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Interdisciplinary Programs

Interdisciplinary study involves an integration of more than one discipline and perspective on a topic. North Dakota State University offers several interdisciplinary programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The undergraduate programs listed in this section are offered through collaborative partnerships of departments in more than one academic college. Programs offered by multiple departments within the same academic college are listed in their respective college sections.


Biotechnology is an interdisciplinary field based on a combination of biology and technology. It includes the application of science and technology to the design of new plants, animals, and microorganisms that have improved characteristics. The methodologies include the use of recombinant DNA for gene cloning and gene transfers between organisms, culture of plant and animal cells and tissues, fusion of animal cells or plant protoplasts, and the regeneration of whole plants from single cells.

Biotechnology also is concerned with the large-scale fermentation processes that utilize some of these novel organisms for the production of pharmaceuticals, diagnostic tests for diseases, feed additives, enzymes, and hormones.

Biotechnology offers seemingly unlimited opportunities to combine genes from related or unrelated species to produce useful organisms with desirable properties that were not previously found in nature. The development of crop plants that are resistant to herbicides or insects, the production of human growth hormone and insulin by genetically engineered bacteria, and the development of unique vaccines are all examples of successful biotechnology.

The Biotechnology program is offered in either the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources or the College of Science and Mathematics and leads to the Bachelor of Science degree or Bachelor of Arts degree (College of Science and Mathematics only). The curriculum is designed to provide students with knowledge and experience in both basic and applied sciences. Students have an opportunity to work with scientists in various areas including, animal science, biology, botany, chemistry, horticulture, microbiology, plant pathology, plant science, and zoology. Faculty in each of the cooperating life-science departments has been identified to serve as advisers for students who select the biotechnology major. Graduates of this program have excellent opportunities for employment in the biotechnology industry or for graduate education.

Students majoring in biotechnology are required to perform a research project in the laboratory of a faculty member/scientist, and to prepare a senior thesis describing their research project. A 2.50 institutional grade-point average is required to graduate from the program.


Note: Students must meet the university’s general education requirements as well as the curriculum requirements in effect at the time of entrance into a program.

Biotechnology Minor

A minor in biotechnology requires satisfactory completion of 21 credits in the following courses. A minimum of eight credits must be taken at NDSU.


Fraud Investigation

The Department of Accounting, Finance, and Information Systems, in collaboration with the Department of Criminal Justice and Political Science, offers a minor in Fraud Investigation. Students will study the causes of fraud, as well as the detection, investigation, and prevention of fraud. Students learn about the criminal justice system including law making, criminality, and prosecution of fraud and other types of crime. This minor will prepare students for possible careers in crime investigation, litigation support, or forensic accounting.

The Fraud Investigation minor has minimum entrance and completion requirements. See the Minor Requirements guide or contact the Department of Accounting, Finance, and Information Systems or the Department of Criminal Justice and Political Science for further information on requirements.



A minor in Gerontology is sponsored through the College of Human Development and Education and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. It provides students with an integrated understanding of the process of aging, aging services, and the aged in America. There are six basic areas of study. Students should follow the directions provided for each of the areas.


Great Plains Institute of Food Safety

An interdisciplinary team of faculty with expertise in food safety from various departments within NDSU's Colleges of: Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources; Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Human Development and Education; Engineering; and Science and Mathematics has formed the Great Plains Institute of Food Safety and developed a unique educational experience for NDSU students. The comprehensive food safety curriculum leads to B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Food Safety, an Undergraduate Minor in Food Safety. A graduate Certificate in Food Protection is also offered (see Graduate School web site for complete curriculum requirements). All these programs are unified around the single issue of food safety, an area of concern for many Americans, the current target of tremendous interest, effort, and spending worldwide, and an area in which shortages of expertise are manifest. Students in food safety are heavily recruited for employment in the food safety fields.

The curriculum is based on contemporary educational theory and employs experiential learning techniques to foster development of students' critical-thinking abilities, collaborative and problem-solving skills, and awareness of employment opportunities. Courses are fully integrated so that students have the opportunity to troubleshoot food-safety issues from "farm-to-fork." The program strives to meet students' present and future educational needs.


Food Safety Minor

Students may minor in Food Safety by completing a total of 16 credits. A minimum of eight credits must be taken at NDSU.


International Studies

The International Studies major is a secondary major that is offered concurrently with a student’s primary program of study. This program provides students with the opportunity to internationalize their major by combining special requirements to obtain the international studies major with their academic field of study. Students complete course work that integrates a senior project, demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language, and participate in an experience abroad to complete a second major in International Studies.


In addition to the courses required for the primary major, students seeking the International Studies major are required to take courses that have an international focus. These include a 15-credit core and nine credits of electives that will be chosen with the help of the student's adviser. Work or study abroad experience, as well as an integrative senior project that ties international study to the primary degree also are required.


Knowledge of a foreign language is an important part of the program. At NDSU students may study Arabic, French, German, and Spanish. Additional language study is available through the Tri-College University in languages such as Norwegian, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese. Foreign language proficiency equivalent to completion of two years of college language study is required. This requirement may be met either through appropriate course work or through a testing procedure in the Department of Modern Languages.

Experience Abroad

An important part of the International Studies major is participation in a study, work, or research experience abroad for at least 10 weeks in duration. Assistance with finding an overseas study program is available in the Office of International Programs.

Selective Admission

To be eligible to participate in the International Studies major, students must have sophomore standing with a minimum grade-point average of 2.50. Eligible students also must have initiated advanced level course work in their academic major and completed the first year or equivalent of their foreign language study. Additional information about the International Studies major and curriculum requirements are available through the department of a student’s academic major, the college International Studies adviser, the Department of Modern Languages, and the Office of International Programs.


Logistics Management

Working in conjunction, the College of Business, the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, and the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics offer a minor in Logistics Management. Companies directly involved with transportation as well as companies in the retail and wholesale sectors increasingly rely on an effective and efficient logistics system to remain competitive. In addition, the public sector also utilizes individuals with logistics and supply chain management skills. Minimum GPA requirements apply to this minor. See Minor Requirements for further information.


Natural Resources Management

With increasing human pressure and a growing need to balance competing demands, our world needs new and better ways to manage society’s impacts on the environment. The Natural Resources Management program prepares students for challenging careers requiring the sustainability perspective and global social perspective necessary for examining and solving complex natural resources management problems. Our goal is the highest and best societal uses of natural resources while maintaining the integrity of life-sustaining socio-ecological systems. Career opportunities abound in federal, state and local government, the private sector, non-profit conservation and environmental organizations, as well as higher education and research.

An interdisciplinary major in NRM leads to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. Students benefit from faculty engagement from the various colleges across the university in the coordination of the program, classroom teaching and advising.

During the first four semesters of the NRM program, students complete a broad foundation of core courses in the social, biological, and physical sciences. The second half of the program offers students the opportunity to focus on a specific area of interest (emphasis). NRM offers six emphasis areas, each allowing students the flexibility to select courses for specialized career preparation.

  • Biotic Resources Science: deals with basic scientific principles that govern the interrelationship between biotic (e.g., plants, animals) and abiotic factors (e.g., climate, soils) in major ecosystems and the use of these principles for environmentally sound management of both natural and agro-ecosystems.

  • Environmental Communication: is designed for environmentally oriented students preparing for careers in communication fields such as journalism, public relations, broadcast media and the internet.

  • Natural Resources Economics: prepares students for management, administrative, regulatory, and policy positions that require a broad understanding of natural resources management and allocation.

  • Physical/Earth Resources Science: leads to an understanding of the physical and chemical aspects of ecosystems. Topics of study include hydrology, water management and quality, waste management, soil properties, energy resources and land-use management.

  • Pollution Control: focuses on the principles and practices of managing natural resources for pollution control. Topics include the technical aspects of pollution as they relate to water, air/solids, earth/soils, and the impact of environmental pollution on biotic factors. Students interested in this emphasis are strongly urged to complete College Algebra before entering the NRM program.

  • Social Sciences: concentrates on human factors (social, political, anthropological) in environmental management and environmental disaster management, while recognizing constraints and opportunities presented by physical and biological factors.


Natural Resources Management Minor

Students may minor in NRM by completing a minimum of 19 credits. Seven of those credits are required courses and an additional three credits from each of the following interdisciplinary categories is also required: Biotic Resources Science, Physical/Earth Science, and the Social Sciences. A minimum of eight credits must be taken at NDSU. A minor approval form is available from the NRM web site.


Women and Gender Studies

The goals of Women and Gender Studies include: Examining the contributions of all genders to aspects of society; exploring the intersections of race, class, sexual orientation, age, and physical ability with gender both globally and nationally; investigating the heritage, challenges and concerns of women and men; and providing a newer and broader understanding of women and men in all fields.

A Women and Gender Studies program provides the benefits of a liberal arts education with an emphasis on critical thinking, writing, and organizational skills, making oral presentations, and expands the traditional acknowledgement that a liberal education produces well-rounded individuals. There also are multiple practical applications of a Women and Gender Studies major. The interdisciplinary curriculum, with an emphasis on equality and diversity, prepares students for leadership in the workplace, politics, health care, sport, family life, education, and law.

Women and Gender Studies Major

The major consists of 36 credits, including a 15 credit core, six hours of general Women and Gender Studies elective classes, and 15 hours of topic-intensive work (Women and Liberal Arts; Women, Families, and Health; and Women, Work, and Public Policy). Many of the courses in the topic-intensive electives are at Concordia College and MSUM.


Women and Gender Studies Minor

The Women and Gender Studies minor is an interdisciplinary program appropriate as a complement to various majors. This minor is particularly useful in acquiring perspectives that complement traditional studies for developing leadership roles or for pursuing careers that involve concerns about gender.


Program Curriculum Guides:

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Undergraduate Bulletin
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7981 / Toll Free: +1 (800) 608-6378 / Fax: (701) 231-8959
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Last Updated: Monday, May 12, 2014 3:31:48 PM