Southern Utah University’s Master of Interdisciplinary Studies degree ranks 3rd in nation

Stock image | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University’s online Master of Interdisciplinary Studies degree was recently ranked third in the nation by Best College Reviews.

Stock image | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News / Cedar City News

According to a news release from the university, the degree launched in January 2018 and currently serves more than 40 students with 15 possible programs of academic study. The degree can be completed entirely online or via a hybrid format.

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies degree chairwoman Cynthia Kimball Davis, who is also the chair of SUU’s Integrative and Engaged Studies Department, said the high ranking was not unexpected.

“Our MIS degree is just a year and a half old, yet this distinction is a testimony to the success of our program and the folks that have put countless research, time and energy into building it,” she said. “Thus, this ranking does not surprise me.”

The original designer of the program, Steve Meredith, assistant to the president for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness at SUU, said he became interested in the program after speaking with a wide range of people that were looking to upgrade their academic credential, but whose needs didn’t comfortably fit into one of the other graduate programs at the university.

“People’s jobs and lives require such a diverse range of skills, that I began to imagine a program that could combine learning from a variety of disciplines into one degree program,” Meredith said. “After asking around, it became obvious that there was strong interest in such a degree from both students and prospective employers.”

120th annual Southern Utah University commencement, Cedar City, Utah, May 3, 2019 | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Students in the MIS program complete a total of 30 credits for the degree, including a required nine-credit core block of courses. The core courses include an introduction to interdisciplinary studies, research design and a choice to complete either a project, internship or thesis as their degree capstone requirement.

Students also choose two learning blocks of study, each comprising nine credits. Possible blocks include arts administration, aviation, business administration, brain-based learning, corporate online training, cyber security, information assurance, Deming learning, education, leadership studies, library media, music technology, online teaching, professional communication, public administration, special education and TESOL, with more options to come.

“Another unique selling point of this degree is that anyone who began graduate courses at another university, or even under another graduate program at SUU, may be able to transfer them in as one learning block and be a third of the way done with this 30-credit degree,” Davis added.

A three-credit leadership course is also required to complete the degree.

“This recognition of the SUU MIS degree is a testament to the quality of the program,” said Patrick Clarke, dean of the School of Integrative and Engaged Learning. “Students have a great deal of flexibility to make their own choices and can expect not only a challenging, but satisfying learning experience.”

For more information, contact Davis at 435-586-7850 or via email at cynthiakimballdavis@suu.edu.

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