For the university
The concept of university-wide studies (UWS) provides a multidisciplinary perspective on a form of studying where engineering and art can meet business and management. The concept began as a response to the need for new ways to combine disciplines and make them a creative part of the university’s curriculum. UWS course implementations provide a space where different conceptual worlds and problem-solving methods can converge.
For the student
As studying is primarily a student concern, students often view multidisciplinarity from the perspective of study tracks. The different levels of options available to the student depend on the student’s goals. Aalto’s multidisciplinary courses afford students the chance to meet students and teachers from different fields and gain experience in different problem-solving methods. ‘Multidisciplinarity’ is also used to refer to cases where a student wishes to get acquainted with a certain area by taking a course designed for that field, rather than taking one designed specifically as a multidisciplinary course.
Personalised study tracks
A multidisciplinary study track may begin with the student’s own willingness to leave their own comfort zone and acquire new skills and working procedures from a different field. The capacity to work with others, be understanding of differences and put one’s own talents on the line can be expanded through classes where different disciplines come together and teachers come from a variety of fields. The main point is to foster a greater understanding and for everyone to find their own proficiencies through working together. Many university-wide arts studies (UWAS) operate with this kind of thinking in mind.
The student may wish to explore a different field and learn its ‘tricks of the trade’ by taking an individual course. To this end, the schools of technology have come up with university-wide technology (UWTS) offerings, where business and art students can choose courses that require no prerequisites. Similarly, BIZ and SCI have created university-wide business and management (UWBS) courses, which can be taken by engineering and arts students as well. These courses give students the chance to acquire engineering and business skills for their own problem-solving needs.
In addition to one-off classes, students may choose to immerse themselves more deeply in a chosen field by completing a minor. Through a minor, the student may begin to develop a vision of something truly new. The ability to perceive new possibilities and the daringness to ‘do things different’ starts with having a command of methods and working procedures from other disciplines. This is the golden rule behind having UWTS and UWBS courses included in the curriculum. University-wide courses may also serve as prerequisites for other courses, and thus enable the student to take further courses from a different field.
With enthusiasm, students may take their multidisciplinary learning to new heights, leading to genuine, independently created innovation. Students who become deeply immersed in their minor may put their new learning to use in their own research or thesis work. This is the mark of a true game-changer – taking part in activities that can change the world.