Interdisciplinary Master's: combine interests and career aspirations

Interdisciplinary Master’s: combine interests and career aspirations

Sometimes when you’re looking for the right degree, you end up with an interdisciplinary master’s (Image: Unsplash/Becca Master)

How should you continue after your bachelor’s degree? In addition to many other options, there is also an interdisciplinary master’s degree. The head of the Career Services Center explains in an interview what makes it special and what doors it opens.

An interdisciplinary master’s program, i.e. the study of two subjects either at the same faculty or from different faculties, brings with it a wide range of knowledge and study content. But it also means an inability to fully devote yourself to the topic. Dr Birgit Müller, head of the Career Services Center at the University of Basel, explains what you should think about when deciding on a master’s degree and how it affects later applications. And a short list of pros and cons might help you decide.

Ms. Müller, what are the best criteria for choosing a master’s degree?
When choosing a master’s program, you should ask yourself: What are my interests? what are my skills What knowledge do I still want to acquire? What degree will I get and how important is it to me? What freedom do I have in designing my thesis? How much is my decision influenced by my environment? How important is the university’s reputation to me? These questions have different weight for everyone.

Are there reasonable and less reasonable subject combinations for an interdisciplinary master?

No. If you know what interests you and what you want to do with it later on the job market, you can combine subjects according to these criteria. It also does not matter whether these subjects are located in the same faculty or outside the faculty. Many roads lead to Rome!

Birgit Müller (Image: Uni Basel/zvg)

How to choose a master’s program that suits your professional goals?

You should think about what your dream job is and what training will get you there. Above all, I recommend trying to talk to people who are already working in this profession. This is the best way to exchange ideas about what the job really entails. But also what kind of training led to it.

Suppose I want to do a PhD after my interdisciplinary master’s programs. Yippee? And in what subject?
A doctorate after an interdisciplinary master’s degree is of course possible. Admission to the doctorate generally requires a recognized master’s degree from a university recognized by the University of Basel. The doctoral regulations of the faculty regulate other requirements for admission, as well as branch requirements for equivalence and supervision. (more information here)

How best to present your studies in your CV and application?
In particular, the interdisciplinary course here allows for a lot of freedom, but also involves additional work. Unlike a master’s degree that clearly leads to a specific job, such as law or medicine, an interdisciplinary master’s degree opens many doors for you. The application or CV can also emphasize the qualities that are relevant to the position. However, you also have to explain more because employers can’t imagine anything below the course. The application must emphasize knowledge and skills from the course that match the job description.

How can the Career Services Center help you choose the right master’s degree?
We can help sort through the large amount of information because we know what is required of university professionals and the specifics of companies, administration and the Swiss graduate job market. We support students with our individual career advice, workshops and events to get closer to their dream job.

Advantages and disadvantages of an interdisciplinary master’s degree


  • Great variety to tap into and benefit from
  • Non-following* and specialized** master’s programs offer the possibility to reorient after bachelor’s studies
  • The topic can be viewed from different points of view
  • You will gain a broader knowledge base
  • There is a wide range of job opportunities after graduation


  • The danger of “getting lost” in a great variety of topics
  • You cannot specialize in one subject to the same degree as a mono subject
  • In the case of specialized Master’s courses, certain admission criteria must be met to gain access
  • You need to do more work to explain your own knowledge and skills in applications

Examples of unrelated or Specialized Master’s courses at the University of Basel are “African Studies”, “European Global Studies”, “Language and Communication” or “Sustainable Development”, to name just a few. There are cross-faculty (e.g. Sustainable Development) and intra-faculty courses (e.g. language and communication). For example, give an overview Basel Study Guide or Student Counseling Services website.

* Non-subsequent master’s programs: Content not directly related to a specific bachelor’s degree. They are independent, often interdisciplinary courses with a thematic focus, to which he is admitted with various bachelor’s degrees without additional requirements.
** Specialized master’s programs: Non-follow-up courses for which additional requirements are set, which are the same for all applicants, or there are selection procedures. The number of places is usually limited.

To the Career Services Center at the University of Basel

The Career Services Center (CSC) at the University of Basel supports students and graduates during and after their studies with questions about successfully launching their careers. CSC services are, for example, individual career counseling, review of application documents, application training and job exchange, as well as the compilation of faculty and field-specific information materials. CSC also offers various specific workshops on various topics, such as practicing job interviews, presentation skills or internship search strategies, CSC also organizes the Long Career Night, which will take place again at the University of Basel on November 17, 2022.

Click here for the CSC website.

To the Basel Student Counseling Service

The Basel Student Advisory Service accompanies both high school students and students at the University of Basel in choosing a course and career, as well as planning their studies, learning and work techniques, starting a career and further education. The student counseling center also offers free psychological counseling for personal problems. In the information center at Steinengraben 5, a freely accessible range of information about the choice of study and career path is available.

Anya Iseli

“We should not read the words, but the people we feel behind the words” – once said Samuel Butler. Anja cannot judge whether this is actually true, but she would confirm the content exactly as it is. In addition to her enthusiasm for all things related to languages ​​and communication, her field, she is passionate about brunch, loves cozy cafes and is afraid of getting stuck with her bike on the tram tracks.

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