Interdisciplinary Learning

Pitzer students are taught to challenge traditional ways of learning and make immediate connections between academic disciplines. Interdisciplinary learning means more than studying different topics. It means creating new learning opportunities outside of the classroom, within the communities we serve.

  • 14% of Pitzer’s students design their own major in conjunction with faculty advisors. These majors combine elements of multiple fields of study and blur the lines between several disciplines. Examples are: Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Climate Toxicology, Urban Justice Studies and Global/Local Community Engagement through Soccer.
  • Pitzer organizes its faculty into Field Groups instead of departments. Field Groups feature professors from different academic backgrounds exploring topics from a variety of academic disciplines. According to Dr. Al Wachtel, a member of the English & World Literature field group since 1974, Pitzer students and professors uphold the maxim that “where academic disciplines intersect, breakthroughs occur.”
  • Pitzer in Ontario is a justice-oriented, interdisciplinary program in urban studies and community-based research. It allows students to understand regional impacts on globalization and to engage in local social change efforts. The program is led by Dr. Susan Phillips, a member of the environmental analysis field group. Her recent book, Operation Fly Trap: Gangs, Drugs and the Law, examines how federal policies directed at combating drugs and gangs actually generate and sustain the conditions that perpetuate poverty, crime and violence in communities of color.
  • Pitzer first-year students have the opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary-oriented introductory science courses at Keck.Those courses are AISS (a combined intro Biology, Chemistry and Physics course) and IBC (a combined Biology and Chemistry course). According to one former AISS student, “Studying these subjects in an integrated manner allowed me to see the connections that exist between them—ultimately helping me to gain a deeper understanding of all three disciplines” -Kat Harhai, PZ ‘18
Page last updated on January 24, 2017