Transdisciplinary Study and Practice

Transdisciplinary study and practice, core and unique concepts of Claremont Graduate University’s culture, prescribe boundary-crossing scholarship aimed at innovative solution-making that touches people’s lives.

The imperative of transdisciplinarity is to identify multiple approaches to a problem, develop a means to understand, study, and communicate the problem, and then to design implementable, integrative solutions. We recognize the complexity and thorniness of social problems and in response, we adopt the methodological pluralism and the critical, iterative, and imaginative practices needed to solve them. We teach, study, and apply the tools suited to answer the questions we are asking, whether it be one or some combination of systems processes, design thinking, machine learning, qualitative research, storytelling, hermeneutics, etc.

Through CGU’s Transdisciplinary Studies Program, students and faculty have a canvas to blend, transcend and re-imagine boundaries to follow today’s most vexing questions and challenges. The purpose of engaging in transdisciplinary study is to challenge assumptions and broaden our thinking so we may offer innovative and transformative solutions to problems that impact our society. Whether it is behavioral sciences, evaluation, and history, student-faculty teams making recommendations to the United Nations on its Sustainable Development Goals, or mathematicians and experts in Geographic Information Systems working with public policy faculty on Native American voter enfranchisement, or Drucker School MBAs collaborating with art MFAs to utilize augmented reality technologies to enhance the experience of the elderly in retirement homes, CGU is committed to confronting broad and tangled social challenges with a spirit of collaborative curiosity, boldness, and resolve. CGU faculty and students translate ideas into action and transform problems into solutions. We engage in research that matters, and we follow the problem to its solution.


Global Leadership in Transformative Graduate Education

CGU is all graduate, all the time. CGU is the only comprehensive, high research doctoral university in the nation devoted entirely to graduate-level education. Here, professors are “graduate only,” meaning they are wholly dedicated to graduate students and to the highest levels of teaching, scholarship, and service. CGU student services are targeted specifically toward a graduate-only population, so that resources for career development, research and professional writing, and training future faculty are specifically focused to graduate student needs. Students benefit from a level of curricular freedom and faculty attention that no conventional graduate program typically offers.

At Claremont Graduate University, students are co-investigators and leaders-in-the- making. It is common for advanced students to work with faculty to co-present, co- author, and co-create the classes they want to take. In keeping with our transdisciplinary environment, many students take classes outside of their discipline, which—we believe—make them stronger within it.

A custom of thought leadership begins with having students assume leadership over their own education. CGU students are responsible, accountable, and free to create the future they envision.


CGU is The Graduate School of the Claremont Colleges

Founded in 1925, CGU is a member of The Claremont Colleges consortium, consisting of five undergraduate and two graduate institutions.1 This unique and thriving consortium offers faculty and students multiple resources, joint programs, shared services, and connections across campuses. CGU offers a comprehensive range of doctoral and master’s programs across multiple disciplinary fields. Approximately 120 faculty members from the undergraduate colleges hold appointments in CGU graduate programs. An accelerated bachelor’s-master’s program is a rare opportunity offered to juniors and seniors at the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges to experience graduate level instruction and accelerate the time to degree for their master’s at Claremont Graduate University.

CGU straddles the border between Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire, both among the most diverse regions in the world and major hubs of global commerce and political influence. Our regions are confronting a range of complex problems within and across various policy, business, and cultural areas. Our faculty are well- equipped to address this range of issues, as leading scholars in: health, well-being and quality of life; evaluation, data analytics, and data driven decisions; gender; disparities research; leadership; creative practice and innovation, information and computational science.

CGU’s promotion of transdisciplinary mindsets and research that matters, its commitment to excellence in graduate-only academic programs, and the benefits of The Claremont Colleges consortium all define Claremont Graduate University’s distinctive place in higher education.


1 Founded in 1997, Keck Graduate Institute offers postgraduate degrees and certificates in life and health sciences, business, pharmacy, and genetics.