WPU Launches New Interdisciplinary Arts Major

Sep 22, 2023

William Peace University (WPU) is launching a new major that redefines the way students study art, music, theatre, game design, film, media, and dance. 

The new Interdisciplinary Arts (IDA) degree at WPU offers students the chance to “build a degree as unique as you.” The degree is available for current and new students starting in Fall 2024.

“Interdisciplinary Arts is a newer and exciting way to study creative disciplines,” said Matt Hodge, assistant program director of Interdisciplinary Arts. “Today’s artists do not have to be bound by a single label; our new IDA major and minor encourages students to holistically explore and craft their artistic identities.”

IDA students will take core interdisciplinary arts courses, then customize the remainder of their degree with electives matching their individual artistic interests, choosing among courses in art, dance, film, game design, media, music, and theatre.

The IDA degree is a Bachelor of Arts and replaces the university’s Bachelor of Fine Arts, theatre, musical theatre, and arts administration degrees. This shift adds WPU to the short list of universities in the country (approximately only a dozen) that specifically offer an undergraduate Interdisciplinary Arts degree.

Wade Newhouse, program director of Interdisciplinary Arts, said adapting the program better fits the needs of students. 

“Our new program recognizes that creativity crosses boundaries and encourages students to seek out new forms of self-expression and invent original intersections between creative disciplines,” Newhouse said. “For almost 12 years, WPU has trained young people to be actors, singers, and dancers. Now we are giving creative students new ways to think about how those artistic skills might align with other dynamic fields, such as writing and game design. Instead of focusing solely on ways to be creative on stage, we are trying to recognize ‘art’ as a wider spectrum of academic and personal development.”

Immersive Learning will remain a core tenant of this degree path, as it is for all WPU students. At WPU, immersive learning means learning by doing. Faculty apply real-world examples or hands-on experiences in every class. Moreover, IDA students will also earn course credits for participating in artistic experiences on and off campus that are tailored to their individual interests. WPU also regularly offers national and international travel opportunities for students, with recent arts-themed trips including London, Paris, Tokyo, Amsterdam, and New York City.

Students currently working toward a BFA or theatre degree can choose to continue that program or switch to the new IDA major. Sarah Lynch, Kaitlyn Bliss, and Daisy Byungura, all sophomores currently studying theatre, are among the many students planning to switch next fall.

“I’m excited about our new Interdisciplinary Arts program because it gives us the choice to take a greater variety of classes and allows us to simultaneously study our many interests and passions,” Byungura said.

Bliss agreed. “Our IDA program allows me to take multiple passions that I adore and build them up into a successful future career where I can excel and create what I love to do,” she said. 

Moreover, Lynch finds her professors to be one of her favorite aspects of the new program, declaring, “Our IDA professors inspire us to believe in the possibilities of who we can be and what we can achieve.”