Longitudinal perspectives of faculty and students on benefits and barriers to transdisciplinary graduate education: Program assessment and institutional recommendations

Anna Sigrid Keck, Stephanie Sloane, Janet M. Liechty, Megan S. Paceley, Sharon M. Donovan, Kelly K. Bost, Brent A. McBride, Barbara H. Fiese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Addressing complex societal problems, such as childhood obesity, requires transdisciplinary (TD) approaches to reach effective solutions. However, TD doctoral training programs in academic settings are still relatively new, and little is known about the benefits and barriers of participation. This study sought to longitudinally assess benefits and barriers of a TD approach to doctoral education from the perspectives of students working towards a joint PhD/MPH degree and their faculty advisors. Results show that benefits across 5-years included greater collaboration and networking, enhanced guidance and support, broadened ways of thinking, and expanded opportunities. Barriers included time demands, complicated logistics, and tension between depth versus breadth of knowledge. Similarities and differences among students and faculty are discussed. Findings provide resources for both faculty and students considering involvement with TD doctoral education, as well as for institutions and academic programs seeking to promote TD training and team science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number27
JournalPalgrave Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

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