Interdisciplinary Studies and Special Certificates
- Department Information
- Program Description
- Major Requirements (B.A./B.S.)
- Other Degree Requirements
- Special Certificate
Academic Programs and Graduate Studies
Student Services and Administration Building, 4th Floor
Phone: (510) 885-3716
Sally K. Murphy (Senior Director, Undergraduate Studies and General Education), Ph.D University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Susan B. Opp (Associate Vice President, Academic Programs and Graduate Studies), Ph.D. University of Massachusetts
Coordinator: Sally K. Murphy
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. An undergraduate Interdisciplinary Studies Major must be approved no later than the time when the student has 60 quarter units of work remaining to complete for the degree, including at least 40 units in the Interdisciplinary Studies Major. This is to ensure that a significant portion of the program is planned in advance by the student and his/her faculty advisors. 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. The following student learning outcome, however, is common for all undergraduate Interdisciplinary Studies Majors:
- an Interdisciplinary Studies Major student will be able to approach an issue or problem from at least two disciplinary perspectives.
The university offers both the B.A. and B.S. degrees with an Interdisciplinary Studies Major. There are no clearly defined differences between the two degrees, although B.S. degrees tend to be applied programs, while the B.A. is usually considered a liberal arts and social sciences degree. Normally, the type of degree awarded for an Interdisciplinary Studies Major reflects the degrees offered by the involved departments. To be eligible for an Interdisciplinary Studies Major, a student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.50. An Interdisciplinary Studies Major must be a coherent program organized around a sound academic theme. The title of an Interdisciplinary Studies Major should be short (three to five words) and should describe the central academic theme of the program, not the student's career objectives unless the two coincide.
An Interdisciplinary Studies Major must be fully approved before the student has fewer than 40 quarter units to complete the major and 60 for the degree. An Interdisciplinary Studies Major must contain at least 52 quarter units for the B.A. or 54 quarter units for the B.S. degree. The maximum number of quarter units for the Interdisciplinary Studies Major is 93 units for either the B.A. or the B.S., of which at least 36 are upper division (junior/senior level). Coursework in at least two different disciplines is required. The B.A. and B.S. degrees with an Interdisciplinary Studies Major require a total of at least 180 units.
Courses in the Interdisciplinary Studies Major are not applicable to the General Education-Breadth Requirements. (However, previously completed transfer evaluations will not be reevaluated). A student can take courses for G.E. purposes in departments involved in the major. However, any individual course used for G.E. cannot also be used in the major, except for courses which are exempt under the G.E. policy. (See the B.A./ B.S. Degree Requirements chapter.). Only one course from a department involved in the major can be applied to G.E.
A student who contemplates developing an Interdisciplinary Studies Major must have an overall and CSUEB grade point average of at least 2.50. 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 major, 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 major and 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 advisors should be designated as chair of the committee.)
The prospectus, including the names of the 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 40 units left to complete in the proposed major and 60 units in the degree.
If the proposal is found academically sound and logistically feasible by the Associate Vice President, the Academic Programs and Graduate Studies 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). 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 chair of the student's faculty committee. The Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator circulates the proposal to the deans of the involved colleges for commentary. After reviewing any comments, the Associate Vice President will act on the proposal. If it is approved, a final copy is prepared and the coordinator and the student sign it. When the student comes in to sign and receive a copy, a "Change of Major/Minor/Option" form must also be signed. The student will also be informed of the college from which he/she will graduate.
All students must also complete the general education-breadth and other graduation requirements for the baccalaureate degree. Normally, courses used for the Interdisciplinary Studies Major cannot be used for G.E., but transfer G.E. evaluations will not be redone. Check your catalog or see an advisor at the University Advisement Center for more information.
In addition to major requirements, every student must also complete the University requirements for graduation which are described in the Baccalaureate Degree Requirements chapter in the front of this catalog. These include the General Education-Breadth requirements; the second composition (ENGL 1002) requirement; the cultural groups/women requirement; the performing arts/activities requirement; the U.S. history, U.S. Constitution, and California state and local government requirement; the University Writing Skills Requirement; and the residence, unit, and grade point average requirements.
The purpose of a Special Certificate is to give the student an opportunity to design in advance, with university approval, a program that will be certified upon completion. To obtain an undergraduate Special Certificate, an undergraduate or graduate student must complete a program of at least 20 quarter-units in upper-division courses with a GPA of 2.00. The program must provide a logical and coherent pattern of preparation for a limited objective. The title of the proposed certificate should carry no connotation of meeting a licensing requirement for professional practice. The student's proposed program must be developed with, and approved by, a faculty member knowledgeable in the field being certified.
Note: To obtain a graduate Special Certificate, a graduate student must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and complete at least 20 quarter units, of which at least half must be at the graduate 6000-level, with a minimum GPA of 3.00. See the Interdisciplinary Studies Majors and Certificates chapter in the graduate section of this catalog for additional information.
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, he or she signs and sends the proposal to the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator in the Office of Academic Programs and Graduate Studies. The Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator then sends a copy of the proposal to each of the other three college deans. The deans have 10 working days to enter an objection. If none is received and the Associate Vice President, Academic Programs and Graduate Studies, judges the proposal to be sound, the program will be approved. If any college dean objects, he or she must file written objections with the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator within the 10 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 about the final action on his/her proposal. A copy of an approved program is filed in the student's online file and in the Interdisciplinary Studies Major Coordinator's office. Upon completion of the Special Certificate program, the student applies to the Registrar and pays the fee to receive the certificate.