Interdisciplinary Studies Majors and Special Certificates
Academic Programs and Graduate Studies
Student Services and Administration Building, 4th Floor
Phone: (510) 885-3716, Fax: (510) 885-4777
The purpose of the Interdisciplinary Studies Major and the Special Certificate programs is to allow students, with the advice and approval of knowledgeable faculty and administrators, to design their own academic programs tailored to their unique needs and interests.
At least two separate degree-granting programs must be involved. A graduate Interdisciplinary Studies Major must be approved no later than the time when the student has fewer than 32-39 quarter units to complete for the degree. This is to ensure that a significant portion of the program is planned in advance by the student and his/her faculty advisors, and that the residence requirement can be met. The diploma will read "Interdisciplinary Studies Major in (program title)."
The Interdisciplinary Studies Major program should not be seen as a device to avoid certain requirements of a regular major, nor as a means to gain admission to an impacted program. Likewise, an Interdisciplinary Studies Major cannot be developed in areas such as architecture, agriculture, and home economics where the campus currently lacks the necessary faculty expertise and physical facilities. Finally, an Interdisciplinary Studies Major is not a self-study, independent study, or external degree program.
Student Learning Outcomes
Because Interdisciplinary Studies Majors are individualized courses of study, student learning outcomes will be individually created for each student by the student's Interdisciplinary Studies Major Committee. All students, however, who graduate with an M.A. or M.S. Interdisciplinary Studies Major from Cal State East Bay will (1) learn how to approach an issue or problem from at least two disciplinary perspectives; and (2) demonstrate mastery of an interdisciplinary approach to an issue or problem in a capstone assignment (project, thesis, or comprehensive exam).
The university offers the Interdisciplinary Studies Major program for both the M.A. and M.S. degrees. There is not a clear distinction between the two degrees so normally the decision about the assignment of an Interdisciplinary Studies Major reflects the type of degree offered by the departments involved. An Interdisciplinary Studies Major must be a coherent program of 45-52 units organized around a broad academic theme. The title should be short (three to five words) and should describe the central academic theme of the program and not the student's career objective unless the two coincide. A graduate Interdisciplinary Studies Major must be fully approved before the student has fewer than 32-39 quarter units to complete for the degree so the residence requirement can be met. (A maximum of 13 non-resident units is allowed.)
A department with a regular master's degree program (the sponsoring department) must certify that the prospective Interdisciplinary Studies Major student would be eligible for admission to its program as a "Conditionally Classified" or "Classified Graduate" student. (However, the student who obtains an approved Interdisciplinary Studies Major is not admitted to the regular graduate program, but to the Interdisciplinary Studies Major program under the Office of Academic Programs and Graduate Studies.)
A graduate Interdisciplinary Studies Major must consist of 45-52 quarter units of which at least half must be in graduate (6000-level) courses and at least 32-39 must be in residence in the program at Cal State East Bay. No more than 9 units may be in supervisory courses such as Independent Study, Project, Department or University Thesis, Field Work, Co-op Ed, and/or Internship. Graduate level courses in at least two different departments must be involved in the program. No course enrollment used in the Interdisciplinary Studies Major can be older than five years at the intended time of graduation. A 3.00 grade point average is required for completion of the graduate Interdisciplinary Studies Major. If a student has not satisfied the University Writing Skills requirement, admission is in "Conditionally Classified" status until the requirement is satisfied. For information on meeting the University Writing Skills Requirement, see the Testing Office website at www.csueastbay.edu/testing or call 510.885.3661.
A student is Advanced to Candidacy if, after completion of half the program, a 3.0 GPA is attained by a "Classified Graduate." Failure to achieve Candidacy will void the Interdisciplinary Studies Major contract. The student must comply with the standard master's degree requirements for all students listed in the Admission/Graduate chapter in this catalog.
A student who contemplates developing an Interdisciplinary Studies Major must have an overall undergraduate and postbaccalaureate grade point average of at least 3.0 ("B," Adequate). Forethought and planning will need to precede any formal action. You may make an appointment to discuss all the necessary steps for getting your Interdisciplinary Studies major approved by emailing the Interdisciplinary Studies Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The prospective Interdisciplinary Studies Major student must prepare a one-page prospectus of at least 200 words describing the theme or central academic focus of the proposed program (including the departments to be involved), the reasons why the objective cannot be fulfilled through a regular master's degree program, the academic and experiential background the student will bring to the program, the occupational goals of the student in relation to the proposal, the approximate time frame for completion of the degree, and other pertinent information. A sample prospectus for a hypothetical Interdisciplinary Studies Major will be given to the student by the Interdisciplinary Studies Coordinator when they meet at the information appointment, which starts the process towards an approved Interdisciplinary Studies major. The student must also contact three faculty advisors in the involved departments, secure their support, and nominate them as his/her Interdisciplinary Studies Major committee. (One of these faculty members should be designated as chair of the committee.)
The prospectus and the names of the sponsoring department chair and three faculty advisors (and their departments) must be submitted to the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator in the Office of Academic Programs and Graduate Studies before the student has fewer than 32-39 units to complete in the master's degree. (A maximum of 13 non-resident units is allowed.)
If the proposal is found academically sound and logistically feasible by the Associate Vice President of Academic Programs and Graduate Studies, the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator will forward copies of it to the proposed faculty committee members along with an explanation of the Interdisciplinary Studies Major policies and procedures, copies of the student's transcripts, and a form for development and approval of the specific program of courses.
The three-person committee and the student must meet at a mutually acceptable time to design the program (i.e., to prepare the list of required and elective courses and to determine the appropriate culminating experience). When this is done, the form is completed, signatures of approval are affixed, and it is returned to the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator by the committee chair.
The Associate Vice President will review the proposal and, if it satisfies university requirements, the coordinator will send a copy to the dean of each college in which the student will be taking courses. The Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies will also designate the college from which the student is to graduate. The college deans will have ten working days (two weeks) to enter any objections. If none is received, the Associate Vice President will act on the proposal. If an objection is received, the Associate Vice President will hold the proposal pending resolution by the college dean, committee, and the student.
When the proposal is approved, the student must have at least 32-39 quarter units to complete for the degree. (Units in the quarter in progress can only be counted if the Add deadline has not been passed.) When the proposed program has been approved by the Associate Vice President, a final copy will be typed in the Office of Academic Programs and Graduate Studies, the student and the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator will sign it, and copies will be distributed. The student will receive a copy of his/her approved Interdisciplinary Studies Major program at this time.
If any alterations of the approved program are necessary, the student calls the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator in the Office of Academic Programs and Graduate Studies to initiate a "Change in Interdisciplinary Studies Major Requirements" form with the chair of his/her faculty advisory committee. A petition must be approved by the advisor (committee chair), the dean of the college from which the student will graduate, and the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator. Upon completion of 23 units with a 3.00 GPA and satisfaction of the University Writing Skills Requirement, a "Classified Graduate" student should request the committee chair to submit a "Change in Graduate Status" form to the Registrar's Office.
The Interdisciplinary Studies Major student will file for graduation during the first two weeks of the quarter immediately preceding the final quarter before graduation. The graduation check for the Interdisciplinary Studies Major is performed in the Graduation Evaluations section of the Planning, Enrollment Management, and Student Affairs Office.
A student who is writing a University Thesis should be aware of the thesis requirements and deadlines published in the Catalog and in the University Thesis Writing Guide (www.csueastbay.edu/thesiswritingguide). The University Thesis must be submitted to the Thesis Office in Academic Programs and Graduate Studies no later than three weeks before the end of the last quarter. In addition to the mandatory university copy and any personal copies, the student must order at least one bound copy of the thesis for the chair of his/her committee.
A program leading to the award of a Special Certificate must consist of at least 20 quarter units of upper division and/or graduate courses. A minimum grade point average of 2.00 is required for all the courses comprising the Special Certificate program. The program must provide a logical and coherent pattern of preparation for a limited objective. The title of the proposed certificate should be brief (three to five words) and must carry no connotation of meeting a licensing requirement for professional practice.
The following procedure applies to Special Certificate programs consisting largely of postbaccalaureate and/or graduate courses:
The student develops a proposed program with the advice and approval of a faculty member knowledgeable in the field of study. The completed "Undergraduate/Graduate Special Certificate Proposal" (found at Certificate Information Sheet), with advisor and student approval, is forwarded by the advisor to the dean of the college in which the preponderance of courses will be taken. If the dean approves, s(he) signs and sends the proposal to the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator in the Office of Academic Programs and Graduate Studies. The coordinator then sends a copy of the proposal to each of the other three college deans.
The deans have ten working days to enter an objection. If none is received and the Associate Vice President of Academic Programs and Graduate Studies judges the proposal to be sound, the program will be approved. If any college dean objects, s(he) must file written objections with the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator within the ten days. These will be considered by the Associate Vice President in deciding whether or not to approve the program.
The student is notified in writing by the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator as to the final action on his/her proposal. A copy of an approved program is filed in the student's on-line file and in the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator's office. Upon completion of the Special Certificate program, the student applies to the Registrar's Office and pays the required fee to receive the certificate.