ISS – Interdisciplinary Social Sciences – is a Bachelor’s programme (in Dutch: ASW, Algemene Sociale Wetenschappen) at the University of Amsterdam. Recently and together with a team, I designed a new curriculum for this programme and had the chance to read and learn a lot about the value of interdisciplinarity.
Social problems cannot be linked one-by-one with the social-science disciplines at our universities. As Popper already in 1963 put forward: “We are not students of some subject matter, but students of problems. And problems may cut right across the borders of any subject matter or discipline.”
In the ASW-Bachelor’s programme, students learn the differences and similarities between a number of disciplines in the Social Sciences. Importantly, they learn to combine insights and become educated as interdisciplinary researchers and professionals: people who can easily switch perspectives, build bridges, who have general as well as in–depth knowledge of social and scientific problems – and who, last but not least, are eager to contribute to the solutions of these problems.