Academic and Non-academic fusion?
April 22, 2006 8:03 PM   Subscribe

Are there hybrid academic fields out there allowing one the option of working in the service of various causes while possibly teaching if one is able? Thus far, I have become interested in the NEW SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH in NYC and THE ANNENBERG SCHOOL OF CULTURE OF COMMUNICATION at U Penn. Does anyone know about these schools / know about other hybrid programs / fields?


I am two yrs out of undergrad, 24, with a BA in English. There was once a time I was SURE that my “calling” was to become an English Prof, however the reality of the job market, esp for English PHDs gives me MUCH pause. I have started to think about transitioning into Poli Sci (either MA or PHD) to maybe have the non-academic options of Govt, activist, NGO, public policy work while leaving the door open possibly for academia if I am able to finish PHD and secure academic employment. I was really interest in Columbia’s SIPA program but don’t have the required math and science background.

I have become increasingly interested in the NEW SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL REASEARCH in NYC. And this is what I like so far about it based on my reading

-- they are politically progressive
-- they are interested very much in the real issues of the real world, i.e. economic inequalities, globalization, multi-culturalism, etc.

I also just came across the ANNEBERG SCHOOL OF CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION and am curious about their interdisciplinary program.

Maybe these could be good institutions to explore the possibility of being intellectual AND somehow useful and applicable to problems and employment needs of the “real world.” (although I am at all sure about employment prospects of any of this yet)

Does anybody know more about / go to any of these programs who can comment on my assumptions? I am really interested in finding other institutions that contain hybrid academic programs that can give one the possibility of working in the real world in the service of various causes while leaving open the possibility of teaching (although I understand no matter what discipline I choose, the possibility of teaching will be a slim one).

Does anybody know of other programs like this? Or have comments on my search for academic and nonacademic fusion?
posted by withdillemma to Education (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps this is a derail, but what aspects of communication are interesting for you? I minored in communication and have since done independent research in diffusion of innovation theory. I did my masters in business, but focused my thesis on the role of key influencers in the buying cycle for medical devices -- again, diffusion of innovation. I've worked in tech marketing for many years and this all ties together, although some of the academic stuff remains my pet interest. I'm hoping to eventually do a PhD in Business, with an eye to diffusion of innovation. But the timing isn't right for me just now.

I assume you've taken a look at the University of Toronto and the University of Chicago, which gave birth to McLuhan and Innis.
posted by acoutu at 8:22 PM on April 22, 2006

I meant to also mention that my BA was in English.
posted by acoutu at 8:23 PM on April 22, 2006

I'm in the Department of Communication at UIC here in Chicago. It's a good program, even though the school itself isn't particularly glamorous.

Any decent communication program should offer what you're looking for. The field is flexible enough to accommodate a number of disciplines. In my department we have cultural studies people, linguists, new media scholars and political communications experts. Only a few grad students in our department are able to teach (I did for two semesters) but just about everyone has an appointment of some kind.

Social research of any kind will afford you opportunities to work in "real world" situations. Some students in my department spent a semester working with the local newspaper for a low income community, for example.
posted by aladfar at 10:12 PM on April 22, 2006

Kennedy School at Harvard
Jurisprudence and Social Policy at Berkeley - Part of Boalt (law school) but it's an interdisciplinary PhD program related to the law, but you don't have to get a JD. People do "Xxxx and the Law", such as sociolgy, religion, health care, philosophy or more focussed legal issues like international legal conflicts, or theories of punishment. Lots of scope.
posted by johngumbo at 11:02 AM on April 23, 2006

The Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario might be of interest. It's an interdisciplinary PhD program drawing on numerous faculties. Not only are the courses worth checking out, but Carleton U., being in Canada's capital, is nestled amongst numerous political and international organizations.... The funding from this program is also very impressive (I understand). Also, Ottawa's a fairly nice town....
posted by rumbles at 1:28 PM on April 23, 2006

Also check out the Joint Graduate Programme in Communication & Culture and the Social & Political Thought Programme, both at York University in Toronto. Canada's got a whole whack of interdisciplinary programmes actually....
posted by rumbles at 1:32 PM on April 23, 2006

It's not a 'communication' program, but I think that the Collaborative International Development Studies (CIDS) program at Guelph might be interesting to you. You can enter from any discipline, and you get a joint masters. So you could do and English/CIDS degree. It's pretty practical, and attracts people from around the world. The profs tend to have a lot of applied as well as academic experience. You take core courses in whatever your discipline is, and additionally courses in Anthropology, Political Science, Geography, and Economics.
posted by carmen at 2:26 PM on April 23, 2006

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