Master of Arts – Interdisciplinary Studies

Dr. Wendell Kisner, Program Director

MA-IS Office

MA-IS Program Mission Statement

The Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MA-IS) is a graduate program that integrates interdisciplinary scholarship with self, community, and workplace through a process of transformative learning. Aligned with Athabasca University’s mission as an open institution, the MA-IS program is learner-centred and flexible in its accommodation of diverse students, allowing them to determine their own path of learning according to personal interest and curiosity-based inquiry. The MA-IS program facilitates a creative process of emergent learning that emphasizes meaning-making in the 21st century and that aims for the development of socially engaged public intellectuals.

Why Interdisciplinary Studies?

Athabasca University's Master of Arts - Interdisciplinary Studies (MA-IS) degree offers students a unique opportunity to engage in a program of study that spans the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The degree is comprehensive in scope but specific in focus, requiring students to choose at least one focus area from among several areas of inquiry. Students are taught to think holistically, critically, and reflectively, and to focus on the articulations and points of overlap between specialized and generalized knowledge. Exposure to a range of disciplines and interdisciplinary methods prepares students to envisage and pursue innovative solutions to a variety of problems. The degree teaches students to situate and contextualize knowledge and practices on a broad intellectual continuum that integrates theories, methods, and practices from the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Is the MA-IS degree for you?

Athabasca University's MA-IS degree attracts recent and longtime graduates from a wide range of disciplines, careers, and professions. Some possess baccalaureate degrees in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, others in the natural sciences and professions. What all MA-IS students share is a desire to engage in multidisciplinary studies that reflect their interests and lived experience in the community and workplace. Current and past MA-IS students include: administrators (private, public and NGO); educators (adult educators, teachers, and trainers); directors, managers and supervisors; homemakers; nurses; social workers; members of the correction, military, and police services; and religious leaders from various faiths.

Testimonials from MA-IS students

Chris Wood

Roger Boyd

Vivian McCollor

Kathryn Arnold

Brief History of MA-IS

The proposal for a Master of Arts program in Humanities and Social Sciences was first presented to the Government of Alberta by Dr. Alan Davis, VPA at Athabasca from 1996-2003. When the Alberta Department of Advanced Education approved the new MAIS program we appointed Dr. Mike Gismondi as first Director (2001-2010). Dr. Raphael Foshay was the second director (2010-14). The third director is now Dr. Wendell Kisner.

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Updated September 20 2021 by Student & Academic Services