Advantages and Disadvantages of the MTD Program

Advantages

  • Enables you to create a single interdisciplinary major by integrating two or three areas. For example, using this approach you could create a major in neurobiology (by concentrating in biology and psychology) or Renaissance studies (by taking courses in history, literature, and art).
  • Enables you to get a broad liberal education by studying two or three separate areas of interest instead of a single area of concentration (for example, Theatre, Women's Studies, and Information Systems).

Disadvantages

  • You will probably get less well-informed guidance by faculty members knowledgeable about your fields of concentration and career goals, because none of the MTD advisors may happen to be familiar with your subject area.
  • You may find it hard to become part of a peer group, a group of fellow students in the same area of study who take many of the same courses as you.
  • You may avoid planning and making hard decisions about your studies and preparation for a career, and end up without the education that you need to set out on the career you want.
  • Prospective employers or graduate schools may not value the MTD major on your transcript as much as they would a standard major. You should be aware that many people, both inside the university and out, consider a specialization in a single subject, such as one gets in a standard major, to be an essential element of a college education. Whether justified or not, this can affect your future. Students who plan to attend graduate school in a specific discipline would generally be better served by earning a degree in that discipline instead of in an interdisciplinary program. Note, too, that the Stony Brook diploma and transcript do not indicate the student's two or three areas of concentration. They simply say that your major is "Multidisciplinary Studies."

You Should Never Enroll in MTD As a Substitute for Planning.

If you don't know what you want to study you should visit the Career Center or other sources of advice and think hard about your future, and also think about what subjects you have enjoyed in the past and would maybe like to major in. MTD is not usually a good choice for students who need better-than-average advising. The time to do long-term planning is now, while you're in college, rather than a year or two later when you've already graduated.

Careers for MTD Graduates

Students often ask about career prospects for MTD majors. There is no real answer, because the individual programs of study of students majoring in MTD are so diverse that no general statement can be made about their career paths after graduation. MTD majors frequently enter graduate or professional school or pursue careers in business, education, or government agencies. The career choices open to you as an MTD graduate depend entirely on which subject areas you choose, which courses you take, and how well you do in them.

When you go on to graduate school or apply for employment, you should be prepared to explain what Multidisciplinary Studies is, why you chose the subject areas you did, and why you chose not to do a standard major. You should be thinking about your answers to these questions now, and they should be included in your Proposal Essay.

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