Multi-, Inter-, Trans- Disciplinary Approaches/Curriculum – starting definitions

1) Approaches

  • Multidisciplinary approaches, where the disciplines remain intact but focus simultaneously on a common theme,
  • Interdisciplinary approaches where there is conjoining of the disciplines to develop a shared understanding of a theme or solution to a problem,
  • Transdisciplinary approaches where disciplinary distinctions are not evident

2) Curriculum

  • Multidisciplinary: Curriculum revolves around themes or problems that bring together a number of disciplines
  • Interdisciplinary: Curriculum revolves around themes or problems where the focus is on commonalities between disciplines
  • Transdisciplinary: Curriculum revolves around real-world experiences, without regard for discipline-specific understandings


Drake, S. M. (1993). Planning integrated curriculum: The call to adventure. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Harden, R. M. (2000). The integration ladder: A tool for curriculum planning and evaluation. Medical Education, 34(7), 551-557.

Pearson, M. (2011).  Integration in the BSc (Pharm) Curriculum. (PhD comprehensive exam, used with permission)


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