Interdisciplinary Programs of Study

Interdisciplinary programs and curricular areas at John Carroll University are as follows:

Catholic Studies

Program Coordinator: P. Murphy (History)

Under the auspices of the Institute of Catholic Studies, the program minor aims at promoting serious reflection on the richness and vitality of the Catholic intellectual tradition through the ages. This minor is interdisciplinary in nature, highlighting within the history of ideas the contribution of Catholic intellectuals and scholars across various disciplines. The Catholic Studies minor enables students to assess human intellectual activity and experience in the light of the Catholic faith, and to examine the Roman Catholic Church’s dynamic interaction with and interpenetration of cultures, traditions, and intellectual life.

Climate, Environment, and Sustainability

Advisory Board: B. Brossman (Communication), M. L. Kwan (Chemistry), D. Rosenthal (English), W. Wiedenhoft (Sociology & Criminology), J. Watling (Biology)

program is an interdisciplinary minor that examines environmental problems from three distinct perspectives: the scientific, the ethical, and the cultural. This unique blend of perspectives provides a distinctly Jesuit focus on the problems, causes, and potential solutions to contemporary environmental issues.

Digital Marketing & Communication Strategy

Program Director: Fr. M. Emelu (Communication)

The Master of Science in program takes an interdisciplinary approach and combines course work from communication and business to give students an integrated grasp of marketing, communication, public relations and advertising. Students draw from the best practices and theories of each field as they examine concepts such as marketing analytics, social media, digital advertising and content marketing.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Program Coordinator: A. Dachner (Management, Marketing, & Supply Chain)

The minor in program (DEIB) promotes awareness of the variety of ways humans experience social bias and injustice in a diverse world.  It additionally alerts students to the social benefits of pluralism, showing how diversity can enrich workplaces and the wider public.  Finally, it calls on students to confront and address injustice in their workplaces and daily lives. Learners study contemporary research from an interdisciplinary perspective and practice its application. The DEIB minor is open to all majors and consists of a total of 18 credit hours. It is particularly relevant for students considering careers in a multicultural setting, including business, counseling, education, law, government, medicine, and nonprofit work.

Entrepreneurship (ER)

Professors: N. Piracha, Associate Professors:  D. Winkel (Director and Kahl Chair)

Intentionally designed for students from all majors, the program minor has programs for business, STEM, and liberal arts students.  By combining your major with entrepreneurship you will have the opportunity to study what you are passionate about while:

  • learning how to generate ideas and develop your creativity,

  • get hands-on experience working in teams on real-life business and social problems,

  • build professional networks at JCU and in the community, and

  • launch your ideas.

A recent study by the World Economic Forum identified entrepreneurial skills like creativity, complex problem solving, emotional intelligence, and cognitive flexibility as the most critical skills for the future workplace.

People who are curious and creative, can spot opportunities in their environment, create solutions, and communicate them effectively are valuable in any field or organization.

This program provides a home where we guide curious students as they identify and solve big problems that are meaningful to them using their innate creativity and passion.

Both U.S. News and World Report and Bloomberg Business Week have recognized the JCU entrepreneurship program as a top 25 program nationally.  All classes in the minor take place in the Burton D. Morgan Creativity and Entrepreneurship Classroom, a new space designed to enhance curiosity, creativity, and imagination.  Students from the minor have several opportunities to develop their ideas:

  • participate in several local, regional, and national competitions,

  • receive coaching and mentoring through LaunchNET (one of only five such programs in the country),

  • receive mentorship from the  Entrepreneurs Association, a group of private business owners.

  • Faculty from the business, liberal arts, and STEM fields teach in the minor, offering a unique interdisciplinary opportunity.  Required courses depend on the student’s major.

Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (GEND)

Program Director:  D. Taylor (Philosophy); Advisory Board:  M. Barnes (Sociology & Criminology), D. Durmus (Philosophy), M. Farrar (Political Science), J. M. McAndrew (History)

program is an interdisciplinary major that helps prepare students for living in a diverse and global society by examining how the social construction of gender/sexuality can shape personal identities, beliefs, and opportunities. In a range of courses, students will systematically analyze the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and social class.

As an interdisciplinary program, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies focuses on students’ integrating the skills taught across the liberal arts, and expects its majors to engage in both critical and creative thinking. The curriculum examines a range of issues across both national and international contexts. These include gendered violence, sexual harassment, queer theory, inequality, power dynamics, human interaction, and social justice. The analytical skills students acquire in the study of gender and society can be applied beyond the campus to other activities and eventually to their professional careers.

The program offers both a major and minor. The requirements are intentionally flexible enough to allow students to focus on their particular areas of interest and to allow it to fit well with other (second) majors and minors on campus. Every GEND major completes an internship at a site that suits their interests and goals. As a social justice-focused program, many students participate in events and/or volunteer throughout their years at John Carroll. To declare a major, students must complete GEND 1100 and meet with the program director to submit a formal application.

International Business with Language and Culture (IB)

Professors:  W. O. Simmons (Director, Associate Dean), J. Karolle-Berg, M. P. Berg; Associate Professors: S. K. Kahai, L. G. Ferri, M. L. Thornton, Y. Wu, S. Lim, M. Sheldon; Assistant Professor: K. S. Chaplin; Visiting Assistant Professor:  F. Donou-Adonsou

International business focuses on the challenge of solving business problems within international contexts.  The program (IBLC) major prepares students to meet this challenge.  Through a combination of demanding courses and international and domestic experiential activities, the major attracts students seeking to develop the ability to lead and to serve in the global business environment.

Becoming men and women for others through global engagement is fundamental to the mission of John Carroll.  Including language and culture studies with the study of international business is an excellent way to develop that sense of engagement.

In business, language fluency and cultural expertise are no longer simply attractive competencies.  They are critical for leadership in organizations.  In an increasingly competitive world economy, proficiency in a second language and culture is crucial to excel in the commerce, politics, and society of today’s global marketplace.

Through a combination of curricular and experiential activities, the IBLC major prepares students for a wide variety of exciting career opportunities.  To pursue careers in international business, students may focus their course work and internship experiences on one of at least three general areas:  international marketing (analysis, development, and promotion), international logistics and supply chain management, and international financial management.

Combining language and culture with business in both course work and experiential activities produces students who are well prepared for the unique challenges and problems encountered in international business.  In addition to the language, culture, and international business knowledge gained, employers recognize and value the added skill sets acquired and demonstrated through this major, such as adaptability, flexibility, tenacity, and problem-solving.  Graduates of this major successfully pursue careers across a wide variety of industries and locations.

Law & Society

Program Director: K. Knoll- Frey (Sociology) Advisory Committee: M. Berg (History), B. Brossman (Communication), M. Farrar (Political Science), E. Hahnenberg (Theology & Religious Studies), E. Spurgin (Philosophy), E. Stiles (Political Science)

The program (LASO) minor encourages students to see the law from numerous vantage points and at the intersection of multiple social structures. By studying law as an interdisciplinary field, students will  appreciate how legal systems are linked to patterns of class, geography, and privilege. When paired with a related major, LASO provides preparation for careers in legal practice, corrections, enforcement, and public policy, whether in a domestic or international context.

Leadership (LP)

Faculty : K. O'Dell, Ph.D. (Director), L. Brown-Cornelius, Ph.D., K. Jansen, M. Lowes-Bolin, Ed. D., K. Wallace, Ed.D.

The problems present in today’s world demand the attention of society’s brightest leaders who don’t hesitate to demonstrate courage, compassion, and creativity to address the many needs surrounding us. To prepare future innovators, we must cultivate emerging leaders by equipping them with the skills and mindsets they need to affect meaningful change in conscientious and impactful ways.

Peace, Justice, and Human Rights (PJHR)

Program Director: P. J. Metres, III (English); Advisory Committee: M. P. Berg (History), R. D. Clark (Sociology & Criminology), M. Finucane (Communication), K. Frey (Sociology & Criminology), E. Johnson (Biology), P. J. Lauritzen (Honors), J. M. McAndrew (History), M. J. Peden (Political Science), D. Rosenthal (English), W. O. Simmons (Economics), D. Taylor (Philosophy), K. Tobey (Theology & Religious Studies), J. Ziemke (Political Science)

The fundamental goal of the program program is to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and creativity to seek justice and promote peace. It combines research and study with experiential and service learning to help students gain both a theoretical and empirical understanding of the challenges and possibilities of peacebuilding, conflict transformation, and social justice. PJHR is an interdisciplinary program and benefits from the diverse interests and rich experience of faculty members from several disciplines and departments. Consistent with Catholic social teaching that sees peace as inseparable from justice and the extension of human rights as a fundamental ethical obligation, PJHR also emphasizes the importance of political pluralism, cultural and religious diversity, ecological balance, and nonviolent conflict resolution and transformation. 

THE PJHR program is also the academic home for the Arrupe Social Justice Scholars Program. Arrupe Social Justice Scholars have a special pathway of courses taken as a cohort: PJHR 1500, EN 1250, CO 1251, PJHR 1750, PJHR 2500, PJHR 3500, PJHR 4500 and 4501. 

The program prepares students to pursue careers in a wide number of fields, including law, mediation, advocacy, government service, non-profit work, ministry, and social work.

Population & Public Health (PPH)

Co-coordinators: J. L. Lissemore (Biology), M. W. Barnes (Sociology & Criminology);
Advisory Committee: J. A. Greenwolf (Student Affairs), E. E. Johnson (Biology), K. C. Lee (Pre-Health Professions), J. A. Zera (Exercise Science)

The program minor is an interdisciplinary program for students in any major interested in protecting and improving the health of communities.  The minor addresses biological, social and cultural, environmental, ethical, and public policy influences on a population’s health and requires critical, cross-disciplinary thinking applied to solving health problems.

Pre-Health Professions (PHP) and Healthcare Career Foundations

Director of Pre-Health Professions: Kathleen C. Lee, Ph.D.; Biology Support Specialist/Pre-Health Advisor: Fr. Don Serva; Physician in Residence: George S. Lewandowski, M.D.

The Pre-Health Professions Program is John Carroll’s program for students of any major interested in a healthcare career. The program helps students make career choices best suited to their talents, abilities, and priorities. This is accomplished by providing each student with current and accurate information, guidance, and support about the education, training, and careers of healthcare providers. Since students have many options available to them, the guidance helps them to determine which path is right for them and their career interests. In addition, PHP support helps students make informed choices and to work through any dilemmas encountered along the way. The Pre-Health Professions Program, via the Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC), provides students with interview experience, constructive feedback, and a committee letter of recommendation that supports applications to healthcare professional programs as determined by the student.

The program (HCF) minor is an interdisciplinary minor to prepare students for healthcare careers.  In recognition of the changing landscape of healthcare, the need for ethical leadership, and the increasing urgency for well-rounded, culturally sensitive healthcare professionals, the Healthcare Career Foundations minor will contribute to the student experience by providing the foundational knowledge and skills needed for the future of inspired healthcare delivery. This minor reflects the four pillars of a JCU education: intellect, character, leadership, and service.

The science behind medicine will always be important. However, students must understand that the art of medicine is just as critical to providing quality healthcare to patients. Building trust in a clinical setting can only be effective when healthcare providers understand the context of their patients’ lived experiences. This minor will equip future healthcare providers with the information needed to efficiently lead healthcare teams, communicate with patients and patients’ families, and advocate appropriately for their patients’ needs, resulting in better healthcare outcomes. Students who engage in this minor will be required to complete courses in the sciences, ethical leadership, and understanding others, giving them the well-rounded foundation needed to make them compassionate healthcare providers.  This will also ultimately make them more competitive applicants for programs at medical, dental, pharmacy, physician assistant, and physical therapy schools and a host of other healthcare-related programs.