What are Interdisciplinary Studies?

Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies is a small interdisciplinary, liberal arts college within Western Washington University. In this program, you will take an active role in the design and content of your education by building strong working relationships with faculty and exploring new ideas within a supportive educational structure.

Interdisciplinary Studies Degree(s)

Interdisciplinary Concentration, BA

Degree Type: Interdisciplinary

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


Kate Di Nitto, Enrollment & Orientation Manager
dinittk@wwu.edu | 360-650-6818

Interdisciplinary Concentration: Law, Diversity & Justice Emphasis, BA

Degree Type: Interdisciplinary

The Law, Diversity & Justice (LDJ) Concentration is designed for students with a strong interest in law, diversity and access to the legal system for under-served communities. The concentration is open to all Fairhaven students with a passion for social justice.


Kate Di Nitto, Enrollment & Orientation Manager
dinittk@wwu.edu | 360-650-6818

Interdisciplinary Studies at Western

At Fairhaven College, you'll 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.

Student Experiences

Experiential Learning

Strong encouragement and faculty support is available for experiential learning through independent study, Senior Projects, 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.


There are dozens of scholarships available to students who are enrolled in Fairhaven College. Each scholarship has its own application criteria; please see the requirements each individual scholarship for more information

Organizations and Clubs

Fairhaven College students are consistently involved in campus and community activities. They can be found writing for Western’s student run newspaper the Western Front, deejaying on KUGS-FM, competing in intercollegiate athletics, writing and editing literary publications, serving as Resident Advisers, participating in Residence Hall leadership programs, and acting, singing and dancing in musical and dramatic productions.  Every year any number of Fairhaven students coordinate, work for and hold leadership positions in many Associated Students organizations.

Here's a tiny sampling of things you can do on campus:

The Associated Students | KUGS-FM RadioWestern Front | Athletics | Resident Advisors

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" 

What can you do with?

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. 

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.

Interdisciplinary Studies careers

  • 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

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"
  • Pulitzer-Prize winning Environmental Journalist William Dietrich.

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
  • Cornell University's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Related Majors

Start Your Career at Western