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Academic Programs

The Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies is the academic home of some established transdisciplinary programs and minors at Virginia Tech. Additionally, the academy is incubating a catalog of majors and minors that will be launched in stages in the next few years.

These existing and planned curricular offerings and research hubs are organized around three (3) areas.
Identities and Intersectionalities
Space and Place
Digital Transformation and Scientific Collaboration

Minor Degrees Currently Available

Africana studies is an interdisciplinary field that teaches students to critically assess present cultural forces, structural forces, and historical conditions. 

Deepen your understanding of diversity and inclusion in regard to disabilities. Discover how society defines disability and the ways individuals with disabilities overcome social barriers in their everyday lives. 

Cultivate an understanding of the complex ways in which gender intertwines with science and technology.

The women's and gender studies program presents new ways of thinking about how race, class, and sexuality shape our society and our experiences in it. 

Current and Upcoming Programs

Identities and Intersectionalities

Africana studies is an interdisciplinary field that teaches students to critically assess present cultural forces, structural forces, and historical conditions. You will study the economic, legal, psychological, educational, social, and moral status of people of African descent. The curriculum includes courses in literature, history, sociology, political science, religion and culture, and gender relations.

The disability studies minor includes courses in human development; apparel, housing and resource management; psychology; education; and science, technology, and society. Whether working with people directly or through systems of design, this study is relevant for careers ranging from equipment engineering to classroom teaching to legal policymaking.

The minor in Latin American and Latinx Studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Latinx and Hispanic identities in the US and Latin American societies. By studying politics, history, art, popular culture, and literature from these communities, students will get to better comprehend issues of identity, power relations, inequality, social justice, and cultural diversity.

Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) is an interdisciplinary program that promotes complex, holistic perspectives on identity, inequality, knowledge, and power from  feminist theoretical perspectives. The program fosters the generation of knowledge about gender and sexuality in all their diversity and thus applies an intersectional lens, demonstrating at every level the importance of race/ethnicity, class, dis/ability, and nation/location for understanding gender issues.

Space and Place

Displacement studies is an emerging interdisciplinary field that examines processes of displacement and the structural systems that contribute to forced relocation. The field intersects with refugee and migration studies. Displacement studies focuses on the ways in which humans experience processes of displacement, whether due to natural disaster, climate change, government-induced development, civil unrest, or eminent domain. The field also examines how these experiences are addressed — or not — in laws, policies, technologies, housing, and historical narratives about displacement. Finally, the field explores the intersections among related issues such as human rights, citizenship, statelessness, sovereignty, (national) security, housing, social services, and community health.

The Environmental and Climate Justice minor will prepare Virginia Tech students to tackle the equity and justice dimensions of the climate crisis and other environmental challenges. Environmental degradation and climate change affect nearly every aspect of society, including health, well-being, education, the built environment, gender and race relations, food security, politics, the economy, disaster recovery, and work; however, the effects of environmental degradation and climate change are not felt equally.

The Food Studies Program is a community of people engaging with food, in all its dimensions, and adding a critical perspective drawing from the humanities and social sciences. Food Studies facilitates teaching, interdisciplinary research, and community engagement to promote understandings of food consumption and production within historical, social, and ethical contexts. We draw on the expertise of faculty from fields such as history, sociology, political science, philosophy, gender studies, literature, folklore studies, geography, education, Africana studies, American Indian Studies, and more. The program seeks to establish conversations, facilitate critical thinking, foster effective communication, and work toward solutions around food issues, both within and beyond the academy.

Digital Transformation and Scientific Collaboration

The Pathways Minor in Communicating and Engaging with Science is intended to help non-STEM majors engage creatively, confidently, and critically with issues related to science. Learning to communicate about complex scientific and data-driven ideas, will allow non-STEM majors to become better communicators around crucial issues of science in our world. In addition, they will learn techniques and strategies for improving communication and collaboration within their own disciplines. The minor will allow non-STEM majors to combine their required Reasoning in the Natural Sciences and Quantitative and Computational Thinking coursework with communication and evaluation techniques and methods. They will be able to engage in meaningful scientific discussion and inquiry.

The Content Operations initiative explores a transdisciplinary approach to content (including creation, design, management, marketing, publication, etc.) that prioritizes people over tools; cares about diversity, equity, and inclusion in authors and readers; establishes and updates a governance plan built on ethical considerations and effective user experience research; aligns with organizational business goals without ignoring the human beings involved in its processes; implements and revises the appropriate technology tools for responsible automation and personalization of content; and adapts to the global and local needs of diverse audiences.

The Digital Games and Interactive Entertainment minor is concerned with developing curricula accessible to students across the Virginia Tech campus interested in the design, creation, analysis, and criticism of digital games, simulations, virtual environments, and similar interactive and immersive media technologies. Whether students are interested in working in the games industry, developing powerful digital narratives for prosocial aims, or exploring the social, behavioral, and cultural dimensions of virtual environments, we are working to develop courses and student experiences based in a range of faculty research expertise to complement the strengths of existing Virginia Tech majors and prepare graduates for a range of roles related to interactive media.

The language sciences working group is developing an academic major to provide students with a universal skill set marketable in speech-related professions, careers with a cross-cultural focus, a variety of research fields, and any career with an emphasis on strong communication skills.

Tech for Humanity is a university-wide effort that emphasizes Virginia Tech’s role as one of the top human-centered comprehensive universities leading discovery, learning, and engagement to address the societal impact of technological innovation through human-centered approaches. As the heartbeat of humanistic disciplines at Virginia Tech, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences plays a vital role in this initiative.