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Definitions of interdisciplinary research: Toward graduate-level interdisciplinary learning outcomes


Combining the interdisciplinary studies (primarily humanities) literature with the content analysis of 129 successful National Science Foundation proposals written predominantly by science and engineering faculty members, the authors identify five categories of learning outcomes for interdisciplinary graduate education: disciplinary grounding, integration, teamwork, communication, and critical awareness. They identify important parallels between humanities-based descriptions of interdisciplinary integration and implicit graduate learning outcomes hinted at by engineering and science faculty who more frequently work in teams. Applying the lens of interdisciplinary studies (humanities) to science and engineering provides important depth and focus to engineering and science interdisciplinary learning outcomes, particularly in detailing integration processes.