For many students, graduate school is the time to establish their own academic identity while strengthening their skills and broadening their vision. Although many students will elect to stay safely within their disciplines, some exceptional students will accept the challenge of understanding how their work fits with other disciplines within Academe (thus pursuing an interdisciplinary perspective) or with the world outside the walls of the Ivory Tower (thus pursuing transdisciplinarity).
For example, perhaps someone studying nanotechnology wishes to explore the societal impacts of her research in her dissertation. Maybe a student of human cultures wants to know what role our evolution has played. Or perhaps an artist wants to understand how his work may help shape an increasingly technological society. In order to go beyond the disciplinary borders of a dissertation, however, a student will need guidance from an expert in another field.
Inspired by a similar program run by Arizona State's Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes, we call this program "PhD+" -- not only because it can contribute to a stronger, more well-rounded dissertation, but for the added value you can gain from your education. We think you'll find the flexibility, experience, and broader perspective that comes from pursuing interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research can help you both within and outside of your disciplinary field as you go on to search for jobs, apply for funding, and develop your own work.
If you are one of these exceptional students, we would like to help. Seriously exploring the context of research beyond your discipline can be logistically difficult. CSID's PhD+ program can help you find the advisors, committee members, or informal consultations you'll need. PhD+ isn't a formal degree program - but it might help you get the most out of the program you're in. Talk it over with your primary advisor, and then contact us!
Additionally, if you are a faculty member who is interested in participating in our PhD+ program, or who has encountered frustration when trying to help students understand the broader impacts of their work, please feel free to contact us; we'd like to hear from you.