Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education

2019 Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho


  • Michal J. BardeckiEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11352-0_90


This paper explores both the origins and usage of the term “multidisciplinarity” and its related cognates such as interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity – particularly in their application to the study of sustainable development. Generally, there has been a lack of consistency and precision in the definitions and use of these terms. In its most precise usage in research, multidisciplinarity does not challenge or transcend conventional disciplinary boundaries, but rather individuals (or disciplinary-focused groups) work on distinct aspects of the common undertaking within the context their own disciplinary base, providing a different perspective on the problem or issue. From the perspective of education, multidisciplinarity does refer to the ability of students to access courses taught by disciplines outside their area of study (i.e., “service subjects”).

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Environmental Studies and Graduate Programs in Environmental Applied Science and ManagementRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Noor Adelyna Mohammed Akib
    • 1
  • Tehmina Khan
    • 2
  1. 1.Universiti Sains MalaysiaPenangMalaysia
  2. 2.School of AccountingRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia