The Interdisciplinary Studies Program at Lawrenceville is not a separate department, but a series of courses that emerge from our core disciplines of history, math, science, english, foreign language, art, and religion and philosophy.
Beginning in the Second Form, students become familiar with the insights, methods, and approaches of these core disciplines. Interdisciplinary courses then attempt to build on these disciplinary groundings in the Fourth and Fifth Form by encouraging students to integrate two or more disciplines. Increasingly, the most complex intellectual and practical problems in the world lie beyond the boundaries of a single discipline. As such, the goal of the Interdisciplinary courses is to answer a question, solve a problem, or achieve an understanding impossible through a single discipline alone. At Lawrenceville, we specifically define Interdisciplinary Studies as “Inquiries which critically draw up two or more disciplines leading to an integration of disciplinary insights.”
“Inquiries”: Interdisciplinary Courses should focus on a question or a problem that requires analysis from multiple disciplinary perspectives.
“Which Critically Draw Upon Two or More Disciplines”: Interdisciplinary Courses should emerge from our core Departments and the disciplinary groundings students have acquired during their first two to three years at Lawrenceville. The purpose of Interdisciplinary Courses is to leverage the insights of two or more disciplines while also encouraging students to reflect critically on the limitations of each discipline.
Leading to an Integration of Disciplinary Insights”: Once a course's essential question is examined from the perspective of the contributing disciplines and each discipline reaches the limits of its explanatory or problem-solving power, Interdisciplinary courses should then become a search for a "third way"—a strategy that builds on the insights and approaches of the contributing disciplines but then "integrates" them in the service of answering a question, solving a problem, or achieving an understanding impossible through a single discipline alone.
Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose. Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.