The continuum from unidisciplinary to transdisciplinary, reproduced with the permission of Dan Stokols.
The term "Transdisciplinary" was introduced in 1970 by Jean Piaget to describe a methodology that goes beyond any single discipline. It is often confused with the terms interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and cross-disciplinary. This is not the last word in the definition of transdisciplinary, but it is a helpful start:
Transdisciplinary is when people from multiple disciplines work jointly to synthesize existing disciplinary work and extends it into a shared framework that creates a new approach.
Interdisciplinary is when people from different disciplines work jointly, but do not develop a shared framework that synthesizes and extends their discipline-specific concepts and methods.
Multidisciplinary is when people from different disciplines work sequentially, with the goal of eventually combining results to address a common problem.
Unidisciplinary is when people from a single discipline work together to addresss a common problem.
Transdisciplinary at CGU
Claremont Graduate University has placed the Transdisciplinary Studies Program at the center of its research and teaching. Doctoral students are required to take a transdisciplinary course in order to experience the collaborative and cross-disciplinary nature of such work. CGU offers customized interfield and dual degree programs; Reading/Working Groups; Transdisciplinary Dissertation Awards; Transdisciplinary Research Awards for CGU faculty members and students; and a variety of on-campus events. Find out more about the Transdisciplinary Studies Department by clicking on the links at top and left of this page.
Why Transdisciplinary Studies
"Transdisciplinarity is the intellectual signature of CGU"
Globalization, specialization, and the complex nature of community and world problems has heightened the need to provide students with an education that enables them to work collaboratively across multiple fields of study and develop the habits of life-long learning. To meet this need, Claremont Graduate University has developed the Transdisciplinary Studies Program.
At CGU, transdisciplinarity is an approach to problem-centered research and teaching that draws upon the ideas and methods of multiple disciplines and extends our knowledge beyond any single discipline-specific domain to create new, integrative, and transformative solutions.