Interdisciplinary PhD programs represent degrees earned at traditional educational institutions that evolve in collaborative environments. These programs do not necessarily have a singular focus; rather, a student can select courses from different colleges within the university in order to create a PhD program. Therefore, there is no specific set of interdisciplinary degrees that may currently exist, at least not until a student enrolls and creates a degree program. Students create their own PhD degree based on classes they find interesting and believe will create the best education for a future career. For example, mixing an engineering PhD with management classes creates a dual PhD degree that is perhaps better than having a doctorate in one of the two areas.
The focus of interdisciplinary PhD programs often starts with enhanced learning from multiple backgrounds. That is why two or more colleges within a university must participate in the PhD program for it to be successful. Within each college in the university, specific degree programs offer doctorate-level courses for the creation of an interdisciplinary degree. Colleges offer these PhD programs so students can focus on what they desire to know rather than what a school thinks a student should know on a single topic. Interdisciplinary degrees can also broaden a student’s current background, which may only be in a specific degree.
Research may also be another type of interdisciplinary PhD program offered through universities. These types of degrees may focus on sciences and social sciences, such as molecular biology and economics. The research portion of interdisciplinary PhD degrees may prepare an individual for a career in certain nonprofit or government positions. For example, an individual may earn a PhD in an interdisciplinary degree that contains courses in health care and economics. The ability to conduct research using two or more educational backgrounds may be more valuable to these other types of organizations that do not require traditional degrees.
A problem-solving PhD degree may also be a type of interdisciplinary degree offered through a university’s collaborative environment. Here, students may need to select courses from specific colleges within the university for interdisciplinary PhD programs. Rather than basing their efforts solely on the learning of research methods, this type of degree is more practical in nature. This degree program creates an environment where an individual learns techniques to solve problems specific to a company that operates in a certain environment. Again, specific courses in certain disciplines may offer more problem-solving courses for these interdisciplinary PhD programs.