Cross-Disciplinary Studies are designed to help students connect ideas, methods, and materials from diverse disciplines. In many ways, they lie at the heart of the St. Mary’s curriculum, taking advantage of SMCM’s close-knit faculty and campus resources in order to blend disciplinary approaches and discover new conclusions we could not reach while looking at a problem from just one angle.
St. Mary’s offers six Cross-Disciplinary Study Areas (CDSAs). CDSAs are minor degree programs, urging students to apply more broadly what they learn in any given major. Each CDSA involves coursework in at least three academic disciplines and requires 18 to 24 credit-hours, at least eight (8) of which must be at the upper-division level. Each CDSA also has its own introductory course, and students can pursue their SMP in the study area, provided they secure the approval of the department in which they are majoring.
Museum Studies Required Course
The required introductory course, “Introduction to Museum Studies” (MUST 200), is offered each semester. This course considers the history and current context of museums, examining the diversity of collections, exhibitions, and interpretation techniques, including the implementation of technology and virtual museums; visitor behavior and learning; management, marketing, and financial challenges; and museum ethics, legal responsibilities, and controversies. Hence, the course draws from Anthropology, Sociology, Economics, History, and Political Science, and fulfills the College’s Core Curriculum requirement in Arts. The format is seminar-style, based on case studies, field trips, readings, and a class project.
Formal declaration of intent to complete the Museum Studies minor must be preceded by completion of the core course or by consent of the program coordinator. Students are advised to declare their participation and plan their coursework in consultation with the program coordinator as early as possible but no later than by the beginning of the first semester of their senior year.