McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Cymone Lonon

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Major and Classification

Economics and Mathematics

Faculty Mentor

  • Lawrence Picus, Ph.D.

Department

  • Rossier School of Education: K- 12 Policy

McNair Project

Employers' Perceptions of Interdisciplinary Bachelor's Degrees

Abstract
The number of interdisciplinary Bachelor's conferred grew from approximately 6,300 in 1970 to approximately 33,700 in 2007 (NCES, 2008). Undergraduate students across the nation are finding interdisciplinary degree programs more appealing to their educational pursuits, however employers have yet to formally agree with this widespread demand. As students receive their education in order to have a competitive stance upon entering the workforce, it is important for students to know whether or not attaining an interdisciplinary degree gives them that competitive edge. This research project's primary objective is to offer students insight by getting employer feedback on interdisciplinary versus traditional Bachelor's degrees. Yet, in attaining employers' perceptions it also aims to see if job organization is reforming in reaction to the development of undergraduate interdisciplinary programs. A Benchmarking protocol was formed to conduct a comparative study on twelve universities' undergraduate interdisciplinary degree programs. A survey was also used to establish university-affiliated employers' satisfaction with job applicants holding an interdisciplinary Bachelor's degree. Based on the literature we expected to find employers are more satisfied with job applicants holding an interdisciplinary versus a traditional Bachelor's degree and as a result job organization is starting to become more specialized. Still, other factors related to job organization outweighed the importance of expert human capital.