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Broaden Your Horizons With a Bachelor’s in Integrative Studies

For students looking to take an involved, interdisciplinary approach to their education, a degree program like the Northern Kentucky University (NKU) online Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Integrative Studies can be a good option. This program is designed for students who wish to tie together different areas of study according to their unique academic and professional goals. In focusing on student-led inquiry and critical thinking across interconnected disciplines, an integrative approach to education can better help prepare students for life and work in today’s complex world.

What Are the Core Components of NKU’s Integrative Studies Program?

There are only three required core courses in NKU’s online B.A. in Integrative Studies program: Introduction to Integrative Studies, Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Capstone in Integrative Studies. These courses aim to explore how multiple disciplines of study overlap, interconnect and inform one another. They help students learn to think critically and creatively across interdependent subjects, focusing on breadth and depth to holistically consider complex, multi-faceted concepts.

Beyond the three required courses, students in this program design an individualized degree plan with consultation from an academic advisor. This degree plan integrates three different chosen areas of study and is further tailored to the student’s interests through electives.

Who Is the Integrative Studies Program Designed For?

As a degree program, integrative studies specifically addresses the needs of those who want to study something outside of the normal, narrow major disciplines. For instance, someone who would like to do social research concerning women’s health in the global context could choose Women and Gender Studies, Sociology and Health Science as their three main areas of study. Plus, they could further focus on their specific interests by taking elective courses on subjects like global viewpoints or scientific and quantitative inquiry. The flexibility and depth of NKU’s integrative studies program can be great for self-directed, critically-minded students.

What Led to the Present-day Focus on Integrative Learning?

As job markets became more competitive and skill-specific over the last few decades, higher education saw a devaluing of broad liberal arts education. Degree programs became narrower, focused on preparing students with the knowledge and skills needed for a particular career.

Unfortunately, this narrow educational focus does not go far in developing a student’s ability to think critically across subjects, which is crucial when adapting to changing environments or circumstances. Therefore, narrowly focused, job-specific education left many in today’s workforce ill-equipped to navigate the complexities of working in the rapidly changing, globalized world.

Accordingly, many of today’s leaders in education, business and government have called for a move back toward broad, interdisciplinary education that focuses on intellectual skills and integrative learning. As evidenced by numerous articles and surveys from the likes of Monster and GMAC, today’s employers look for employees who can communicate, collaborate, be strategic, think critically and address challenges creatively. Highly valued employees are those who can recognize and draw from different interconnected areas of thought to construct new knowledge and solve complex problems. That, in essence, is integrative learning.

NKU’s online B.A. in Integrative Studies program offers students the flexibility and freedom to shape their education to their interests and goals. Moreover, it can help students develop their ability to analyze and combine different thought patterns, deconstructing, reconstructing and integrating them to form new concepts. The critical thinking and problem-solving skills derived from integrative learning can help students adapt to and excel in the modern age of globalization.

Learn more about NKU’s online B.A. in Integrative Studies program.

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