Interdisciplinary Studies

Interdisciplinary Studies



The Anthropology Museum houses over 12,000 archaeological, and ethnographic specimens and objects. The ethnographic collection has regional strengths in Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and the plains and southwest regions of North America. Ethnographic specimens from Africa, Mesoamerica, and South America are also represented.

The museum also maintains a large archaeological research collection of artifacts from Illinois and the surrounding states. The museum serves university students through museum course work and hands-on experience with all phases of museum work. It also serves the public through an active in-house and outreach educational program. The museum facilities include an exhibit area open to the public on a regular basis, artifact storage areas, a complete workshop, and an exhibit graphics laboratory.

The Anthropology Museum
Northern Illinois University
Cole Hall
DeKalb IL 60115
Phone: 815-753-2520

Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS)

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies is internationally known for its outstanding research and instructional program dealing with the study of Southeast Asia, including language training in Thai, Burmese, Tagalog, and Indonesian. The CSEAS is also supported by the Donn V. Hart Southeast Asian Collection in the University Library and the Center for Burma Studies at NIU. Four NIU anthropologists (Professors Ledgerwood, Molnar, Provencher, and Russell) are core associates of the center, and two (Professor Montague and Professor Kolb) are honorary associates. The presence of the center, which stimulates and facilitates research in Southeast Asia, has become one of the strengths of NIU's anthropology program.FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) scholarships administered by the center are available to anthropology graduate students with interests in Southeast Asia.

For further information contact the:

Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115.
Phone: 815-753-1771

Center for Latino and Latin American Studies

The Center for Latino and Latin American Studies is an interdisciplinary research and teaching unit that offers a variety of opportunities for students, faculty, and the community to broaden their knowledge and understanding of Latinos in the United States and Latin American societies and cultures. The center organizes public lectures, seminars, poetry readings, conferences, and concerts for the campus community. For example, recent performances by Los Folkloristas, Mexico's internationally known musicians, and Tlen-Huicani from Veracruz, attracted large audiences. Scholarship and teaching is encouraged through research and travel grants for university faculty and graduate students who specialize in Latino and Latin studies. This financial support from the center has contributed to books and articles, as well as conference papers and theses.

Undergraduate and graduate students have received assistance from the center to present papers at regional conferences for Latino/Chicano studies on their own research and leadership activities.

The center's newsletter Encuentros reaches a wide national readership with articles written by faculty associates and highlights of visiting lectures and events. The presence of the center reinforces the Department of Anthropology's strong connection to Latin America and helps to foster research that deals with Latino or Latin American issues. Anthropologists who are faculty associates of this center are Professors Brown and Creamer.

For further information contact the:

Center for Latino and Latin American Studies
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115
Phone: 815-753-1531

Women's Studies Program

The Department of Anthropology has traditionally maintained strong ties to the Women's Studies Program at NIU. Professor Ledgerwood regularly teaches in the program.

For further information contact the:

Women's Studies Program
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115
Phone: 815-753-1038

Cognitive Studies Initiative

In academic year 2000-2001, four professors were hired as part of the Cognitive Studies Initiative at NIU. They are Giovanni Bennardo in anthropology, Reva Freedman in computer science, Betty Birner in English (linguistics), and Katja Wiemer-Hastings in psychology. The four members of the group were given the task to prepare and implement a cognitive studies program in the campus. First, they prepared a new class that could provide an entry into the program for undergraduate students. In spring 2002, it was taught under the final name of ILAS 261 Language, Mind, and Thought and it was accepted to be a General Education class. At the moment, this class is offered every fall semester and co-taught by two members of the group in rotation. Second, the cognitive studies group prepared and submitted an application to start an interdisciplinary (within LAS) Cognitive Studies Minor in academic year 2005-2006. The minor is now part of the LAS curriculum offering. Third, brown bag speakers series were organized by the group every semester since spring 2001. Three colloquia have also been organized, one in October 2003 on the Lexicon, one in October 2004 on Cultural Models, and in October 2006 about Language and Thought. Scholars from the NIU campus and from other universities around the country participated in these very highly attended events.  College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Minor in Cognitive Studies

Environmental Studies

We are all very excited to announce that the Illinois Board of Higher Education has approved our new BA/BS program in Environmental Studies. This degree program is unique in Illinois in its breadth of learning and engagement opportunities for students and will provide the region and the nation with graduates prepared to take on the diverse suite of important challenges that exist in environmental quality, energy, and sustainability. Our graduates will provide needed expertise to industry, government, NGOs and academic research.

The Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy (ESE Institute) was developed with the support of NIU Strategic Planning, through the Office of the Provost, with the goal of developing the new interdisciplinary undergraduate degree that will serve to educate students with diverse interests in physical sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, humanities, and engineering.

Our degree offerings include six emphases.

  1. Biodiversity and Environmental Restoration
  2. Water Sciences
  3. Energy studies
  4. Nature in Society
  5. Environmental Policy
  6. Non-governmental Organizations, in association with the new degree in Community Leadership and Civic Engagement (CLCE)

Additional information, including course offerings, can be found on the Academic Programs page.

We are comprised of a growing list of faculty associates and partners, coming from more than 12 Departments and Centers on campus. We are developing partnerships with regional industries, national laboratories, and other governmental and non-governmental agencies and anticipate a growing number of opportunities for internships and student research experience.

Nonprofit and NGO Studies

The Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies's mission is to enhance and strengthen civil society through nonprofit and other avenues for public service. To do this, it provides a space for rigorous undergraduate and graduate preparation for a number of different career paths, drawing on NIU's rich academic offerings across departments and colleges. It also offers opportunities for engaged learning, scholarship and research, and skills enhancement of current nonprofit leaders, reaching globally but with an important emphasis on service in the greater DeKalb area.

NGOLD's purpose is to:

  • Strengthen the nonprofit sector in norhtern Illinois, the United States and globally.
  • Engage students, faculty and nonprofit leaders in important issues of civil society.
  • Help create a better world for all of us.


  • Undergraduate degree: B.A. or B.S. in Community Leadership & civic Engagement (CLCE)
  • Curriculum for nonprofit leadership