Jul 18, 2024  
2021-2022 Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Interdisciplinary Studies, BS

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The Office of Undergraduate Education  sponsors undergraduate degrees as a Interdisciplinary Studies, BS (formerly Special Major, pending final approval from the CSU Office of the Chancellor). The major is designed for situations in which an existing SJSU undergraduate degree major does not adequately accommodate academic professional aims. Students who complete a Interdisciplinary Studies major shall be able to demonstrate the characteristics of “intentional learners” who can adapt to new environments, integrate knowledge from different sources, and continue learning throughout their life.

The Interdisciplinary Studies major is an individually designed, interdisciplinary course of study leading to a BS that gives a student who has a specific educational objective the opportunity to accomplish that goal. It is not to be used to bypass normal graduation requirements or projected programs of the University, nor to substitute for a major in which a student is having academic difficulty.

Program Learning Outcomes

The proposed course of study must be a coherent program organized around an academic theme. Students who complete the Interdisciplinary Studies major shall be able to demonstrate: “the ability to analyze an issue or problem, integrating at least two disciplinary perspectives.” In addition, students identify two or more student learning outcomes related to their specific areas of study in consultation with a major faculty advisor. They demonstrate their attainment of the learning outcomes through a portfolio or senior project completed in a capstone course.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must have both a cumulative and SJSU GPA of at least 2.75, sixty units earned (upper division standing), and at least one year of academic work still to be completed to meet minimum degree requirements. Interdisciplinary Studies majors are considered on a case-by-case basis. Approval is based on the academic merit of the proposed course of study, the applicant’s proposed rationale and potential for successful completion of the program, and the ability of the university to support the proposed program. Students apply for consideration for the Interdisciplinary Studies major through the Office of Undergraduate Education .

University Requirements

Students must satisfy all of the major and Undergraduate University Graduation Requirements , which includes unit, GPA, and residency requirements as well as the below identified General Education , American Institutions, Graduation Writing Assessment and Physical Education requirements. Courses that meet Undergraduate University Graduation Requirements are noted with an area designation (see Course Abbreviations ).

Core Lower Division General Education (39 units)

Courses that meet GE Areas A1, A2, A3 or B4 must be passed with a “C-” or better to meet the requirement. Consult with major advisor for details.

Upper Division General Education (9 units)

American Institutions (6 units)

Complete one 6 unit sequence of American Institutions (US123) courses, which also satisfies GE Area D. Students may also satisfy the American Institutions Requirement  with other courses, but these may not satisfy other GE areas.

The American Studies (AMS 1A /AMS 1B ; 12 units) and Humanities Honors (HUM 1A /HUM 1B /HUM 2A /HUM 2B ; 24 units) sequences satisfy the American Institutions Requirement and additional GE Areas (see the course description for details).

Consult with a major advisor to select the appropriate sequence.

Physical Education (2 units)

All SJSU undergraduate students, regardless of major, have an opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills in physical activities. To accommodate students’ needs and interests, the university offers a diverse selection of activity courses 

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (3 units)

At SJSU, students must pass both the SJSU Writing Skills Test (WST) and a 100W course. Exceptions to the GWAR may be found in the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)  section. A grade of C or better (C- not accepted) is required to meet graduation requirement.

Major Requirements (40 units minimum)

  1. Students must formally request admission to a Interdisciplinary Studies major program through the Office of Undergraduate Education .
  2. The student must cite academic and professional objectives and describe the nature of the proposed major. The student must have at least one year of academic work still to be completed to meet the minimum degree requirements.
  3. Courses used to meet General Education Requirements  may not be applied to the major, nor may any courses in the major field be used for GE.
  4. Students must self-identify any disabilities for which reasonable accommodations are necessary to complete the proposed degree program
  5. The student must have both cumulative and an SJSU GPA of at least 2.75.


Before, during, and after the initial consultation with the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education , student must complete the following:

  1. A written reflective statement that includes:
    1. description of the proposed major;
    2. discussion of why existing majors are not suitable;
    3. a reflection on what it means to the student to be an “educated person” and how this major will help the student to become one;
    4. description of any disabilities that may require accommodations (if applicable);
    5. academic, professional, and personal objectives; and,
    6. how does your Interdisciplinary Studies major help you to meet your academic, professional, and personal objectives?
  2. A major course of study plan that includes:
    1. 40-45 total units in the major;
    2. 24 units in residence at SJSU; and,
    3. 30-40 units in upper division.
  3. Student must meet witth department advisor(s) and have a suggested major advisor (Undergraduate Education  does not assign advisors, students pick major advisor).
    1. Completion of the major course of study plan in consultation with the suggested major advisor and other departments involved in the program;
    2. Preparation of the Interdisciplinary Studies major worksheet and evaluation of General Education and graduation requirements in consultation with the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education . Approval of Interdisciplinary Studies Major Worksheet; and,
    3. Approval of modifications in Course of Study by Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education .
  4. If Interdisciplinary Studies major is approved, students must complete the following:
    1. A Change of Major Form;
    2. Major Form (will be completed between the student, department advisor(s), and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education );
    3. Application for Graduation ;
    4. Forms must be completed and submitted at least 1 year prior to graduation.

      Diploma and transcript will contain the title (Interdisciplinary Studies) followed by the exact title of the major listed in the Major Form.

University Electives (27 units)

Total Units Required (120 units)

Sample of Approved Interdisciplinary Studies Majors

  • Adult Development and Aging - Health Science and Psychology and/or Social Work
  • Biodiversity and the Environment - Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies
  • Community Leadership - Two or three of the following: Sociology, Political Science, Urban & Regional Planning
  • Comparative Racial and Ethnic Studies - Interdisciplinary Social Science and an ethnic studies area like Mexican American Studies, Asian American Studies, African American Studies, or Jewish Studies
  • Diversity in the Arts - Design Studies or Art History plus Anthropology and/or an ethnic studies area
  • Education, Learning, and Society - Education, Psychology, and Interdisciplinary Social Science
  • Environmental Health - Health Science and Biological Sciences
  • Family Studies - Child and Adolescent Development and Sociology and/or Psychology
  • Financial Education - Business, Economics, and Sociology or Interdisciplinary Social Science
  • Game Development - Computer Science, Math, and Art
  • Global Leadership - Business plus one or two related areas such as Global Studies, World Languages and Literatures, Anthropology, or Interdisciplinary Social Science
  • Green Technology - Environmental Studies and Technology
  • Human Services - Social Work and Psychology and/or Sociology
  • Intercultural Communication - Communication Studies plus World Languages and Literatures and/or Anthropology
  • Law and Society - Justice Studies and Sociology
  • Management in various areas - Business plus a substantive area such as Art, Kinesiology, Health, Environmental Studies, or Political Science
  • Media Studies - Journalism and Mass Communications plus Television, Radio, Film & Theatre and/or Communication Studies
  • Musical Theatre - Music, Dance, Theatre
  • Neuroscience - Biological Sciences and Psychology
  • Peace Studies - History, Communication Studies, and Sociology
  • Public Health - Health Science and Psychology and/or Sociology
  • Sustainability - General Engineering plus Environmental Studies and/or Biological Sciences
  • Technical Writing - English plus a science or technology area such as Computer Science, General Engineering, Biological Science, or Technology
  • Values in Society - Philosophy plus a values-laden substantive area such as Justice Studies, Economics, Comparative Religions, Women’s Studies, or an ethnic studies area

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