Interdisciplinary Arts

On this page: Major Description | Requirements | Learning Objectives | Faculty & Staff | Courses 

The Interdisciplinary Arts Major

Interdisciplinary Arts (IA) gives students the opportunity to develop expertise in areas spanning written, visual, performance, sound and video, digital, and publication arts as they respond to the constantly evolving world of contemporary arts practice.

The IA major is built on the belief that meaningful contributions to art can be made by anyone from any class, ethnicity, race, nationality, gender, ability, and background. IA faculty implement critical and relevant thinking and practices in art in order to inspire students to push towards new engagements and achievements.

The degree focuses on helping students to think in innovative and experimental ways while developing independent and collaborative projects that cultivate artistic skills .  Coursework in the IA major includes a core class on interdisciplinary arts theory and practice (BISIA 319) and studio-based workshops.  It enables students to develop strategies for artistic and social practice.

Students in the IA major explore the many ways in which artists and their art publicly address complex cultural, philosophical and political phenomena. The curriculum emphasizes research-based art production, while addressing questions of media and genre as these are being transformed through current art practices.  In each of these settings students gain production skills and develop their critical thinking, historical and aesthetic awareness, and cultural and digital literacy. Taught by faculty who are practicing artists with national and international public profiles, the curriculum actively engages in current discourses about embodiment and performance, conceptual and post-studio production, curation and installation, and spoken and material languages.

Students take classes in acting, collage, dance, drawing, experimental writing, improvisation, installation, internet art, painting, performance, photography, poetry, prose, public art, publishing, video, and hybrid and interdisciplinary arts.

Career focus

Interdisciplinary Arts graduates become independent artists, build careers in arts and cultural industries as curators and administrators, and develop arts-based projects in a range of employment sectors, including health, media, and education. They are also prepared for graduate education in the arts and humanities, cultural studies, and are qualified to enter Master of Fine Arts programs. 


IAS also offers arts minors in Creative WritingPerformance; and Visual & Media Arts.

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Major requirements


There are no formal prerequisites for Interdisciplinary Arts beyond the requirements for admission into the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. Useful preparation for this major includes formal and informal training in visual, written, digital, and/or performing arts.  Students will need strong skills in collaborative and creative problem-solving.

Degree requirements

  • BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry* - min. 2.0 grade (5 credits)
  • BISIA 319 Interdisciplinary Arts (5 credits)
  • Art Studios and Art Workshops (15 credits)
  • IA Courses (20 credits)
  • BIS 499 Portfolio Capstone - min. 2.5 grade (5 credits)
  • Additional IAS Coursework (20 credits)

TOTAL = 70 Credits

*Should be taken in the first quarter of IAS enrollment.

Note: Classes in this major are offered primarily during day-time hours.

Learning objectives

The Interdisciplinary Arts curriculum advances the five core IAS learning objectives. Students taking courses and/or majoring in Interdisciplinary Arts will focus on:


Learn how to create and experiment across diverse artistic forms and media.


Locate artistic practices within positional, social, political, and historical situations.


Consider creative practice as a means to generate critical thinking, collaboration, and community response.


Attend to questions of difference and challenge the structural power relations inherent in creative production.


Develop a foundation for sustainable arts practice beyond the academy—in community, career, and/or graduate study—through an emphasis on critical reflection.


Please contact the IA Faculty Coordinator if you have any questions, concerns or ideas about the Interdisciplinary Arts major. To declare the IA major, please contact the First Year and Pre-major Program.

Academic Advisor

Research Librarian


Recommended Preparation

Interested in exploring this major, but not ready to commit? Consider taking one of the below courses! Any of these selections will help familiarize you with the academic program and prepare you for advanced coursework in the major.

  • BIS 121 Introduction to Drawing
  • BIS 130 What Is Art
  • BIS 131 Introduction to Arts Practice
  • BIS 132 Introduction to Photography
  • BIS 134 Introduction to Dance
  • BIS 135 Introduction to Painting
  • BISIA 207 Introduction to Creative Writing: Words, Stories, Dialogues
  • BISIA 230 Performing Arts Techniques
  • BISIA 240 Visual and Media Arts Techniques
  • BISIA 250 Photography as Art
  • BISIA 283 Interdisciplinary Art Techniques 

A. IA Core Courses (IA:CORE)

  • BISIA 319 Interdisciplinary Arts

B. Art Studios and Art Workshops (IA:SW)

  • BIS 450 Performance and Healing
  • BISIA 207 Introduction to Creative Writing: Words, Stories, Dialogues
  • BISIA 230 Performing Arts Techniques
  • BISIA 240 Visual and Media Arts Techniques
  • BISIA 250 Photography as Art
  • BISIA 283 Interdisciplinary Art Techniques
  • BISIA 310 Creative Writing: Poetry
  • BISIA 311 Creative Writing: Prose
  • BISIA 330 Performing Arts Workshop
  • BISIA 340 Visual and Media Arts Workshop
  • BISIA 342 Materials and Meanings
  • BISIA 344 Video Art
  • BISIA 350 Photography and Digital Art
  • BISIA 383 Interdisciplinary Arts Workshop                                                                   
  • BISIA 410 Advanced Creative Writing Workshop
  • BISIA 440 Advanced Visual and Media Arts Workshop
  • BISIA 450 Image & Imagination
  • BISIA 483 Advanced Interdisciplinary Arts Workshop
  • BISIA 484 Arts Learning in the Community

C. Interdisciplinary Arts Courses (IA)

  • BIS 203 History of InterArts
  • BIS 206 Engaging Literary Arts
  • BIS 208 Experimenting With the Arts
  • BIS 209 Engaging Visual and Media Arts
  • BIS 212 Engaging Performing Arts
  • BIS 263 Literature into Film
  • BIS 301 Narrative Forms
  • BIS 322 Topics in Performance Study
  • BIS 323 Hsitory of Photography
  • BIS 347 History of American Documentary Films
  • BIS 375 Mexican Art and Culture
  • BIS 378 Languages of Poetry
  • BIS 382 Visual Arts of Biology
  • BIS 383 American Art and Architecture
  • BIS 385 Art and Climate Change
  • BIS 431 Sexual Politics and Cultures
  • BIS 460 Topics in Critical Theory
  • BIS 464 Topics in Advanced Cinema Studies
  • BIS 470 Art, Politics, and Social Change
  • BIS 471 Women in Art
  • BIS 474 Topics in European Cultural History
  • BIS 476 Issues in Art History
  • BIS 486 Studies in Women and Literature
  • BISAES 367 Exploring American Culture: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration
  • BISCLA 318 Performance, Identity, Community, and Everyday Life
  • BISCLA 380 Art and its Context
  • BISCLA 384 Literature and Popular Genres
  • BISIA 401 Literary & Arts Journal
  • BISPSY 348 Cultural Psychology
  • BISMCS 333 Media and Communication Studies
  • B IMD 233 Fundamentals of the Web Media Technology

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