Credits and costs
Earn a Penn State Multidisciplinary Degree Online
If you are looking for a highly versatile program that focuses on issues of leadership and organizational dynamics, yet do not want to limit yourself to a narrow, single-discipline approach, Penn State's Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies may be for you.
This 100% online degree program is rooted in the theoretical foundation of a liberal arts education, emphasizing a broad education that can prepare you for the complex social, cultural, and organizational issues that you may face in most leadership positions. Your education will focus on four academic principles — communication skills, critical analysis, research, and theory and application.
As a student, you will be able to:
- integrate knowledge and synthesize multiple disciplinary perspectives into an intellectual or professional identity
- effectively communicate about diverse topics in both written and oral formats
- conduct research and apply empirical or creative processes specific to your field of specialization
- improve critical soft skills sought by many hiring managers
A Highly Versatile Online Degree in the Liberal Arts
Develop career-ready skills — You can sharpen your communication and analytical skills, hone your leadership abilities, and gain an understanding of the ethical and diversity issues facing our world today.
Increase your career options — Whether you choose sales, marketing, or service, a bachelor's degree in multidisciplinary studies can help you gain the leadership and organizational skills you need to succeed.
Complete your degree online — Already have college credit? Given the program's broad nature, the multidisciplinary studies program delivers built-in flexibility, making it an efficient path for students who hope to apply previously earned college credit toward a bachelor's degree. Degree-completion candidates should consult with an admissions representative for more details.
Who Should Apply?
The bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies could be an ideal choice if you:
- need a degree completion program that is flexible and might accommodate previously earned college credit
- currently work in a managerial or leadership position and need a degree to advance in your career
- are naturally drawn to a variety of interests, particularly disciplines in the social sciences and humanities
- enjoy probing issues, analyzing topics from various viewpoints, and solving critical problems
- aspire to attend graduate school
The Penn State Difference
Unique student-designed major — You will work 1-on-1 with an academic adviser to design a program that creates a level of intellectual depth in an area of study that is unique to your interests and career goals.
Earn multiple credentials along the way — While earning your bachelor's degree online, you can enhance your résumé by acquiring a professional certificate or an associate degree. For example, both the certificate in organizational communication and the associate degree in multidisciplinary studies include many of the courses required for the Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies. You can gain credits toward a bachelor's degree while also accomplishing these notable milestones along the way.
Access to world-renowned faculty — You will have the opportunity to study with highly regarded faculty from Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts, one of the premier institutions in the world to study and work in the liberal arts disciplines.
Multidisciplinary Studies is a theme-oriented and student-designed major leading to a bachelor of arts degree. Learners have the flexibility to design a theme-based program of study that reflects their career goals with the guidance of their academic adviser.
A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of "C" or better in the 36 required course credits for the major. Four different course themes are available to fulfill program requirements:
- communication skills
- critical analysis
- research methods/projects
Additional Courses (24 credits)
Courses require a grade of "C" or better. Select 24 credits from University-wide offerings to include:
- 12 credits at the 400 level representing at least three different subject areas
- 3-credit, 400-level capstone course
- A minimum 9 credits from the humanities and social sciences
Supporting Courses and Related Areas (12 Credits)
Courses require a grade of "C" or better.
- Select 3 credits in research methods/projects from courses that involve research methodology or that focus on a research project
- Select 3 credits in communication skills from courses that focus on expression, including those in verbal, symbolic, and written skills
- Select 3 credits in theory/application from courses that focus on theory, principle, central concepts, or fundamental issues
- Select 3 credits in critical analysis from courses that focus on evaluation, synthesis, and analysis
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
Some Bachelor of Arts requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major, General Education courses, or electives. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.
- Foreign Language: 0–12 credits
Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language.
- B.A. Fields: 9 credits
Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (cannot be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)
- Other Cultures: 0–3 credits
Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.
General Education Requirements
Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.
- Arts (GA): 6 credits
- Humanities (GH): 6 credits
- Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
- Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
- Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
A student must receive a grade of C or better in GWS courses.
- Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
A student must receive a grade of C or better in GQ courses.
- Integrative Studies: 6 credits
This requirement only applies to students starting in summer 2018 or later. Learn more about the Integrative Studies options and consult your academic adviser when choosing courses to fulfill these requirements. Integrative Studies credits may be completed within the thirty Knowledge Domain credits and must be completed with either Inter-domain or Linked courses, not a combination of both.
Elective Courses (select 15 credits)
Among the degree requirements, students should incorporate at least:
- 3 credits in U.S. cultures
- 3 credits in international (IL) cultures
- 3 credits in writing-across-the-curriculum courses
The course list includes only courses offered by World Campus. An official degree audit or the recommended academic plan for this program may include additional course options and detailed requirements. All students are expected to complete at least 36 Penn State credits to earn this degree. Please consult an academic adviser for details.
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||If you have 59 or fewer credits||If you have 60 or more credits|
|11 or fewer||$620 per credit||$664 per credit|
|12 or more||$7,527 per semester||$8,125 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.
- Fall Deadline: Apply by June 30 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by October 31 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by March 15, 2024, to start May 13, 2024
New students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about applying for financial aid and recommended deadlines.
Thank you for your interest in applying to this program. Contact an admissions counselor to discuss your educational goals, financial aid options, and application deadlines.
To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate, or have completed your GED.
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need the following items to complete your application:
High school transcripts or GED transcript - First-year applicants are required to submit Self-Reported Academic Records (SRAR). Official high school transcripts will only be required at the time a student accepts an offer of admission to Penn State.
Official college or university transcripts, if you attended another institution, and/or official military transcripts (if applicable). (All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended. Acceptance of transfer credit toward your degree is subject to final approval by the academic department. For detailed information, see the Transfer Students page.)
Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Please send your transcripts by mail or electronically through Parchment, eScrip-Safe, or the National Student Clearinghouse directly to Penn State from the college/university where coursework was attempted.
Submit official documents by mail to:
Undergraduate Admissions Office
The Pennsylvania State University
201 Shields Building
University Park PA 16802
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Language Proficiency section on the Undergraduate Admissions International Requirements page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
Start Your Application
Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions.
If this is your first time applying to Penn State, you'll need to complete the following steps:
- Review the application instructions before beginning.
- Complete the online application and submit all official documents.
- Pay the application fee.
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form and choosing "MyPennState — Check Application Status." Your decision letter (confirming your acceptance or denial) will be mailed four to six weeks after receipt of all application materials. An admissions counselor will contact you if additional information is required.
Review the technical requirements for this degree program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?
Start or Advance Your Career
Start or Advance Your Career
Sharpen your communication and analytical skills. Hone your leadership abilities and gain a deeper understanding of ethics and diversity issues. The skills and knowledge you gain by earning an undergraduate degree in multidisciplinary studies combined with the support of Penn State career resources can open doors in whatever field you choose.
To learn more about the Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies, offered in partnership with the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts, please contact:
World Campus Admissions Counselors
Email: [email protected]
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Dr. Bryan McDonald is the director of interdisciplinary programs in the College of the Liberal Arts and an associate professor of history. Dr. McDonald is a historian of modern America with research and teaching interests in food security and food systems. He is currently working on a book project that explores the history of food as a security issue in modern America. He is the author of Food Power: The Rise and Fall of the Postwar American Food System (Oxford University Press, 2017) and Food Security (Polity Press, 2010) and the co-editor of Global Environmental Change and Human Security (MIT Press, 2009) and Landmines and Human Security: International Politics and War’s Hidden Legacy (SUNY Press, 2004). He has published more than 25 articles, book chapters, reviews, and policy documents.
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Dr. Stephanie Cardona is an academic advising liaison and instructor with Penn State World Campus for interdisciplinary programs in the College of the Liberal Arts. A Penn Stater since 2008 living in Key West, Florida, Stephanie has been teaching in higher education for 19 years in the areas of English and composition. Her interests and skills are in the areas of curriculum development and design, qualitative research, distance learning, culturally relevant pedagogies, and immersive technologies.
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John Kryst is an academic adviser and instructor with Penn State World Campus in multiple College of the Liberal Arts programs. John has been with Penn State since 2012. Currently living in New York, John has lived in Minnesota, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, working in higher education since 2007. He has served many student populations in that time and is passionate about education being accessible and open to anyone seeking to learn.
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Dr. Avis Kunz is the senior assistant dean for Online Education and Outreach and the director of the Filippelli Institute for e-Education and Outreach in the College of the Liberal Arts. Her interests are broadly in distance learning and teaching and administration of online programs. She has more than 25 years of experience in educational administration, including community colleges, community education, adult literacy, and Penn State.
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Tycely Williams is a certified fundraising executive who has led teams that have raised and managed more than $580 million. She is the chief development officer at The Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. In her career of more than 20 years, she has held C-Suite leadership positions at America’s Promise Alliance, The American Red Cross, and YWCA USA. She has extensive experience governing organizations and is an award-winning philanthropic thought leader with features in numerous publications, including The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The L.A. Times, The Nonprofit Times, and The Washington Post.
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Andrea Woerman has worked in the field of higher education for 13 years as both an academic adviser and an instructor, specializing in adult learner and military student populations. She has seen many students through to graduation and thoroughly enjoys developing students and seeing them move their lives forward using education as a tool. Andrea considers herself a lifelong learner and is passionate about education, continuous self-improvement, and animal welfare.