Interdisciplinary Studies – Everything is Connected
Research in the 21st century is increasingly interdisciplinary; universities are focusing on more interdisciplinary programmes and creating new projects. Catlyn (the Head of the Liberal Arts in Social Sciences programme), what does interdisciplinary mean? Moreover, what does it have to do with Tallinn University?
Different fields of science have been focusing on their own issues and solutions since always. Recent decades have turned researchers’ focus on looking into problems that are either between different research fields or are simply only solvable by bringing these fields together. This is not a new phenomenon but is certainly taking off in academia now. There are many questions that need interdisciplinary answers. Why did the election give us these results? Media analysts, political scientists, sociologists and so many more can contribute. Should a new oil pipeline be built here? The answer needs input from environmental experts, economic experts, management researchers and many more. Answers are often hidden behind different questions from different fields. So it makes perfect sense that this kind of approach starts early, already in bachelor studies.
Students are usually studying one specific thing. Of course, all good programmes include elements from different fields but Tallinn University has two important ways to bring the interdisciplinary approach closer to students. First, from 2016 all BA and MA students will work together with other students from other fields to create interdisciplinary projects that solve problems that need looking into from different angles. This also benefits the students themselves, it’s good to know what others are doing but even better if that makes you understand your own background better. If you are studying literature, it’s good to see the usages of this in completely different fields, it might even give you future career ideas.
The second way Tallinn University is contributing to bringing the interdisciplinary approach to everyone who is interested, are our interdisciplinary programmes. More and more programmes are opened every year, connecting media and politics, various natural sciences or humanities. But none are as interdisciplinary as the Liberal Arts in Social Sciences, TU’s BA programme for all those interested in social sciences.
Liberal Arts in Social Sciences
The original idea behind liberal arts programmes many centuries ago was to bring together the core teachings at the time. TU’s Liberal Arts programme follows that idea by uniting all the core ideas in social sciences and connecting them to practical output. The programme includes courses from all social sciences and allows the student to both connect them and find their own path for the future. The studies include introductions to the topics and multiple ways of integrating them. All students must participate in an interdisciplinary project, carry out practical training outside the university and finish their studies with a research paper that is supervised by a team of teachers from different fields to get a good perspective. Besides getting a good general and interdisciplinary overview, students can design their focus that they can pursue in future studies. In this ever-changing world it’s good to have a clear focus but even better when that focus comes with wider knowledge and an understanding how different fields can come together.
Text by Catlyn Kirna (Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society, the Head of the Liberal Arts in Social Sciences programme).
Read more about the programme and admission requirements from our webpage.
Ask our student ambassadors what they think about the programme: tlu.ee/ambassadors.