculture, and The School of Veterinary Medicine.
The Graduate Minor/Concentration in Human Rights provides students in the Graduate School at the University, as well as professional students in the Humphrey Institute and the Law School and opportunity to gain interdisciplinary expertise in the study of human rights laws and mechanisms. The program includes both classroom and field experience in international human rights issues and advocacy.
The Graduate Program in Industrial & Systems Engineering (hereafter ISyE program) offers an MS degree in two tracks; the Industrial Engineering (IE) track and the Systems Engineering (SE) track, as well as a PhD degree. MS degree applicants must indicate which track they are applying for on the application form. Note that the admission requirements for the two tracks are different. Brief descriptions of these programs are provided below; click on the program of your choice for more details. In addition, the ISyE program also offers a dual MS in ISyE and Civil Engineering (Transportation Engineering focus) and an integrated BS in ME/MS in ISyE and an ISyE option for students enrolled in the BS ME program. Details can be found below.
The ISE Masters degree program is run by the Center for Development of Technological Leadership and the Department of Civil Engineering. The mission is to provide a broad based education for engineers working in managing and maintaining the States civil infrastructure.
Innovation Studies (IS) is an interdisciplinary, post-baccalaureate certificate designed for working adults. Its emphasis is on developing the insights and skills needed to support a shift from an institutional model to a self-reliance model that rewards innovative leadership and problem-solving. This 16 credit certificate draws on a broad, growing body of research and literature that deals with the impact of change on work; the expansion and globalization of business and industry; environmental issues; the evolution of technology; self development & leadership; creativity and invention; future studies, and more.
The IBS Graduate Program is a University-wide, multi-disciplinary program designed to prepare students for a variety of careers in the biological sciences. Excellent research and classroom opportunities are available on both the Duluth and Twin Cities campuses.
Graduate students will be broadly trained in this rapidly changing field, yet deeply in a more specialized aspect, of the biological sciences. Training received will give students experience with cutting edge technology, so that they will be competitive in academic, industrial, and governmental settings.
The minor in interpersonal relationships research provides doctoral students at the University of Minnesota with broad theoretical and methodological foundations for research on behavioral interaction patterns between two persons and the impact of these interactions. A recently recognized and rapidly advancing multidisciplinary field of scientific inquiry, the roots of interpersonal relationships research lie in psychology, sociology, family studies, communication, and nursing. The program brings together faculty and students active in research on interpersonal relationships from eight University departments and schools.
The Joint Degree Program in Law, Health and the Life Sciences (JDP) was approved by the Regents in June 1999 and welcomed its first student in 1999-2000. We currently offer over 20 degree combinations for students who seek to combine a law degree with a graduate or professional degree in medicine, biological sciences, public health, environmental sciences, or science policy. Our program is unique in the country as it brings together students and faculty studying a broad range of domains in law, ethics, policy, and the biomedical and life sciences.
The Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) is interdisciplinary in scope and intent, allowing students to take coursework across disciplines. Designed for adult, part-time students with wide-ranging professional and educational backgrounds and goals, the program allows students to create their unique focus areas. The goals of the program include sharpening verbal and written communication skills, broadening general knowledge, and strengthening the capacity to think critically and creatively.
The Minor was created to provide a forum for students and faculty interested in various facets of writing and communication. Students craft an individualized program of study including literacy theory and practice, research methods, and historical inquiry around the topics of the Minor - literacy and rhetoric.
This minor is available to master's (M.S.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) students. Microbial ecology is an interdisciplinary research area concerned with the relationships between microorganisms to their natural environment. The microbial ecology minor offers core coursework in microbiology, microbial physiology, microbial genetics, microbial genomics, microbial ecology, ecology, and theoretical ecology. Additional courses and opportunities to interact with others interested in microbial ecology are also part of the minor. The microbial ecology/biotechnology seminar series allows students and faculty to interact with microbial ecologists from other universities. The curriculum encourages interdisciplinary interaction, communication, and synthesis.
The M.S. Degree in Microbial Engineering was instituted in 1984 to meet the demand in biotechnology industries for employees with advanced training in a combination of microbiology, molecular biology, immunology, and chemical engineering. Currently, 24 graduate faculty from the various departments within the University participate in the program by teaching courses and advising students. The program draws both national and international students and on average, accepts five students into the program annually.
The Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology (MICaB) Ph.D. Graduate Program provides training that emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of biomedical and biological research, while providing opportunities for students to specialize in a specific research area of interest.
The Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics Graduate Program (MCDB&G) is a broad-based interdisciplinary graduate program with 80 faculty members. The program emphasizes basic research in the fields of genetics, cell biology and development through the use of model organisms such as yeast, Chlamydomonas, Arabidopsis, C. elegans, Drosophila, Dictyostelium, zebrafish and mice. There is also a strong group of faculty that study human genetic diseases including cancer, ataxia, muscular dystrophy, and immunologic deficiencies. Faculty members have appointments in various departments in The College of Biological Sciences, The Medical School, The Institute of Technology, The College of Agriculture, and The School of Veterinary Medicine.
Museum Studies is a freestanding graduate minor providing graduate students contemplating professional museum work with insight into and some experience with museum operations. The minor is open to any graduate student. Upper division undergraduates may take 5000 level courses. The program does not offer a degree or certificate in museum studies. Supported by several departments, it does not focus on any one type of museum. Museums collect objects as records of the past (art, history, natural history, etc.) make them available for study and may interpret them for the public. Studying museums can provide insights into their subject disciplines.
The Natural Resources Science and Management Graduate Program offers the Master of Science and PhD degrees that are aligned with eight tracks: (1) Forests: biology, ecology, conservation and management; (2) Economics, policy management and society; (3) Assessment, monitoring, and geospatial analysis; (4) Recreation Resources, tourism, and environmental education; (5)Forest hydrology and watershed management; (6) Wildlife ecology and management; (7) Paper Science and Engineering; and (8) Forest products.
This program draws upon faculty members from over 25 departments, including Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering, Genetics, Cell Biology, & Development, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, Psychology, Pharmaceutics, Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychiatry, and Radiology, to prepare students for careers in independent research or teaching in Neuroscience.
The nutrition graduate program is an interdisciplinary graduate program focused on training master's and doctoral students in the discipline of nutrition, with a major emphasis on research. The program is made up of over 45 faculty members including those from a number of University of Minnesota units (CFANS, SPH, Medical School, Education, Extension, Hormel Institute, UMN Duluth) as well as the Mayo Clinic, VA Medical Center, and Hennepin County Medical Center. The program currently trains over 60 graduate students and also offers a dietetic internship for graduate students who wish to become Registered Dietitians. Students and faculty perform research across the entire spectrum of nutrition, from nutrigenomics through applied research, using a variety of scientific methods including in vitro studies, molecular biology, animal experimentation, clinical studies, behavioral and community research, public health nutrition, and epidemiology. Most research performed within the nutrition graduate program is related to diet and human health.
The Graduate Program in Oral Biology is an interdisciplinary research training program leading to the MS, PhD, or DDS/PhD degree. The curriculum in Oral Biology provides a broad understanding of the orofacial region, its development (including aging), structure, function and pathology. The intent of the program is to train scientists who will be equipped to enter research and teaching careers. This is achieved through courses in basic oral biology and specialized areas such as salivary glands and secretions, mineralized and other connective tissues, oral microbiology, molecular mechanisms of cellular and microbial adhesion, genetics of oral tissues, physical biology of the oral cavity, the secretory immune system and biology of the chemical senses. Additional coursework is required in basic biological sciences. Faculty expertise provides for state-of-the-art research experiences in:
Student interdisciplinary minors are encouraged in fields as diverse as bioinformatics, genetics, or biophysics.
The Graduate Program in Oral Biology is linked to the NIH/NIDCR-supported Minnesota Craniofacial Research Training Program, which supports interdisciplinary pre- and post-doctoral, and DDS/PhD research training by a cadre of about 90 potential mentor faculty from the AHC and IT. The training program will support PhD studies in any of 30 Graduate Programs in he University
The graduate minor has a structured curriculum that provides a foundation in basic areas in Political Psychology: social attitudes and cognition, judgment and decision making, group relations, personality and leadership, mass communication, public opinion, mass political behavior, and political socialization.
In addition to providing students with a background in Political Psychology, the program trains them in theory and methods useful to this field. This program is also intended to facilitate interactions among graduate students and faculty involved in research in Political Psychology. The faculty for the program are drawn from numerous programs within the Graduate School, Law School, and Humphrey School.
Population Studies is a multidisciplinary research area at the intersection of the mathematical sciences, the health and social sciences, and public policy. Traditionally, the field has been associated with demography, which is concerned with changes in population size, distribution, and structure due to births, deaths, and migration. In recent decades, the scope of population research has greatly expanded to include such topics as fertility and family planning; morbidity and access to health care; demographic transitions; mortality; mobility, migration, and immigration; household and family composition; the life course; schooling; poverty and economic welfare; the aged; minorities; economic development; labor markets and labor force composition; social stratification; urbanization; and population growth, density, and distribution.
Prevention Science is defined for the purposes of this program as the scientific study of systematic efforts to reduce the incidence of unhealthy or maladaptive behavior and to promote health and adaptive behavior in populations across the life span through designing and evaluating interventions, and utilizing knowledge about them more strategically.
Program evaluation is an area of inquiry that uses both quantitative and qualitative methods to address questions of concern to policy makers, administrators, managers, and, in some cases, program participants. In this era of competing developments—increased accountability and the democratization of research activity—knowledge of program evaluation is a useful and valuable commodity. The program evaluation minor is an interdisciplinary effort providing intensive study of the techniques and process of evaluation and policy research, in addition to the social and political context within which program evaluation occurs. The graduate minor in program evaluation offers a coordinated set of courses designed for students who wish to have the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct evaluations combined with their graduate majors or professional fields of study. Courses include readings, discussions, and assignments designed to develop the skills essential to professionals intending to use or conduct evaluation in non-profit and for-profit organizations.
This program focuses on establishing linkages between research and risk analysis decision-making. As students develop foundational knowledge and skills in risk analysis, they also gain practical experience in the application of risk analysis to real-world problems. In classrooms and the field, students will explore how risk analysis can reveal fundamental gaps in our knowledge and motivate new scientific questions.
The graduate degree program in scientific computation encompasses course work and research on the fundamental principles necessary to use intensive computation to support research in the physical, biological, and social sciences and engineering. There is a special emphasis on research issues, state-of-the-art methods, and the application of these methods to outstanding problems in science, engineering, and other fields that use scientific computation, numerical analysis and algorithm development, symbolic and logic analysis, high-performance computing tools, supercomputing and heterogeneous networks, and visualization.
The Master of Science in Security Technologies (MSST) shapes tomorrow's analytical and risk management policymakers and innovators through a multi-disciplinary graduate program developed in response to growing demand in many levels of industry and government.
This degree program offers training in stem cell biology, which is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field that rests on foundations provided by molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Students will take lecture, lab, and seminar classes in these various disciplines, in addition to stem cell biology. They will interact with members of the Stem Cell Institute through participation in research seminars and journal clubs, and will spend a full calendar year conducting stem cell research in the laboratory of a Stem Cell Biology Graduate Program faculty member. This research will form the basis of the Master's thesis.
This is a post-bac program lead by Civil Engineering and Geology and Geophysics. A central role in running the program is taken by the NSF STC the National Center for Earth Surface Dynamics. The objective is enable Graduates with the certificate to understand how to blend engineering, physical, biological, and social sciences in order to contribute to the process of prioritizing, designing, implementing, and evaluating stream restoration projects.
This interdisciplinary graduate minor is administered through the Department of African American and African Studies. The minor program gives students from a variety of disciplines a structured graduate curriculum that offers a systematic understanding of the contemporary and historical experiences of peoples of Africa and of the African diaspora. It is organized around a group of core seminars and focuses on two broad areas: the humanities and the arts, and the social and behavioral sciences.
The SST program requires core courses in historiography and philosophy of science, followed by research seminars selected from four main research areas: models, theories and reality; biological and biomedical science; physical science; and science, technology, and society. Topics of the seminars vary from year to year, depending upon faculty and student interest. Some recent seminar topics were: Gender, Biology, and Society: Lessons and Limitations in the Case Study Method; Science and Technology Policy in Post-World War II United States; Gender Matters in the History of Technology; and History and Philosophy of Biology.
The minor in Sustainable Agriculture Systems is open to students enrolled in any program within the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota. The program provides a curriculum with strong emphasis on systemic approaches to analyzing current agricultural production systems in the U.S., as well as environmental, economic, and social conditions that influence changes in agriculture. Courses designed specifically for this program integrate biology, ecology, agriculture, sociology, history, philosophy and economics. Students completing the requirements for the program receive a minor in Sustainable Agriculture Systems applicable to master's (M.S. and M.A.) and doctoral programs.
This University-wide program provides comprehensive training in the broad scope of toxicology. Toxicology, the science of poisons, is devoted to identifying and characterizing the risk associated with exposures to potential noxious agents in our environment. Although most chemical agents at sufficiently large doses may be toxic, not all present a significant risk to human health or to environmental organisms or ecosystems. Accordingly, the essence of the science of toxicology is defining the fine line which distinguishes a risk from a residue. To accomplish this requires scientific expertise in such areas as analytical and environmental chemistry, biology, and mathematics. Advanced courses and research are also available in such subdisciplines as human health risk assessment; epidemiology; environmental chemistry and engineering; ecotoxicology; food additive and nutritional toxicology; biochemical and physiological mechanisms; histopathology; diagnostic and analytical toxicology; drug metabolism; chemical carcinogenesis; behavioral toxicology; and the toxicity of noxious agents to various organ systems.
The Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree is designed to produce professionals able to think across fields of expertise to see and act upon the links between environmental systems, land use and transportation systems, infrastructure development, and housing and community development. The program also seeks to produce graduates equipped with both the technical and analytical skills of planning and a facility to think strategically about plan formulation and implementation.
The Graduate Program in Water Resources Science (WRS) is a unique, multi-disciplinary approach to water-resources education. Our program trains students in a holistic manner to prepare them for complex problems in managing and researching aquatic systems. Through excellent research and classroom opportunities on both the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses and faculty from 25 departments, WRS students develop the breadth of scientific knowledge needed to understand the complicated aquatic ecosystems and watersheds on which they will work.
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