Interdisciplinary Thesis Supervision

The relationship between supervisor and student is sacred – paving the way for a good outcome regarding time, effort, enjoyment, contribution, and learning for all involved. In this seminar, we explore various approaches to support your supervision of interdisciplinary theses and arrive at your personal supervision plan.

In our changing world, researchers and students want to address real-world problems from an interdisciplinary perspective, recognising the power and limitations of such an approach. Lund University is teaming with opportunities for interdisciplinary research and collaboration, for example, the new LU Profile Areas, Strategic Research Areas, as well as the LU Agenda 2030 Graduate School and Postdoc Excellence Programme. The new LU Strategy for Education highlights the importance of Education for Sustainability (EfS) and students are clamouring for the knowledge and skills to be able to tackle sustainability challenges beyond the classroom. Thus, we can expect more and more opportunities and requests to supervise interdisciplinary theses.

An interdisciplinary thesis is an independent student project, which integrates knowledge, methods, and insights from two or more disciplines to examine a complex, often real-world, problem, yielding a richer understanding than a single disciplinary perspective. Whether or not you have experience supervising student theses, there are various approaches that will enhance your interaction with a student embarking on an interdisciplinary thesis – mind mapping, systems thinking, methodological triangulation, concept saturation, Socratic questioning, among others.

During the seminar, we discussed:

  • Integrating disciplinary knowledge and methods
  • Setting knowledge and project boundaries
  • Dealing with complexity
  • Fostering effective communication and collaboration techniques
  • Implementing co-supervision or peer supervision

The workshop took place on 12 October 2023 at Eden (Room 129). It was hosted by the Division for Higher Education Development at Lund University. Moderated by Steven Curtis (Academic Developer), the seminar was interactive with opportunities to discuss and share experience with others. 


  • Grossman, E. S., & Crowther, N. J. (2015). Co-supervision in postgraduate training: Ensuring the right hand knows what the left hand is doing. South African Journal of Science, 111(11–12), 1–8. 
  • Jaakkola, H., Mikkonen, T., Systä, K., & Henno, J. (2022). Practices for Supervising Master’s Theses in Company Context: An Anti-Pattern Approach. 2022 45th Jubilee International Convention on Information, Communication and Electronic Technology (MIPRO), 609–614.
  • Ramachandran, A., Abdi, K., Giang, A., Gladwin, D., & Ellis, N. (2022). Transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary programmes for collaborative graduate research training. Educational Review, 0(0), 1–18.
  • Seiden Hyldegård, J., & Jensen, H. N. (2023). The implied peer: Thesis writers’ feedback activities and experiences in group supervision. Studies in Higher Education, 48(11), 1754–1766.
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Supervising Interdisciplinary Theses by Steven Curtis

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