Interdisciplinary Studies

  • Degrees Offered: M IDST, PhD IDST
  • Application Deadline: For funding consideration May 31 for Fall intake, October 31 for Winter intake, Open
  • Study Options: Thesis
  • Length: M IDST two years, PhD IDST four years
  • Entry Terms: Fall, Winter
  • Interdisciplinary Studies Handbook

Our program enables students to pursue individualized and innovative interdisciplinary research outside the boundaries of existing discipline-specific graduate programs. The IDST PhD program has grown rapidly and with over 70 students is now the single largest PhD program at UNB.

The M IDST and PhD IDST programs are supported by over 75 faculty members at UNB Fredericton and UNB Saint John across all major disciplines. The program is recognized for its high quality students, and its program diversity and flexibility.

Previous graduates of the program are employed in academia and in the private and public sector. Recent PhD IDST graduate include:

  • Dr. Michelle Cardoso, who was immediately hired as a Postdoctoral Fellow to assist a France company with airplane seat design;
  • Dr. Linda Duffett-Leger is now an Assistant Professor of Nursing in Calgary, with interests that include community nursing and population health, maternal mental health, and web-based approaches to learn and technology in classrooms;
  • Dr. Michael Maynard is now Dean of Seneca College;
  • Dr. Ken Seaman is now a Senior Instructor in Kinesiology at UNB; and
  • Dr. Karen Stote is now Assistant Professor in Women’s Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Current student research projects

Our Interdisciplinary students work with a wide range of faculty across both campuses. Our current students are researching topics such as:

  • Transgender advocacy
  • Cultural ‘translation’ of standardized tests for school students in Spanish-speaking countries.
  • Examining economic development in Northern Ontario- reconciling First Nations approaches with Canadian approaches.
  • The culture of Saint John: The media choices of a post-industrial city.
  • Improving the Quality of Salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska: Wealth, profit sharing, and their effects on the dilemma of collective action, Communication and Information Flow in Integrated Oceans Management.
  • Qualitative exploration of women’s appearance post cancer diagnosis and treatment.
  • Perceptions of Aging Master’s Athletes Involved in High Risk Sports, Workplace Wellness.

Master's in Interdisciplinary Studies (M IDST)

A course of study for the M IDST degree includes:

Coursework: Relevant courses are selected from those offered by IDST and in the graduate programs and faculties across the university. Coursework normally includes six graduate courses, two of which may be independent study/directed reading courses with a maximum of two courses taken at another university.

Research Proposal: The proposal outlines the research question, relevant literature, methodology, and research design of the proposed study. An oral presentation of the proposal is also required. The Supervisor and Interdisciplinary Advisory Committee must approve the proposal and oral examination, and Ethics approval (if appropriate) must be obtained before the research can proceed.

Master's Thesis: The thesis incorporates all of the elements of the research proposal outlined above plus the documentation and analysis of a student's actual research project. The presentation of the thesis and subsequent oral examination must meet all of the requirements as outlined in the UNB Calendar, 22 A.

PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies (PhD IDST)

A course of study for the PhD IDST degree includes:

Coursework: Relevant courses are selected from those offered by IDST and in graduate programs and faculties across the university. Coursework normally includes five graduate courses, two of which may be independent study/directed reading courses and two courses may be taken at another university.

Research proposal: The proposal outlines the research question, relevant literature, methodology, and research design of the proposed study. An oral presentation of the proposal is also required. The Supervisor and the Interdisciplinary Advisory Committee must approve the proposal and oral examination, and Ethics approval (if appropriate) must be obtained before the research can proceed.

Comprehensive examinations: The comprehensive examinations are intended to ensure students are prepared in at lease two substantive relevant areas prior to engaging in doctorial research.

Doctoral dissertation: The doctoral dissertation involves all of the elements of the proposal outlined above plus the documentation and analysis of the candidate's research project. The dissertation and subsequent oral examination must meet all of the requirements and regulations as outlined in the UNB Calendar 21 (A).

Application Requirements

  1. Applicants must secure a research supervisor before applying.
  2. Masters applicants require a 4 year program (preferably honours or equivalent) with at least an A- average. PhD applicants require a Masters degree with thesis, or equivalent research experience, and at least an A- average.
  3. International student whose first language is not English must provide language test score results. If applicable, a TOEFL score of 100, TWE 5.5, or IELTS of 7. Must indicate ‘academic’ not ‘general’.
  4. Applicants are to submit:
    • 5-page thesis/dissertation proposal (with working bibliography), along with the following: a paragraph explaining why they wish to pursue a Masters or Doctoral degree in IDST, a paragraph explaining the different disciplines the candidate will bring to the research topic
    • A letter from the supervisor indicating their willingness to supervise the applicant
    • Three academic references
    • A sample of a sustained piece of academic writing (e.g.,term paper of 15-20 pages, or thesis chapter)
    • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work taken at any postsecondary institution attended
    • Complete application form

Contact Us

For more information contact Dr. Mary McKenna, Assistant Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies, or Aimee Hughes, Graduate Program Assistant. In Saint John, contact Dr. Sarah Maier, Acting Director of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Related: Interdisciplinary Studies Information Sheet