Interdisciplinary Study

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Programs | Minors | Prelaw | Pre-professional | Individual Interdisciplinary Courses | Donaghey Scholars

The University provides opportunities for interdisciplinary study, combining aspects of several academic disciplines that may be affiliated with more than one department or college. These include baccalaureate and associate degrees, minors, and individual courses.


Interdisciplinary Degree Programs

For more information about the programs below, students should consult the listings appearing under the appropriate department or college in this catalog.

  • College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences

      Second Language Studies
      Interdisciplinary Studies
  • College of Business

      Interdisciplinary Business Studies
      International Business Program
  • Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology Studies

      Construction Management
  • Undergraduate Academic Advising

      Associate of Arts in General Studies
  • College of Social Sciences & Communications

    • International Studies

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Interdisciplinary Minors

For more information about the minors below, students should consult the listings appearing under the appropriate department or college in this catalog.

    College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences

    • International and Second Language Studies

    Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology

    • Bioinformatics
    • Information Technology Minor
    • Information Assurance

    College of Social Sciences & Communications

    • Human Services
    • Nonprofit Leadership Studies
    • Gender Studies
    • International Studies
    • Legal Studies

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Prelaw Studies

Joanne Matson, Coordinator Department of Rhetoric and Writing, SUB 108 | (501) 569-8386 | jlmatson@ualr.edu
Students interested in pursuing a legal career through law school after completion of the bachelor’s degree should get the most from their undergraduate education. Law school admission committees are usually impressed by applicants who can convincingly demonstrate that they have challenged their thinking and reasoning skills in a variety of courses. Law schools prefer students who can think, read, and write well, and who have some understanding of what shapes human experience.

Unlike the pre-medical curriculum, which contains some specific, mandatory courses, there is no recommended set of prelaw courses. Law schools prefer that you reserve your legal study for law school and fill your undergraduate curriculum with broad, diverse, and challenging courses. Courses that introduce you to broad legal principles may present you with enough information to decide whether or not you want to continue with a legal education, but they are rarely taught with the depth and rigor of actual law school courses.

UALR offers a legal studies minor for a general understanding of law and legal institutions, but it is not a required minor for law school admission. See the “Legal Studies Minor” section in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing, or contact the coordinator, Joanne Liebman Matson, SUB 108, (501) 569-8386, or jlmatson@ualr.edu.


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Pre-professional Studies in the College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences

The College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences offers students pre-professional curricula for professional areas requiring a background in science or technology as well as in liberal arts. The associate dean and the college’s Premedical Advisory Committee advise students preparing to enter such programs. Advisement in the other pre-professional areas is available through the associate dean’s office in Engineering Technology and Applied Sciences (ETAS) 125.


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Individual Interdisciplinary Courses (IDST)

The content of each of these courses changes with each offering. Interested students should consult the list of current course offerings for the title, description, and teachers of each course. More information can be obtained from one of the instructors listed.

In general, interdisciplinary courses address a theme or a problem from the viewpoints of several academic disciplines or a subject that does not fall within one of those disciplines. These courses are often supervised by more than one teacher. Courses include:

    IDST 1100, 1200, 1300
    IDST 2100, 2200, 2300
    IDST 3100, 3200, 3300
    IDST 4100, 4200, 4300

Each interdisciplinary studies course carries a number and title indicating that course’s level, credit hours, and subject, such as IDST 3312 The Humanities and Technology. All such courses apply as credit hours toward the total needed for graduation and as elective hours. Their applicability toward a major or minor is determined by the department, college, or school of the student’s major or minor field.


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Donaghey Scholars Program

The Donaghey Scholars Program is UALR’s University-wide honors program. Its interdisciplinary curriculum promotes critical thinking and active learning. Scholars classes demand wide reading and extensive writing and lead to vigorous discussions and frequent independent study.

The Donaghey Scholars admissions process uses academic records, test scores, written essays, recommendations, and personal interviews to determine whether the student would benefit from admission to the program. Since space in the program is limited to a total of 100 students, admission is highly competitive. Each year’s class is composed of incoming college freshmen, students transferring from other colleges, and UALR students who have been referred to the program by faculty members. Both traditional and nontraditional students are in the Scholars Program.

Students who are admitted to the program are granted a scholarship equal to the full in-state tuition, a stipend (currently $2,250, $3,500, or $5,000 per semester), and a generous subsidy applied toward study abroad. Scholars who perform satisfactorily are assured of up to eight semesters of support.

Scholars classes are small, making it possible for faculty to get to know students and their interests. Informal advising is frequent. Formal advising in the Scholars Program is handled by the Director for all Scholars who have not declared a major. Because the Scholars Program has requirements spread over four years, the Director remains informed of the Scholar’s progress in meeting these requirements, even when formal advising has been transferred to the department of the Scholar’s major area of study.

The Scholars Program has a specially designed interdisciplinary curriculum, which replaces the University’s core curriculum requirements.

Students admitted to the Donaghey Scholars Program who meet all of the requirements of the Program, as well as all of the requirements in their major and minor fields, graduate as Donaghey Scholars.

Scholars Program Requirements

Scholars Core Courses:

    SCHL 1101, 1102 Scholars Colloquium I and II
    SCHL 1300, 1301 Rhetoric and Communication I and II
    SCHL 1320, 1321 Science and Society I and II
    SCHL 2310, 2311 Individual and Society I and II
    SCHL 3310, 3311 Individual and the Creative Arts I and II
    SCHL 2300, 2301, 3300 History of Ideas I, II, and III
Other Requirements:
  • One seminar outside the student’s primary field
  • Fulfillment of the University’s core curriculum mathematics requirement
  • US History or American National Government
  • A lab science course
  • Successful completion of an oral proficiency examination in a second language
  • Study abroad in an approved program
  • Final project
  • Exit interview
  • A course in the history of civilization, though not required, is strongly recommended

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Courses in Scholars Program (SCHL)

SCHL 1101, 1102 Scholars Colloquium I and II
Prerequisite: admission to the Scholars Program or consent of the program director. Weekly discussions with faculty and community representatives and a time for advising, testing, and other organizational aspects of the program. One credit hour each semester.

SCHL 1300, 1301 Rhetoric and Communication I and II
Prerequisite: admission to the Scholars Program or consent of the program director. Logic combined with oral and written communication; critical examination of ideas and facts in a rhetorical context; and effective communication. Three credit hours each semester.

SCHL 1320, 1321 Science and Society I and II
Prerequisite: admission to the Scholars Program or consent of the program director. Science as a mode of thought and a method of inquiry; impact of scientific thought and scientific technological discoveries on humanity. Three credit hours each semester.

SCHL 2300, 2301, 3300 History of Ideas I, II, and III
Prerequisite: admission to the Scholars Program or consent of the program director. This course examines three recurring themes: humanity’s conceptions of and perceived relationships to the divine; humanity’s conceptions of reality in general and perceived methods of knowing this reality; and humanity’s conceptions of the roles people do and should play as individuals and as members of the social order. These themes are studied in both Western and non-Western cultures, using the methods of history, philosophy, and the study of literature. This is a three-semester course; all three semesters must be taken. The normal sequence is II, III, I. Three credit hours each semester.

SCHL 2310, 2311 Individual and Society I and II
Prerequisite: admission to the Scholars Program or consent of the program director. Individual and group relationships, combining views from political science, anthropology, psychology, literature, and history. Three credit hours each semester.

SCHL 3310, 3311 Individual and the Creative Arts I and II
Prerequisite: admission to the Scholars Program or consent of the program director. An examination of the role of artistic endeavors in enriching human life, including material from art, architecture, music, dance, literature, and theatre. Students must attend and discuss concerts, plays, exhibits, and related events. Three credit hours each semester.

SCHL 3150, 3250, 3350 Scholars Seminar
Prerequisite: admission to the Scholars Program or consent of the program director. Special courses on topics that vary from semester to semester. Scholars seminars will explore issues in depth from an interdisciplinary perspective. These seminars involve active modes of learning (such as reports, projects, or fieldwork); enrollment is normally limited to 15. Non-scholars students are admitted when space is available. One, two, or three credit hours.

SCHL 4399 Independent Study
Prerequisite: admission to the Scholars Program or consent of the program director. This course is designed for students engaged in research leading to the Scholars final project. Topic and thesis committee must be approved by the Scholars Policy Council. Three credit hours.
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