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Opportunities for
Interdisciplinary Graduate Degrees

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The Graduate School of Texas Tech encourages interdisciplinary study and research, believing that our nation’s complex society and the world’s rich cultural heritage can be understood best from the perspective of many academic disciplines. Few settings offer a better opportunity for such study than the university with its graduate programs, libraries, laboratories, and diversely trained faculty. Although academic specialization is the common pattern in such an environment, the Graduate School is committed to building bridges and facilitating movement across the disciplines for those who are interested. As a result, opportunities for interdisciplinary work have increased through the years as a testimony to the university’s commitment academic diversity.

Several formal interdisciplinary options appear below. However, students should be aware of innumerable informal options that exist because the programs have been designed by individual students in conjunction with their advisors for the Interdisciplinary Studies degree programs. Such flexibility in custom-designing programs affords maximum adaptability for the rapidly changing global marketplace.

In addition to the graduate programs listed in this section, the following interdisciplinary programs are discussed in other sections related to the college or department responsible for administering each program: Applied Linguistics; Comparative Literature; Ethnic Studies; Forensic Science; Land-Use Planning, Management, and Design; Latin American and Iberian Studies; Multidisciplinary Science; and Public Administration.


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Arid Land Studies

The Master of Science in Arid Land Studies (MSALS) is a unique interdisciplinary graduate program designed to prepare students for careers in the study and management of natural resources, environmental issues, and economic and social factors associated with sustainable development of arid and semiarid lands.

Program Overview. The interdisciplinary nature of this two-year program is ideal for students who wish to expand their knowledge in different areas of study rather than specialize. Students in the MSALS program choose three subject areas related to the sustainable use and management of drylands, including both science and humanities. Then they design a unique program to suit their individual career goals.

Courses normally focus on one of three subject areas: (1) agricultural sciences and natural resources, (2) geosciences, and (3) water resources and environmental toxicology. However, any graduate courses taught at Texas Tech can be taken as electives upon recommendation of the program faculty advisor. No more than 12 credit hours may be taken within any single college except the College of Arts and Sciences. Qualified MSASL students may choose the thesis option (24 hours of graduate coursework plus 6 hours of thesis and 6 hours of research credit). A co-advisor will be chosen to guide the research element of the program. The 36-hour non-thesis plan is also available.

Admissions Criteria. Applicants to the program must satisfy the requirements set by the university and the Graduate School. Applications and supporting documentation may be emailed to or mailed to Dr. Ralph Ferguson, PO Box 41030, Lubbock, TX 79409-1030. Please also send copies to Dr. Gad Perry at Competitive scholarships may be available.

Degrees with International Partners. Students admitted to the MSALS program have the option of applying to the interdisciplinary master’s degree program offered by Texas Tech and its international partners. This program builds on the unique research expertise of each institution. Students accepted into this program are also accepted at one of the partner universities. They will spend one year at each university and then two months interning at the third institution. Instruction is in English, but enhancing cross-cultural competence is a goal of the program.

For additional information, see or contact the International Center for Arid and Semiarid Land Studies (ICASALS), 806.742.3667. For academic questions, email Dr. Gad Perry ( Program inquiries and applications should also be sent to Dr. Gad Perry.



Co-Directors: Dr. David B. Knaff, Horn Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Dr. Jon Weidanz Associate Professor of Pharamacology

Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center jointly offer an interdisciplinary Master of Science in Biotechnology degree designed to prepare students for a laboratory research career in biotechnology. In addition, the School of Law and the Graduate School offer a dual-degree program leading to the degrees of Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and Master of Science in Biotechnology.

Master of Science in Biotechnology. Students may pursue either of two tracks within the program: the biomedical track or the applied sciences track. The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) at the Health Sciences Center (HSC) administers the biomedical track, and the Texas Tech Center for Biotechnology and Genomics administers the applied sciences track.

The applied sciences track is a two-year program, with the first two semesters consisting of required and elective coursework. The second year (nine to 12 months) is devoted in its entirety to full-time laboratory research or to advanced coursework in an academic area of concentration related to a field in biotechnology with a one-semester capstone course. Students may satisfy the research requirement in either of two ways: (1) complete an M.S. thesis, based on research carried out in the laboratory of a participating faculty member, or (2) complete a non-thesis internship in a research laboratory on campus, an industrial research laboratory, a government laboratory, or a not-for-profit foundation laboratory. Students who select a non-thesis option must pass a comprehensive final exam during their fourth semester. Options should be carefully discussed with the director and/or graduate advisor of the center.

The biomedical track is a 21-month program consisting of two semesters (nine months) of coursework and 12 months of full-time laboratory research. It is anticipated that students in this track will complete all of their coursework during their first year, with the second year devoted completely to the research component of the degree plan. The research component may be completed either at the HSC campus or through an internship at a biotechnology laboratory. Internship locations are similar to those described for the applied sciences track. Students who choose to do their research at the HSC campus will work with a member of the biotechnology graduate faculty and will have the option of writing an M.S. thesis. All biotechnology graduate faculty members have active research programs that emphasize use of molecular biology methods.

First-year students in both tracks take a common core curriculum consisting of an introductory lecture course, an introductory lab course (BTEC 5338), a course on the ethics of research (GSBS 5101), and a bioinformatics course (BTEC 5001-01 or GBTC 6202). Students in the applied sciences track are also required to take a course in scientific communication (BTEC 5100). The biomedical track requires a series of lab rotations during the second semester of the first year. The remaining coursework requirements for the biomedical track consist of specific HSC courses, while the remaining coursework requirements for the applied sciences track are satisfied by selections from a broad list of approved electives.

Students interested in the program should have an undergraduate degree that provides a sound background in biological sciences, preferably from a molecular perspective. A minimum of one semester of organic chemistry is required. A second semester of organic chemistry and at least one semester of biochemistry or cell biology and one semester of molecular biology/molecular genetics are highly recommended. Admission will be based on the student’s undergraduate record and GRE scores and on other considerations such as previous research experience and letters of recommendation. Applications from students interested in the applied sciences track should be submitted through the Texas Tech Office of Graduate Admissions, and applications from students interested in the biomedical track should be submitted through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the Health Sciences Center.

Scholarships. A limited number of $1,000 scholarships will be available at the start of the fall semester for outstanding first-year students. Students awarded these competitive scholarships will be eligible to pay tuition at the in-state rate. Applications are available to both Texas residents and non-residents and are evaluated holistically by the Center for Biotechnology and Genomics Scholarship Committee.

J.D.–M.S. in Biotechnology. The dual-degree candidate must choose to pursue both degrees by the end of the third or fourth semester in law school and must meet admission requirements for the M.S. degree. Students in the dual-degree program cannot take any courses outside the School of Law during their first year. Typically, if all prerequisites are met, both degree programs can be finished in a maximum of four and one-half years, including summer sessions. Separate applications for the J.D. and M.S. portions of the dual degree are required. LSAT scores that are satisfactory for admission to the School of Law will eliminate the requirement that the student take the GRE.

The dual-degree program is designed principally for the student with an interest in intellectual property law in the area of biotechnology. A candidate for the J.D./M.S. in biotechnology may credit up to 12 non-law hours of approved courses toward the J.D. degree, and 12 law hours may be credited toward the M.S. degree.approved courses toward the J.D. degree and 12 law hours may be credited toward the M.S. degree.

Interdisciplinary Studies

Coordinators: Dr. Ralph Ferguson, Associate Academic Dean of the Graduate School;
Dr. Clifford Fedler, Professor of Civil Engineering, Associate Dean of the Graduate School

The Master of Arts or Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies is a degree program intended for students who wish to continue education at the graduate level but do not seek specialized training concentrated in a major area. This program is not a substitute for the traditional master’s degree; rather, it is designed for students with broader interests in several fields or for those whose career goals do not match fully with a single identifiable academic unit or department. Emphasis is placed on continued intellectual and cultural development in a constantly changing society in which new career interests may extend over several traditional specializations.

Each program, exclusive of those tracks with required courses, is developed individually according to the student’s interests and background. Among the few restrictions are the requirements that work be taken in at least three different subject areas and that no more than 12 hours be presented in any one area. Also, no more than 18 hours may be taken within a single college, except Arts and Sciences. No more than 12 hours can be taken in the Rawls College of Business. Most students pursue the 36-hour nonthesis plan, but the thesis option (24 hours of graduate coursework plus 6 hours of thesis [6000]) may be appropriate in occasional circumstances when the student’s previous work seems to qualify him or her for research. For the 36-hour nonthesis option, students may choose the master’s examination, an internship, a project report, or the portfolio as their terminal project.

The standard admission policy for applicants to other degree programs will apply to those seeking admission to the interdisciplinary master’s program. Applicants may submit satisfactory GRE or GMAT scores and undergraduate records. Students must have a 3.0 GPA on previous graduate work. For further information, contact the coordinator of the program in the Graduate School office.

Students normally select areas of study that meet their own educational and career requirements, as described above. However, a number of study themes are identified in the following paragraphs that provide somewhat more specialized focus, while maintaining the interdisciplinary nature of the program as originally approved.

Applied Linguistics. Courses relating to theoretical, descriptive, historical, and applied study of language structure and use may be selected in a plan leading to the degree in interdisciplinary studies. Studies in anthropology, bilingual education, psychology, and speech communication as well as in various languages (American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish) will provide a comprehensive understanding of the discipline. Interested students may contact Dr. Bill VanPatten, Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures. See discussion of graduate linguistics in the interdisciplinary programs listed in the opening section of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Environmental Evaluation. Students may gain a holistic view of environmental evaluation by taking courses that focus upon problems and techniques relating to natural resources and their utilization. Work in geography, geology, land and water management, atmospheric sciences, and other disciplines is tailored to each student’s interests. Persons interested in this plan should contact Dr. Jeff Lee in the Department of Geosciences.

International Affairs. This interdisciplinary concentration focuses on problems that are international in scope. Students may focus on problems that are global in nature, such as international business/economics or international security/conflict, or they may focus on problems that are regional in scope. The regions available for emphasis in this program are as follows: Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Post-Soviet Europe. Students will have the Department of Political Science as their home department but will also take courses in and work with faculty from the Department of History, the Department of Economics, or any other department that matches their interests. Interested students should contact Dr. Frank Thames, Department of Political Science, 806.742.4049.

Peirce Studies. Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914), a true American genius, made major contributions to logic, mathematics, language studies, history of science, specific areas of science such as chemistry and physics, and philosophy, among others. His ideas are being explored in fields as diverse as semeiotic and artificial intelligence. Students enrolled in Peirce Studies will normally take 6 to 9 hours of PRAG 5000 and at least 30 additional hours in several defined areas, depending upon each student’s future educational or occupational goals. For details, contact Dr. Kenneth Laine Ketner, director of the Institute for Studies in Pragmaticism, 806.742.3128.

Women’s Studies. The interdisciplinary concentration of graduate work focuses on the changing position of women in society. Selected courses are offered in history, sociology, anthropology, and psychology with related work available in business administration, the humanities, and other areas of the social sciences. An emphasis on women’s studies may be pertinent to careers in education, management, and personnel relations as well as in the administration and delivery of social services to families, women, and children. Interested students should contact the director of the Women’s Studies Program, 806.742.4335,

Other Options. Studies of an interdisciplinary nature offer almost limitless combinations. Students may select from graduate offerings in almost the entire catalog and from the graduate offerings of the School of Law and the Health Sciences Center. Those interested in a customized program should contact Associate Deans Clifford Fedler or Ralph Ferguson in the Graduate School or visit the website

Museum Science

Chairperson: Dr. Eileen Johnson, Horn Professor of Museum Science; Executive Director, Museum of Texas Tech University

The Master of Arts in Museum Science offers a specialization in either museum science or heritage management. The specialization in museum science emphasizes thorough preparation in the broad spectrum of museum theory and practice. Graduates from the museum science specialization of the program have a comprehensive background in museum studies and are prepared as generalists in a number of subdisciplines, including collections management and care; exhibitions and interpretation; museology; museum management; and curatorship in anthropology, art, ethnology, history, paleontology, or the natural sciences.

The heritage management specialization emphasizes extensive investigation in the field of heritage management. Graduates from the heritage management specialization of the program are prepared to enhance local, regional, and national sociological and scientific values; encourage preservation and stewardship of cultural and natural heritage; advocate public service; and direct educational programing designed to derive maximum advantage from innovative technology without the loss of cultural identity and biodiversity. The heritage management specialization is configured to allow students to emphasize areas of special interest such as heritage administration, conservation, interpretation, heritage education, and use (heritage tourism and ecotourism). The specialization offers both theoretical and practical coursework designed to prepare graduates to be leaders in the heritage management field.

The chairperson of the program administers the museum science program. Interested persons should contact the Museum of Texas Tech University for comprehensive information about the program and application materials. Applicants will be considered for admission to the museum science program after the following materials are received: (1) two letters of reference from persons knowledgeable of the student’s academic and professional abilities and (2) a completed career summary statement. Prior to admission consideration, students must complete the online application through the Graduate School and satisfy the requirements of the university, including an official transcript of complete undergraduate coursework and GRE scores. Once that process is concluded, program admission and competitive scholarship awards are based on three general categories of criteria:

  • Academic Record. All academic records may be considered – 60 hours, total, major, post-baccalaureate.
  • Test Scores. Scores on the GRE should be no more than five years old. The GRE is required, but no test score will be considered the sole criterion.
  • Individual Profile. Profiles may include recommendation letters, research background, motivation, multilingual proficiency, undergraduate institution, presentations, and the completed career summary statement. Other information that admission and scholarship committees may consider is work commitment, demonstrated commitment to a particular field of work or study, and community involvement.

A student majoring in the program and in the museum science specialization must take at least 27 hours from the museum science core curriculum, a minimum of 12 hours of elective graduate-level courses, and 6 hours of thesis or internship. Required core courses for the program are MUSM 5321, 5326, 5327, 5330, 5331, 5332, 5333, 5334, and 5340.

A student majoring in the heritage management specialization must take at least 27 hours from the heritage management core curriculum, a minimum of 12 hours of graduate-level elective courses, and 6 hours of thesis or internship. Required core courses for the heritage management specialization are MUSM 5327, 5330, and HMGT 5323, 5327. Course numbers for the additional five required core courses are pending.

For electives, the museum science program uses a variety of existing courses offered by various departments within the university to address individual educational and career goals. All students in both specializations must develop competency in the core courses taught by members of the museum graduate faculty and staff. Competency is construed to mean an understanding of professional museum and heritage practices.

A total of 45 credit hours of graduate-level work is required for graduation. In addition, students must pass a faculty panel exam prior to beginning either the internship or thesis and must pass comprehensive written and oral exams at the conclusion of their studies. Students pursuing the thesis option must write and defend the thesis. Internships are to be at a location approved by the student’s advisory committee.

Following the first 9 credit hours of graduate study, each student’s curriculum is formalized through consultation with a graduate faculty advisory committee that reflects the student’s area of emphasis and consists of at least three members. This degree plan is approved by the faculty advisor and the chairperson and sent to the Graduate School. When approved, it serves as a tool for advising and review to assure completion of degree requirements.

A minor at the master’s level in museum science consists of 9 approved credit hours in the core curriculum; a minor at the doctoral level consists of 15 hours of museum science courses, at least 9 of which must be from the core curriculum. A minor at the master’s level in the heritage management specialization consists of 9 approved credit hours in the core curriculum; a minor at the doctoral level consists of 15 hours of heritage management courses, at least 9 of which must be from the core curriculum. For more infromation see


Wind Science and Engineering

Director: Dr. John Schroeder, Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the National Wind Institute

Texas Tech University offers a unique multidisciplinary Ph.D. in Wind Science and Engineering. The educational objective of the program is to provide students with the broad education necessary to pursue research and solve problems related to the detrimental effects of windstorms (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms) and to learn to take advantage of the beneficial effects of wind (e.g., wind energy). Each student’s core coursework and dissertation research are multidisciplinary. The doctorate requires at least 60 semester hours of graduate studies in addition to a dissertation (requirement of the Graduate School). These 60 hours include six core courses, field of emphasis courses, and an external internship.

        • ATMO 5301 Individual Studies in Atmospheric Science–Wind Science (3:3:0)
        • CE 5348 Wind Engineering (3:3:0)
        • BA 5310 Domestic and Global Business Conditions (3:3:0)
        • CE 5331 Advanced Work in Specific Fields—Leadership in Engineering (3)
        • STAT 5384 Statistics for Engineers and Scientists I (3:3:0)
        • STAT 5385 Statistics for Engineers and Scientists II (3:3:0)

A master’s degree is strongly recommended. Graduate courses completed during a master’s degree can be transferred if they are in an emphasis field of study (i.e., atmospheric science, engineering, economics, business administration, or a combination to have an emphasis area in wind energy, wind engineering experiments, economics/risk management, damage imaging, emergency management). The courses to be transferred have to be approved by the program advisor. Additional courses are required by the Graduate School to fulfill requirements of 60 credit hours and are chosen by the students with the advice and consent of the graduate advisor, depending on the student’s area of research emphasis. Some of the courses available to fulfill the requirements are as follows:

        • ATMO 5353 Meteorologic Field Experiments (3:3:0)
        • ATMO 5317 Wind Storm Hazards (3:3:0)
        • CE 5341 Wind Engineering Laboratory (3:2:3)
        • IE 5320 Systems Theory (3:3:0)
        • ECO 5320 Managerial Economics (3:3:0)
        • FIN 5320 Financial Management Concepts (3:3:0)
        • GEOL 5428 GIS in Natural Science and Engineering (4:3:3)
        • MATH 5334 Numerical Analysis I (3:3:0)
        • MATH 5335 Numerical Analysis II (3:3:0)
        • PUAD 5352 Public Policy Analysis (3:3:0
        • STAT 5378 Stochastic Processes (3:3:0)
        • WE 5300 Advanced Technical Wind Energy I (3:3:0)
        • WE 5301 Advanced Technical Wind Energy II (3:3:0)
        • Any other course that can help for research as approved by student’s advisor

Coursework for students is tailored with the advice and consent of their graduate advisor to provide background for multidisciplinary dissertation research. Course descriptions are given under each departmental listing of courses.

Students are also required to complete 6-credit hours of summer off-campus external internship at an academic institution, in a governmental or private laboratory, or with a private company. Opportunities are also available to complete this internship requirement abroad.

Students pursue multidisciplinary research under the guidance of the chair or co-chairs of their advisory committee. Graduate faculty members from at least two disciplines will be represented on each student’s advisory committee. Research must be multidisciplinary and can include a combination of engineering, atmospheric sciences, economics, physical sciences, and mathematics. Field/lab experiments, analytical research, or numerical simulations are examples of acceptable dissertation research.

Students must complete a qualifying examination to be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. The qualifying examination questions are based on a dissertation proposal, which is provided to the advisory committee by the student prior to the qualifying examination. Additionally, students must submit at least one paper based on their dissertation research to a peer-reviewed journal prior to graduation.

Financial support in the form of scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships is available to qualified students. See the WISE Research Center website ( for more details of the degree program and ongoing research topics.
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