Interdisciplinary Concentration

Interdisciplinary Concentration


The Interdisciplinary Concentration is an individualized student and faculty designed major available to students admitted to Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies. This major is ideal for self-directed students aiming to integrate their academic studies from various disciplines into a cohesive major representing their unique and individualized interests. Students receive support in designing their studies by taking classes that help them plan their degrees and by working with a committee of faculty members.

Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies is a small interdisciplinary, liberal arts college within Western Washington University. Fairhaven College provides students with an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. Students take an active role in the design and content of their education by building strong working relationships with their faculty to explore new ideas within a supportive educational structure. Students enjoy a small learning community while also drawing from resources within the larger university. Fairhaven College offers students a small, interactive classroom of 15-20 students within a college of 400 students. The College’s interdisciplinary curriculum is shaped around inquiry, creativity, leadership, and scholarship. Fairhaven emphasizes critical inquiry with a focus on social and environmental justice and diversity.

The Interdisciplinary Concentration is part of Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies

 “An interdisciplinary education is one in which I can study education, diversity, identity, culture, and teaching, and weave them together to create a holistic major that allows me to become the teacher I want to be.”

-Ethan Glemaker, Student, Concentration Title: “Diversity and the Cultural Creation of Identity in the Classroom" 

Beyond the Classroom

Fairhaven offers unique opportunities for you to connect your interests. Strong encouragement and faculty support is available for independent study, experiential learning and community-based internship learning opportunities that can count toward credits in their Fairhaven major. Fairhaven College students participate in managing the AS Outback Farm, publish the Fairhaven Free Press and Inkspeak literary journal and make creative use of the college audio recording studio, video editing and visual arts facilities. Faculty-led study abroad programs have offered students the opportunity to learn and contribute in service learning projects in the Dominican Republic, India, Nepal as well as other areas of the world. Our ongoing partnership with the Institute for Village Studies offers students study abroad programs annually and the Adventure Learning Grant awards $20,000 grants for students to pursue 10-month international travel experiences.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Fairhaven College graduates have distinguished themselves in virtually all fields including business, health, education, the arts, government, journalism, research, medicine, law, ministry, international and public relations, and more. Notable alumni include: Debora Juarez, Tribal Law expert and former King County Superior Court Judge; Theodore Bestor, professor of Harvard's Anthropology Department; Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus; TJ Martin, Oscar-winning director for "Undefeated"; and Pulitzer-Prize winning Environmental Journalist William Dietrich.

Graduate and professional schools throughout the world recognize that Fairhaven students have successfully taken responsibility for the content and direction of their education and are well prepared for graduate study. Recent graduates have been admitted to top programs around the country including: University of Washington Medical School, UCLA's School of Law; the Public Administration program at Syracuse University; Vancouver Film School; and Cornell University's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, among others.

Recent Interdisciplinary Concentrations include:

  • "Building Community & Resources: Collaborative Advocacy within Communities of Poverty”
  • “Cultures of Imagination: Poetry, Story, Communication, and Creativity,”
  • “Documentary Video and Social Activism,”
  • “Education without Borders: Alternative Methods of Comparative Cultural Studies,”
  • “Homeless Youth in Society”
  • “Power, Identity and Marginalization”
  • “Education, Advocacy and Diversity in Human Sexuality,”
  • “Forest Management: Balancing Ecological and Economic Values,”
  • “Social Justice Studies: Resistance to Systems of Oppression,”
  • “Watershed Studies: Community Negotiations and Environmental Enhancement,”
  • “Youth, Educational Development and the Expressive Arts”

Sample Jobs

  • University Professor
  • Independent Filmmaker
  • Corporate Executive
  • Writer
  • Tribal Government Leader
  • Social Entrepreneur
  • Visual Artist
  • Medical Doctor
  • Organic Agriculture Entrepreneur
  • Human Resource Professional
  • Non-Profit Leader
  • Social Worker
  • Community Activist 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.