Welcome to the Institute for the Liberal Arts

Where curiosity meets learning
Where academics meet innovation
Where the classroom meets the world

ILA Students

Why the ILA?

Never take a class you don't love

The Institute for the Liberal Arts provides a unique intellectual environment for the pursuit of research and teaching that cuts across conventional academic boundaries.

You won’t be constrained by the requirements of a traditional major here. You’ll explore what inspires you and create a path of study that fits your interests.

  

Ranked No. 1

  

Emergent fields of study

  

Innovative learning

Majors

Try student-designed concentrations, intensive faculty advising

American Studies

American Studies

In the American studies major, students can discover the complexity and diversity of this nation's history, literature, and culture by focusing their interdisciplinary study and research on the US or the broader Americas.

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Interdisciplinary Studies

Interdisciplinary Studies

Our majors are not structured on a preconceived notion of a field. Structure and rigor grow from a student's intellectual passions and is ensured by close consultation with faculty advisers.

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Honors, Internships, FAQS

Honors, Internships, FAQS

Take a look at special opportunities open to undergraduate interdisciplinary scholars through the ILA, and find answers to your questions.

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News and Events

See what's going on

Background in Journalism Enhances AMST Major's Focus on Voting Rights History in Georgia

Background in Journalism Enhances AMST Major's Focus on Voting Rights History in Georgia

Ellie Studdard, whose AMST senior project will focus on efforts of elected officials to limit African American voting and voting rights in Georgia since a landmark Supreme Court case in 1948, made at least two important discoveries during her time at Emory, and one of them was that AMST was the major for her. The other touched the lives of people at Emory and around Georgia.

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Mark Risjord and Peter Little Study Happiness and Well-Being

Mark Risjord and Peter Little Study Happiness and Well-Being

Along with Workneh Negatu of Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, and Abdullahi Aboud of Egerton University, Kenya, Peter Little and Mark Risjord have received a "Happiness and Well-Being" grant from the John Templeton Foundation. One of the puzzles about happiness and well-being is that measures of subjective well-being often do not correlate with measures based on wealth, health, or freedom from corruption.

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IDS Junior Doesn't Slow Down

IDS Junior Doesn't Slow Down

Rostam Zafari is now a junior IDS major and, since his award-winning work on an Ebola detection kit as a freshman, he has been teaching in a local Atlanta high school and starting an app that will pair college students tutors with high school students in need.

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Kim Loudermilk and Peter Wakefield Present at the 2016 AIS Conference

Kim Loudermilk and Peter Wakefield Present at the 2016 AIS Conference

Kim Loudermilk, senior lecturer in the ILA and director of the Interdisciplinary Exploration and Scholarship (IDEAS) Fellowship, and Peter Wakefield, professor of pedagogy and director of undergraduate studies in the ILA, presented a paper about the structure and pedagogical innovations of the ILA's award-winning interdisciplinary programs to an international audience at the 2016 Association of Interdisciplinary Studies annual conference in Ottawa, Canada, in October 2016. Their presentation was entitled, "In Objects, Students, and the Institution: Emory's Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Programs."

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One of Our Sidecar Courses Has Gone Viral

One of Our Sidecar Courses Has Gone Viral

One of our sidecar courses has gone viral. The Power of Black Self Love, co-taught by Dianne Stewart, associate professor of religion and African American studies and Donna Troka, associate director at the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, was offered in fall 2016.

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ILA Annual Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium

ILA Annual Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium

April 14, 2017 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Detweiler Conference Room, Callaway S412

Each spring AMST and IDS majors who are juniors join graduating senior honors candidates for a public symposium focused on their individual research projects.

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What Do Machines Need to Understand Human Languages?

What Do Machines Need to Understand Human Languages?

March 2, 2017 4:00 PM

Callaway S423

Jinho D. Choi, assistant professor of math and Computer science

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Emory's Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Majors Best in Nation

Emory's Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Majors Best in Nation

The ILA's undergraduate majors are recognized for their innovation and have been selected as the best in the country by BestColleges.com.

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Emory has IDEAS to bolster its liberal arts education

Emory has IDEAS to bolster its liberal arts education

A unique Emory College fellowship program is building an intellectual community of undergraduates who are leading fellow students in how to bridge disciplines and make sense of their education as they head off into the world.

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This Emory student won $100K - and he's donating it all

This Emory student won $100K - and he's donating it all

IDS junior Rostam Zafari wins the Cyrus Prize, an award that honors young Iranian entrepreneurs, and donates the $100,000 prize to an Atlanta high school that focuses on engaging students with the community and solving real-world problems.

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Featured Courses

Take a look at our innovative curriculum

Science and the Nature of Evidence

Interdisciplinary Studies

Science and the Nature of Evidence

What is the nature of scientific evidence, and how does it compare to other types of evidence? What counts as evidence in science?

Visual Culture

Interdisciplinary Studies

Visual Culture

As an introduction to the trans-disciplinary field of visual studies, this course explores theory and analysis in the arts of painting, architecture, theater, and film.

What Does It Mean to Be Human?

Interdisciplinary Studies

What Does It Mean to Be Human?

Why do we exist? Who are we? Explore these questions and more using three disciplines: immunology, neuropsychology, and comparative literature.

Memory and Memoir

American Studies

Memory and Memoir

How do memoirs, acts of narrative- and self-construction, use memory in the creation and revision of lived meaning? How do writers navigate the lines between truth and fact?

Visual Culture and African American Urban History

American Studies

Visual Culture and African American Urban History

Explore 20th-century African American urban history through the lens of visual culture, with an emphasis on Atlanta.

Featured Students and Faculty

Kim Loudermilk

Kim Loudermilk

Senior Lecturer

Mark Risjord

Mark Risjord

Professor, ILA Director

Nathaniel Sawyer

Nathaniel Sawyer

Interdisciplinary Studies Major

Hear It from Our Students

What they like best about the ILA

Campbell Lunsford 

"My American studies major has provided me with skills that will benefit me in any future career: critical thinking, the ability to understand the relationship between various important disciplines, and the ability to work in a classroom with students of various backgrounds and interdisciplinary academic interests."

Campbell Lunsford  | American Studies | Class of 2016

Matthew DesLauriers 

"You get a very strong academic foundation through IDS, and it's really strengthened my desire to keep learning. I know that the skills I've developed through the major will set me up for whatever the next step may look like."

Matthew DesLauriers  | Interdisciplinary Studies | Class of 2015

Leena Malik 

"The ability to design my own program around the topic of mental health and work with amazing, involved professors on a thesis is a unique undergraduate experience. Next year, I am working in an autism research lab at Washington University and plan to attend medical school."

Leena Malik  | Interdisciplinary Studies | Class of 2015

  

Association for Interdisciplinary Studies Member

The Association for Interdisciplinary Studies (formerly Association for Integrative Studies) is an interdisciplinary professional organization founded in 1979 to promote the interchange of ideas among scholars and administrators in all of the arts and sciences on intellectual and organizational issues related to furthering integrative studies. Incorporated as a nonprofit educational association in the State of Ohio, it has an international membership.

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