When I was a prospective college student, I remember the biggest thought that troubled me: I’m going to have to pick just one of my passions to focus on for my college career.
Duke is extremely unique in that you are able to pursue, and even combine, multiple academic and artistic interests; this was one of the biggest reasons I decided to become a Blue Devil. For example, I have been able to double major in Biology and Dance, while also pursuing the Markets and Management Certificate. The Certificate Programs at Duke are specifically designed to cross disciplines; for my certificate there are courses offered in sociology, public policy, economics, history, and more. Students have the option of “designing their own” interdisciplinary major through the Program II option that is offered. I think that engaging in interdisciplinary study makes you a more well-rounded student, and it gives you a wider breadth of knowledge and experience come graduation time.
In my classes, I have met engineers who are involved in theatre, political science majors with a second major in music, physicists also studying cultural anthropology… Duke is one of the few research universities of its caliber that values (and even encourages) cross-discipline involvement. One of the biggest things that I appreciate about Duke is my ability to take intense academic coursework while also maintaining my involvement with the arts.
In fact, at Duke those ideas of “academic” and “artistic” are not separate entities. There is artistry involved in the presentation of your scientific research for a biology course. Arts courses will have you in the library studying for long hours. My dance courses are extremely academic, and have involved some of the most intense writing and research of my Duke career. I spent one dance course learning about programming a thermal tracking camera to control interactive lighting in a performance space!
Want to see some academic artistry at work? Check out this article on a presentation by Duke student Katrina Wisdom (Pratt ’12), titled “Fouette Turns and Fourier Series.” Katrina discusses the important relationship of engineering and physics with ballet! To watch the full presentation, click here!
Bottom line: don’t think that graduating from high school means you have to leave some of your passions behind. Interdisciplinary study can greatly enhance your college experience, and within your range of interests you will likely begin to find that they are not so unrelated after all.
The views and opinions of the bloggers on this page are their own; they do not necessarily represent the views of the Undergraduate Admissions Office or of Duke University.