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The Interdisciplinary Arts Program at Shippensburg University is the only one of its kind among the fourteen universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. An ideal major for undergraduates who wish to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the arts and their interrelationships, the B.A. degree program in interdisciplinary arts offers course work in both arts performance and criticism across a broad range of media including painting, sculpture, dance, music, theatre, film, photography, and creative writing.
The Interdisciplinary Arts Program cultivates a student who is a critical thinker and a communicator. They are individual thinkers who are conversant in the communicative characteristics of multiple art forms and can navigate the waters of verbal, visual, musical, and performative expression. Many of our graduates are highly adept in collaborative work environments and their arts’ training enables them to be flexible and accomplished problem solvers. Adaptability is another characteristic of our graduates, a trait most attractive in an ever-changing work place.
Although areas of study will vary from student to student, the goal of the Interdisciplinary Arts Program is to provide its majors with a broad-based perspective of the arts along with an individualized combination of skill sets. Our graduates find their way into the applied arts and those associated careers that intersect with them, careers in arts education and administration. Prospective students might consider the IA major as a suitable intersection with a psychology minor for a career oriented toward art or music therapy. Partnerships with a communications and/or a business minor are excellent foundations for an interest in special events planning. Our Interdisciplinary Arts Steering Committee is a mix of our teaching faculty combined with local and national arts professionals. They help guide our program goals and to mentor our majors on new developments in the industry. A broad-based arts’ education combined with a diverse curriculum, hands on mentorship, and a range of capstone experiences results in a dynamic and versatile academic major.
The culmination of the Interdisciplinary Arts major is a Senior Capstone experience (6 credit hours). In the first semester of senior year, the IA major participates in a seminar (IAP 449 Interdisciplinary Arts Senior Thesis ) designed to guide and encourage an individual research project resulting in a thesis paper with an interdisciplinary approach to the arts-a critical study of the influence of painting and music in a work of literature, for example, or an original screenplay, or an illustrated essay on the interaction of the arts in a certain film, opera, dance performance, or work of musical theater. The IAP senior thesis is an exciting opportunity for students to engage in research and creative thinking and to share their ideas with other IA majors.
The second semester of senior year offers Interdisciplinary Arts majors a choice. They may use the senior thesis as a foundation for designing a public performance (IAP 451 Interdisciplinary Arts Showcase ), or undertake an internship in an arts-related organization (IAP 452 Interdisciplinary Arts Internship ). The senior showcase can take many forms. It might be an illustrated lecture, an exhibition of work, a multimedia presentation, a reading of poetry or fiction accompanied by slides, a performance piece, or a short film, video, or work of computer animation. The internship can involve work in galleries or museums, with performance companies, on arts exhibitions, in the mass media, public relations, arts foundations, or other arts-related professions. Students opting for the senior showcase have the opportunity to display their work in a public forum, while those taking an internship can use the experience as a springboard for professional employment in the arts industry.
CoursesInterdisciplinary Arts Program
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