At UMKC we understand that each person’s academic, professional and career goals are unique. Our Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program enables students to work across multiple disciplines and develop an academic focus that is just as individual as they are. From the moment you enroll in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, you begin to write your own personal story of the future.

The world of the future will require scholars with a global approach to problem solving. It will no longer be enough to know one area, one discipline, or one field of study. Inquiry and discovery are crossing disciplines. With this in mind, the mission of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program is to span traditional boundaries among disciplines while helping students develop knowledge and skills for independent research on the fundamental questions of the present and the future. Students must be admitted to at least two disciplines (Primary and Co-Discipline) by the end of their first semester.

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Program Goals

Students in the Interdisciplinary PhD program will acquire:

  1. grounding in the primary and co-disciplines;
  2. the ability to integrate the principles and theories of each of the disciplines;
  3. the ability to effectively communicate findings and approaches to solving interdisciplinary research problems;
  4. research skills in each discipline such as approaches, methods, ethical principles, and tools to pursue a research line of inquiry;
  5. the ability to form effective teams with diverse scholars across disciplines to solve novel research questions

Mission and Philosophy

The Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program at University of Missouri-Kansas City prepares the students to investigate some of the most complex and pressing problems of the world today through independent research that integrates two or more disciplines perspectives and methodologies. Because of its focus on collaboration, problem-solving, boundary-crossing, academic excellence, and innovation, the mission of this program reinforces the UMKC’s core values: Discovery and Innovation; Education First; Integrity and Accountability; Diversity; Inclusiveness and Respect; and Energized Collaborative Communities.

Program Core Values and Attributes

The core values and program attributes for the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program are:

Learning is enhanced by a search for knowledge across discipline boundaries. Therefore, the program:
• Is student-centered
• Enables students to acquire the skills of interdisciplinary scholarship and research
• Broadens students’ exposure to multiple academic fields.

Interdisciplinary research draws on discipline-based knowledge, generating integrated solutions to problems that cross discipline boundaries. Therefore, the program:
• Is problem-oriented
• Integrates the attributes of a broad-based interdisciplinary approach with the grounding of a traditional academic focus
• Provides a solid grounding in theories, concepts and methodologies of two or more disciplines

Learning thrives in an environment open to a diversity of ideas, cultural backgrounds, discipline perspectives, and approaches to problems. Therefore, the program:
• Instills an appreciation of different disciplines
• Integrates the disciplinary perspectives to give students the methodological and theoretical tools to thrive in a wide range of scholarly and professional environments

Society derives great benefit from collaborative efforts that transcend discipline boundaries to solve problems. Therefore, the program:
• Prepares individuals to be multi-functional; to combine disparate skills to solve problems
• Provides opportunities for individuals to gain skills in working within a collaborative environment

Student Learning Outcomes

Student performance in the program will measured by the following learning outcomes:

• Students will demonstrate a thorough degree of knowledge in the primary discipline and co-discipline.
• Students will demonstrate interdisciplinarity in their writing by integrating methods, theories, paradigms, concepts, etc. from more than one discipline.
• Students will demonstrate an ability to use proper investigation techniques for their chosen disciplines.
• Students will effectively use oral and written forms of communication to convey their ideas.

Flowchart through the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program

How to Create a Plan of Study – VIDEO


Applicants must meet both the general and the discipline specific criteria for admission and be recommended for admission by the doctoral faculty review group in at least a primary discipline (some primary disciplines require a co-discipline admission simultaneously). Upon approval by the graduate dean, students are admitted to the School of Graduate Studies. If a student is admitted to a primary discipline only, the co-discipline must be chosen and activated by the end of the first semester.

The general criteria for admission for Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program study are as follows:

• Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.
• TOEFL or IELTS scores (International applicants)
• Undergraduate grade-point average of at least 3.0.
• Graduate grade-point average of at least 3.5 or better.
• Three letters of recommendation speaking to the applicant’s ability to complete doctoral-level work.
• Transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended.
• Recommendation by the doctoral faculty review group in at least a participating primary discipline to admit the applicant (some primary disciplines require a co-discipline admission simultaneously).
• Statement of Purpose from the applicant.
• Resume / vita.
• Meet any discipline specific criteria.
• Writing sample may be required.

Ready to Apply?

IPhD Student Handbook