As science, technology and business continue to blend, employers are looking for candidates who understand complex technical and scientific concepts to solve today's integrated industry challenges. The master's in interdisciplinary science degree prepares students for this rapidly changing work environment by further developing their scientific expertise, professional communication skills and business acumen.
Courses in the master's in interdisciplinary science program, selected from science, engineering and non-technical fields (such as business, arts and humanities), prepare graduates for leadership positions in a variety of interdisciplinary science careers. Florida Tech's reputation for excellence in science and engineering education, as well as its prominent business management program, exceeds expectations for a high-quality academic experience.
Students in the master's in interdisciplinary science program build their own, highly individualized Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum tailored for their intended career path, interacting with students and professors from many disciplines. Florida Tech's PRISM program encourages students to broaden their thinking and their skillset to approach complex problems in new ways and collaborate with professionals from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds.
Florida Tech's interdisciplinary science major is a broad individualized educational program with a thesis and non-thesis option. One of the very first programs of its kind in the country, Florida Tech's interdisciplinary science master's degree combines advanced scientific study with advanced knowledge of communications and business, giving students considerable flexibility in their career. With a close-knit academic community with peers and professors, interdisciplinary science students collaborate to explore their interests and develop a personal career path.
With the creation of the interdisciplinary science program, Florida Tech recognized the need for students to develop expertise in a variety of science and engineering disciplines, while also expanding communication and business acumen. This interdisciplinary approach gives students a variety of career options that can include jobs in nanotechnology, environmental protection, medicine, engineering, teaching and research (both private and the government). Many students with an interdisciplinary science master's degree achieve leadership roles in the military or choose to enter a doctoral program.
Students in the master's in interdisciplinary science program work with faculty in any of the five colleges at Florida Tech (Aeronautics, Business, Engineering, Psychology & Liberal Arts, or Science), depending on their individual degree concentration. Florida Tech professors are thought-leaders in their fields – respected textbook authors whose research has been cited in academic and professional publications. They have also served as subject matter experts for well-known media outlets including National Geographic Television and Magazine, CNN, The Discovery Channel, National Public Radio (NPR) and newspapers around the world.
Thesis and non-thesis options are available in the master's in interdisciplinary science program. Because of the personalized nature of the program, students work with an advisor and a professor to choose a thesis research topic. Florida Tech is home to more than 25 research centers and institutes, as well as high-tech laboratories and machine shops that cater to the interdisciplinary nature of many degree programs.
State-of-the-art facilities and laboratories are another reason students earning an interdisciplinary science master's degree choose Florida Tech. The F.W. Olin Engineering Complex houses 26 specialized research laboratories, and The F.W. Olin Life Sciences Building is home to an aquaculture facility, climate change institute, eight teaching laboratories and 12 research laboratories -- all equipped with 21st century technology. The Harris Center for Science and Engineering serves the research needs of our aquaculture and fish biology programs. Florida Tech research centers, institutes and laboratories also include:
Laser, Optics and Instrumentation Laboratory
High Resolution Microscopy and Advanced Imaging Center
Wind and Hurricane Impacts Research Laboratory
Vero Beach Marine Laboratory
Center for Entrepreneurship and New Business Development
Virtual Climate Library
Another of the benefits to attending Florida Tech for an interdisciplinary science master's degree is its location within the Florida High Tech Corridor – home to more than 5,000 high-tech companies and the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the nation.
Research conducted by Florida Tech interdisciplinary science students is an important academic experience providing students the tools and techniques they need for future career-related scientific research.
The PRISM program supports a creative and visionary approach to research, encouraging students to seek new methods to tackle complex problems. Because of the personalized nature of this degree program, interdisciplinary science research topics vary widely and provide all students with access to cutting-edge ideas on many different aspects of the field. Topics of interdisciplinary science research in the past have included:
Progress in special education
Sustainable coastal management
Designing community centers
Computers in education
Research in neurochemistry
In addition, Florida Tech's international faculty are involved in research interests that includes:
Students doing interdisciplinary science research at Florida Tech have more than 25 research centers and institutes, along with several high-tech laboratories and machine shops, to conduct their work including:
Climate change is among the most pressing issues faced by future generations and is an essential topic in many scientific disciplines. Students at Florida Tech conducting interdisciplinary science research have access to The Virtual Climate Adaption Library – a cloud-based and crowd-sourced database containing over 900 articles in 10 languages on the effects of climate change on coastal environments around the world.
Designed to foster advances in adaption planning for rising sea levels and climate change mitigation, students contributing to the database take part in a worldwide research effort, adding to the knowledge base of millions. Articles come from not only Florida Tech researchers, but from respected research institutes and organizations such as:
Gulf & Caribbean Fisheries Institute
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Sea Turtle Conservancy
The Mote Marine Laboratory
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Many of the problems in science and technology are too complex for the fragmented single-discipline approach. Societal problems and solutions require the contributions of scientists from a number of different fields, each bringing their expertise to solve a larger, systems-level problem. Research institutions, universities and corporations need experts who are focused on this multidisciplinary approach.
Employers seek out graduates with a master's in interdisciplinary science degree from Florida Tech because of the broad skillset and interpersonal skills Florida Tech graduates possess. Interdisciplinary science graduates work for science, technology and management organizations that need managers who can lead scientific and technical teams. Many students continue into the military or further their education with a specialized doctoral degree. Organizations that have recruited Florida Tech students include General Electric, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, NASA, Harris Corporation and the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Health Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provides information about specific jobs including median annual pay, working conditions and job outlook, among other things.
For those seeking careers in interdisciplinary science, jobs might be found in medical environments, advocacy, environmental policy, business management, education, technology, research and science. Graduates are able to search a diverse range of science-based careers that depend on strong backgrounds in scientific and quantitative reasoning and an understanding of the relationship between the natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences, humanities and the arts.
In areas of business, administrative services managers could experience 12% employment growth and human resources managers 13% through 2020. Environmental health and safety engineers are projected to grow 11% with medical scientists experiencing 13% growth. Careers in biochemistry or biophysics show a 31% growth projection. For the many options available to an interdisciplinary degree graduate check The Occupational Outlook Handbook for additional information on careers in interdisciplinary science.
Although not an exhaustive list, careers in interdisciplinary science can include one (or more) of the following:
Agricultural and Food Scientist
Biochemist and Biophysicist
Biomedical Engineering Technician
Chemist and Materials Scientist
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologist
Information Management Director