Most research and all educational programs in the DEAS are interdisciplinary in character. In principle, formal requirements are sufficiently flexible to permit students to pursue almost any broad, deep, and coherent interest in the applied sciences. Most students follow programs centered on one of four overlapping themes:
studies of the electronic and atomic properties of matter and their application, for example, to optical and semiconductor devices (a theme leaning heavily on the disciplines of physics, chemistry, and electrical engineering)
studies of the continuum properties of matter and their application, for example, to the development of unusual materials and to the analysis of failure and flow (leaning heavily on the disciplines of applied mathematics, fluid and solid mechanics, and mechanical and metallurgical engineering
studies of the physical, chemical, and biological processes of the earth and the effects of civilization upon them (leaning on the physics and chemistry of the solid earth, oceans, and atmospheres, biology, environmental sciences and engineering, and civil engineering)
studies of systems and computer science (leaning on the disciplines of computer science and engineering, applied mathematics, electrical engineering, operations research, and statistics).
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education