BA Interdisciplinary Studies

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Program Learning Objectives

  1. Identify and think critically about the assumptions, strategies, and potential biases underlying discipline-based and interdisciplinary inquiries.
  2. Conduct interdisciplinary research and/or engage in creative activities that incorporate and
    synthesize information, theory, and methodological approaches from more than one discipline in a culturally-competent way.
  3. Apply interdisciplinary approaches to understand, contextualize, and propose solutions to
    complex issues or problems, especially those relating to students’ emphasis areas.
  4. Communicate effectively both in writing and orally.
  5. Collaborate productively in pluralistic settings and with people of diverse experiences,
    identities, and worldviews.
  6. Make reasoned, ethical, and socially responsible decisions.
  7. Engage in self-motivated and self-directed learning, in order to become life-long learners.
  8. Employ the intellectual and practical skills necessary to create and engage with a more
    inclusive, just and equitable world.

Degree Requirements and Curriculum

In addition to the program requirements listed on this page, students must also satisfy requirements outlined in more detail in the Minimum Requirements for Graduation section of this catalog, including:

  • 60 units of upper division courses
  • Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR)
  • 2.0 GPA
  • U.S. Cultural Pluralism (USCP)

Note: No major courses may be taken as credit/no credit.

Select from the following:4
Race, Culture and Politics in the United States (D1) (USCP) 1
Introduction to Science, Technology & Society
Religion, Dialogue, and Society (D3) 1
Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies in the United States (D1) (USCP) 1
COMS 301Business and Professional Communication4
or ENGL 310 Corporate Communication
or ENGL 317 Technical Editing
Select from the following: 24
Modern Political Economy (D2)
International Political Economy (D2)
ISLA 201Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies4
ISLA 355Interdisciplinary Research Methods4
ISLA 440Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies Seminar4
ISLA 461Senior Project4
PHIL 335Social Ethics (C4) (USCP) 24
Select from the following:4
Statistical Reasoning (B1) 1
Introduction to Statistical Concepts and Methods (B1) 1
Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences (B1) 1
Statistical Methods for Engineers
Approved Electives in Emphasis Area
Select courses from the Emphasis Areas below. 1, 232
(See GE program requirements below.)64
Free Electives 148
Total units180

If GE courses are used to satisfy Major requirements, additional units of Free Electives may be required to complete the 180 total unit requirement.


Required in Major; also satisfies GE.

Emphasis Areas

Students select one of the following emphasis areas and choose electives from the courses in that area in consultation with their advisor. To ensure an interdisciplinary course of study, courses chosen should be from at least two different disciplines (as indicated by distinct course prefixes) and no more than half of them can have the same course prefix. Courses chosen also should not have been used to meet other major requirements.

Emphasis Areas
Arts and the Human Experience
Topics in Architectural History
Art History - American Art
Art History - Nineteenth Century Art
History of Photography
Art History - Art Since 1945
Asian Art Survey
Women as Subject and Object in Art History
Asian Art Topics: National, Religious, and Intellectual Movements
Topics in Renaissance Art
Group Performance of Literature
Internship: Communication Studies
Cultural Influence on Dance in America
Chicano/a Non-Fiction Literature
Hip-Hop, Poetics and Politics
African American Cultural Images
Native American Cultural Images
Asian American Cultural Images
Mexican American Cultural Images
Native American Architecture and Place
Cultural Production and Ethnicity
Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies Seminar
Music and Society
America's Music
Women in Music
Topics in Diversity on the American Stage
Theatre in the United States
300-level ENGL C4 courses except ENGL 386, ENGL 387, and ENGL 388
Ethics, Law and Justice
Sexuality and Gender in African American Communities
Critical Race Theory
The Social Construction of Whiteness
Indigenous Peoples and International Law and Policy
Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies Seminar
Mass Media Law
Copyright, Trademark, Patent and Commercial Speech in Digital Media
Political Philosophy
Philosophy of Law
Feminist Ethics, Gender, Sexuality and Society
American Constitutional Law
Constitutional Theory
Civil Rights in America
Civil Liberties
Feminist Legal Theory
Social Movements and Political Protest
International Organizations and Law
Voting Rights and Representation
Forensic Psychology
Religion and Contemporary Values
Crime and Violence
Criminology & Criminal Justice
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Women's and Gender Studies Internship
Global Studies
Intercultural Communication
Cities in a Global World
Gender, Race, Class, Nation in Global Engineering, Technology & International Development
Global Geography
Cultures of West Africa and the African Diaspora
East Asian Culture and Civilization
Middle East
Modern East Asia
Modern South and Southeast Asia
Modern Europe, 1914-Present
Modern Latin America
Modern Central America
Critical Issues in Latin American Studies
London: From Roman Colony to World Capital
Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies Seminar
Global Communication
Asian Philosophy
Comparative Political Culture
Global Political Issues
Authoritarian and Democratic Rule
Religions of Asia
Abrahamic Religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Religion and Politics in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Global Theatre and Performance
Women, Gender and Sexuality in Global Perspective
Humanities in World Cultures
Latin American Studies Internship
Any 300 or 400-level FR course
Any 300 or 400-level GER course
Any 300 or 400-level SPAN course
Health and Society
Human Behavioral Ecology
Sex, Death, and Human Nature
Culture and Health
Nutritional Anthropology
Human Genetics
Biology of Cancer
Genetic Engineering Technology
Health Communication
Gender, Race, Culture, Science and Technology
Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies Seminar
Biomedical Ethics
Spiritual Extremism: Asceticism, Mysticism, and Madness
Sociology of the Life Cycle
Sociology of Gender
Sexuality Studies
Feminist Theory
Women's and Gender Studies Internship
Any 300 or 400-level PSY courses except PSY 323 and PSY 333
Science, Technology and Society
Science Communication
Rhetorics of Science, Technology, and Medicine
Internship: Communication Studies
Gender, Race, Culture, Science and Technology
Gender, Race, Class, Nation in Global Engineering, Technology & International Development
The Scientific Revolution, c. 1500-1800
History of Network Technology
Science and Society in Cold War America
Values and Technology
Topics in Public Engagements with STEM
Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies Seminar
Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Technology
Ethics, Science and Technology
Robot Ethics
Technologies and Ethics of Warfare
Philosophy of Space, Time and Matter
Technology and Public Policy
Religion, Science and Technology
Social Sustainability
Energy for a Sustainable Society
Environmental Communication
Ethnicity and the Land
Geography of Resource Utilization
Human Impact on the Earth
Geography of International Development
Cal Poly Land: Nature, Technology, and Society
The Global Environment
Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies Seminar
Human Dimensions in Natural Resources Management
Social Dimensions of Sustainable Food and Fiber Systems
Environmental Ethics
Political Violence and Conflict Resolution
The Politics of Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality
Politics of Developing Areas
World Food Systems
Technology and International Development
The Politics of Poverty
Energy, Society and the Environment
Environmental Psychology
Conflict Resolution: Violent and Nonviolent
Social Work and Social Welfare Institutions
Social Movements
The World System and Its Problems
Global Race and Ethnic Relations
American Ethnic Minorities
Social Stratification
Social Change
Women's and Gender Studies Internship
Technology and Human Expression
Technology and Human Communication
Media Effects
Internship: Communication Studies
Cooperative Education Experience
Computers and Society
Computational Art
Information Design and Production
New Media Arts I
New Media Arts II
Advanced Topics in Technical and Professional Communication
Applications in GIS
Web and Print Publishing
History of Network Technology
Media Arts and Technologies: Storytelling
Media Arts and Technologies: Cinematic Process
Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies Seminar
Copyright, Trademark, Patent and Commercial Speech in Digital Media
Sound Design: Technologies
Sound Design: Recording
Language, Technology and Society

General Education (GE) Requirements

  • 72 units required, 8 of which are specified in Major and/or Support.
  • See the complete GE course listing.
  • Minimum of 12 units required at the 300 level.
Area ACommunication
A1Expository Writing4
A2Oral Communication4
A3Reasoning, Argumentation and Writing4
Area BScience and Mathematics
B1Mathematics/Statistics 18
B2Life Science4
B3Physical Science4
B4One lab taken with either a B2 or B3 course
B5Area B elective (select one course from B1-B5)4
Area CArts and Humanities
C3Fine/Performing Arts4
C4Upper-division elective (4 units in Major) 10
Area D/E Society and the Individual
D1The American Experience (Title 5, Section 40404 requirement) 14
D2Political Economy (4 units in Major) 20
D3Comparative Social Institutions 14
D4Self Development (CSU Area E)4
D5Upper-division elective4
Area FTechnology
FUpper-division elective4
Total units64

Requirement may be fulfilled if a student takes a GE course to fulfill a major requirement. If so, the student will need additional units of free electives to complete the total units required for the degree.


Required in Major; also satisfies GE.