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Course syllabus

The ontology, epistemology and practice of interdisciplinary studies

3+2 higher education credits

Course category: PhD student course in Interdisciplinary Studies

Main area: Interdisciplinary Studies

Subject area:

Campus-based instruction

Language:  English 

Course code:

Term 1




After completing the course the PhD student will be able to:

  • Reflect on the role and function of disciplines in the landscape of academic research

  • Critically examine and analyse the historical relationship of interdisciplinary studies to the academic disciplines

  • Give an account of the differences between different interdisciplinary ontologies, epistemologies and methodologies

  • Problematise the role of interdisciplinary studies in the present-day research landscape

  • Analyse and assess different interdisciplinary career paths and publication strategies

  • Show the ability to apply relevant interdisciplinary methods in practice in a critical way.


Course content:

The focus of the course is on giving a broad overview of and critical in-depth knowledge of interdisciplinary studies and on highlighting interdisciplinary issues such as ontology, epistemology and practice. The course will touch on the role of disciplines in the academic world and how its scientific norms and knowledge ideals are created and maintained. Against this background the course problematises the emergence of interdisciplinary studies as a field of knowledge and a practice. In order to generate deeper understanding of the various traditions and knowledge claims of interdisciplinary studies, different interdisciplinary ontologies, epistemologies and methodologies are compared and contrasted with one another- The course analyses what empirical areas and research issues are made visible in interdisciplinary research and what methods and ways of working this field of knowledge builds on. The course also includes a critical analysis of the research policy situation of interdisciplinary studies and possible career paths for interdisciplinary researchers.


Instruction/working methods:

The course is built up around lectures, discussions and seminars. Between meetings in the course the students work on their studies on their own. The course coordinator will be present at all teaching sessions to act as a link between the meetings and lecturers, to ensure continuity and progression and to be able to continuously develop and update the course.  In addition, a portfolio method will be used.



One part of the examination is based on active participation in lectures and seminars.  In addition, a portfolio is assessed as part of the examination for the course. Assignments done during the course are read along with the final assignment.

Detailed information about the examination is given in the study guide.


PhD students who fail the course or a part of the course twice are entitled to request a new examiner at a new examination. The students who have passed a test may not take part in a new test to get a higher grade.

Entry requirements

To be admitted to the course the participant must have completed a degree in first-cycle higher education and be admitted to PhD education.


Grades on the course are set using the ECTS grading scale A−F.                            

Course certificate

A course certificate is issued by the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Humanities at the request of the student. A request for a certificate has to be made on a special form that can be obtained from the central student reception desks or via http://www.liu.se/gf/studc/examen/. The form is handed in to the Student Centre        

Course literature:

The list of course literature is decided by the course coordinator at Tema.


Other matters:

The planning and delivery of the course must be based on the wording of the course syllabus. The course evaluation that has to be included in each course therefore has to deal with the question of how the course matches the course syllabus.

The course is conducted in such a way that the knowledge and experience of both women and men is made visible and developed.


This syllabus is valid from: 1 January 2017.

Sidansvarig: eva.danielsson@liu.se
Senast uppdaterad: Wed Jan 17 11:33:14 CET 2018