Interdisciplinary Programs


Leadership ClassMajors:

Humanities, B.A.


Russian and East European Studies (typical courses for this major/minor)

Women's and Gender Studies

Certificate Program:

Leadership Foundations

(Click major/minor/certificate title to see typical courses for the program)

The University of Northern Iowa offers several majors that are considered “interdisciplinary,” meaning the programs are not offered under a specific department, but rather by several committees, departments or colleges at the university.

Interdisciplinary majors are designed to meet the growing needs and interests of students who wish to obtain broad knowledge in several fields.

American Studies, B.A.

This program is offered jointly by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. Heads of the departments of History and English Language and Literature, and the Committee on American Studies administer the program.

The American studies major requires 39 hours of major course work, 47 hours of Liberal Arts Core and 34 hours of electives for a total of 120 hours.

It requires a minimum of nine semester hours in each of the following four areas:

  • American history

  • American literature

  • Economics, geography, political science, sociology and anthropology

  • Religion, philosophy, theatre, art and music

  • A three-hour American studies senior colloquium is also required.

This major does not carry certification to teach. To teach, students should declare a teaching major and American Studies as a second major.

For more information
John W. Johnson
American Studies Committee
Department of History
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0701
(319) 273-2097

Asian Studies, B.A.

Asia’s importance to Americans far outweighs our understanding and ability to deal with the continent effectively.

Trade and investment opportunities are seeing dynamic growth between the United States and Japan, China, India and the rapidly expanding economies along the Pacific Rim.

In recent years American interest in Asia has increased, largely due to its rapidly changing political and cultural climate. India is the world’s largest democracy. China is in the throes of enormous political and economic changes. Between them, they hold more than a third of the world’s people. As they develop, all of Asia, all of the world, will change.

Mastering Asian languages and understanding Asian societies is increasingly necessary for interaction and cooperation between Americans and Asians. The ancient and continuous cultures of Asia provide a fascinating mirror in which Americans often see themselves more clearly.

Complementary programs

An Asian studies major or minor complements many other majors at Northern Iowa, including:

  • Economics

  • History

  • Anthropology

  • Art History

  • Political Science

  • Teaching

  • Philosophy

  • Religion

For more information

If you are on campus, any member of the faculty listed will be happy to talk with you about Asian Studies. You can also write to the Asian Studies Program at UNI, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0406 or call (319) 273-2268.

European Studies, B.A.

The B.A. in European studies is an attractive curricular option for highly motivated students who have an interest in European history and are prepared to achieve fluency in one or more European languages. European studies can be selected only as a second major with a major in history, a European language (French, German, Portuguese or Spanish), or Russian/East European studies. With appropriate permissions, students emphasizing the British Isles may use Gaelic, Old or Middle English for the language requirement. This major is administered jointly by the departments of History and Modern Languages.

The European studies major requires 47 hours of major course work, 47 hours of Liberal Arts Core (includes four hours double-counted in the major) and 26 hours of electives for a total of 120 hours.

For more information

Department of History
Seerley Hall 319
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614–0701
(319) 273–2097

Department of Modern Languages
Baker Hall 234
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614–0504
(319) 273–2749

Humanities, B.A.

UNI’s humanities major encourages students to create a course of study to bridge the gaps between the traditional departments with their more narrowly defined programs of study. Students are encouraged to pursue a coherent cross-disciplinary program involving history, literature, arts and ideas.

Students, working with their advisor, create their own programs of study. The major is designed to allow broad flexibility in fashioning a program of humanistic studies, but courses selected must have a distinctly cultural and art-related emphasis. Generally, the students choose the analytical rather than the production or performance aspects of the various arts studied. Thus, the program includes some chronological study, some critical discipline, as well as some experience in the doing of one of the arts.

For more information

Jerome P. Soneson
Baker Hall 174
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614–0502
(319) 273-7206

Russian and East European Studies, B.A.

Russian and East European studies is a multidisciplinary program offering students an introduction to many of the core fields of a liberal arts education through the lens of a particular country, namely, Russia.

Majors complete three years of Russian language, and are required to take one course on Russian literature, one on Russian culture (taught in Russian), Russian politics, Russian history courses, and courses from a list of other courses on Russia and Eastern Europe. Students thus acquire both breadth and depth in their knowledge of Russia and of various fields of study (history, political science, language and literature).

The program is offered jointly by the colleges of Humanities and Fine Arts and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Common minors pursued
Any minor can be successfully combined with Russian and East European studies, depending on the interests of individual students. Examples include:

Anthropology German
Art History
Biology International Affairs
Business—Accounting Mathematics
Business Communication Media
Chemistry Music
Communication/ Journalism Philosophy
Computer Science Physics
Criminology Political Science
Dance Portuguese
Economics Religion
English Spanish
French Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Geography Theatre
For more information

Maria Basom
Department of Modern Languages
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0504
(319) 273-2749

European Studies

Because of the rigor involved in the European studies major, it is a curriculum choice of only a handful of students. Yet, students completing the European studies major almost without exception have top grade point averages (3.75 or higher) and aspire to exciting, intellectually demanding careers.

For example, European studies is an excellent major for those preparing for college teaching careers in history or a European language. These students normally proceed directly to graduate programs in history or languages following their UNI degrees. Other European studies majors pursue graduate work in business to prepare for international business careers.

Asian Studies

Undergraduate preparation in Asian studies broadens prospects for a variety of exciting careers directly related to events in Asia. In addition, Asian studies sharpens analytical and empathetic abilities that indirectly enrich career opportunities and civic participation. Successful undergraduate work in Asian studies provides a breadth of knowledge and interest required of Americans as contributing participants in the world community.

  • State and federal government service

  • Private business

  • Communications and journalism

  • International service agencies

  • Graduate study leading to teaching, research and the liberal arts professions

Humanities, B.A.

Many humanities majors decide to continue their education in graduate studies, and a variety of programs in various departments have been open to them. Others enter the business world. In a recent survey, graduates praised the program for the preparation it provided for their work and for the enrichment it provided their later life experiences.

Inter-American Studies, B.A.
  • Helping small businesses with management techniques and the solution of environmental problems

  • Providing educational and cultural services to a variety of elementary and secondary school programs

  • Serving as translators in many types of national and international governmental and non-governmental organizations

  • Working with community-based organizations (cultural centers, libraries, museums, television stations or theater organizations) to develop multicultural programs of broad appeal

  • In addition, students completing the inter-American studies major will be well-prepared to pursue graduate work leading to careers in the Americas in business, educational and environmental programs, various socio-cultural enterprises, or college-level teaching.

Russian and East European Studies, B.A.
  • Business: Career opportunities include positions in international trade, international banking, travel agencies, translation agencies, telephone companies, computer firms, journalism, radio-television news reporting, bookstores and publishing houses, international law and research institutions.

  • Education: Job possibilities include library science; elementary, secondary and college-level teaching; and teaching in schools in Russia.

  • Government: The U.S. government employs translators, editors, writers, analysts, researchers, librarians, foreign service and escort officers, as well as law enforcement personnel.

Unique Features: 
Asian Studies, B.A.
  • Outstanding teaching faculty from the colleges of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Humanities and Fine Arts

  • Students can tailor electives for either South Asian or East Asian (China or Japan) focus

  • Study abroad for a semester or school year in China or Japan

  • No previous language training necessary

  • Pay same tuition and room and board as UNI Transfer credits in major and Liberal Arts Core programs

  • Study abroad at English-speaking university in India

  • Practice language skills and exchange information on culture and society with UNI international students from Asian countries

  • Updated film, video and CD-rom library of Asian Studies topics

  • Nationally known guest speakers on Asian Studies topics visit UNI each semester.

European Studies, B.A.
  • A wide variety of courses taught by top faculty in history and modern languages

  • A program with a broad interdisciplinary focus

  • Opportunities for study abroad

Humanities, B.A.
  • Courses taught by quality faculty in many departments

  • A focus on culture and the arts in a broad interdisciplinary, interdepartmental major

  • Several UNI scholarships with priority for Humanities majors

  • Varied opportunities for study abroad

  • Opportunities for course work at Iowa’s other Regents’ institutions

  • Constant new course options

  • Flexibility in creating a personalized program of study

  • Variety in seminar instruction

Inter-American Studies, B.A.
  • Strong interdisciplinary focus encompassing a wide range of both traditional and non-traditional areas of study

  • In-depth exploration of a chosen field of emphasis

  • Numerous on-campus cultural events, and film symposia, guest speakers, language clubs, and participation in festivals

  • Opportunities to interact with students and faculty from a diversity of educational and cultural backgrounds

  • Opportunities for study abroad

Russian and East European Studies, B.A.
  • Study Abroad: All of our majors and minors are strongly encouraged to spend a summer or semester studying in Moscow or Petersburg. Our students participate on the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR) exchange. Students normally attend a summer program after two or three years of language study, or a semester program after three years of language study (although you may apply for a semester program after your second year). Courses are taught only in Russian and include courses on conversation, composition, phonetics, culture, literature, as well as excursions to prominent historical sites. Financial aid is available.

  • UNI Institute of Humanities and Fine Arts in St. Petersburg: Students may study abroad in the summer on this interdisciplinary program. A course on Russian culture is team-taught by faculty from a variety of disciplines. Students also take a course in a major field of study, e.g., art, music, etc. Financial aid is available.

  • Russian Club: Students organize films, “Russian Table” (weekly or bi-weekly meetings to discuss topics in Russian) and various social events.

  • Russian Exchange: Every year approximately 80 students from Russia attend UNI. Our students benefit by their contacts with these exchange students. In addition, a professor from a Russian university joins our faculty every year to teach upper-level courses in Russian. We also regularly have visiting Russian faculty in various other disciplines, including art, music, linguistics and the sciences.

  • Students with a GPA of 3.5 in their Russian courses and 3.0 overall are eligible for membership in the Dobro Slovo National Slavic Honor Society.

Scholarships & Awards: 

More information on department scholarships can found at Financial Aid.