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Interdisciplinary Studies

Department Office
Physical Education 25
707 664-3918
ellen.carlton@sonoma.edu

Coordinator
Ellen Carlton

Bachelor of Arts or Science in the Special Major / M.A. or M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies/Individual Course Descriptions

Programs offered
Bachelor of Arts in the Special Major
Bachelor of Science in the Special Major
Special Minor in Interdisciplinary Studies
Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies
Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies


Students interested in designing an interdisciplinary program can pursue a bachelor?s degree in the special major and a master?s degree in interdisciplinary studies. The undergraduate special major and the graduate major in interdisciplinary studies are designed for students whose particular interests, backgrounds, or professional objectives are not served by a traditional degree program. The purpose of these majors is to provide a carefully controlled opportunity for qualified students to design, with faculty approval, a flexible interdisciplinary course of study that leads to a bachelor?s or master?s degree. Admission is limited to those whose individualized programs can be organized around a special topic or a cross-disciplinary inquiry that is original and involves work in more than one department. Interested students should contact the coordinator of interdisciplinary studies (ITDS), who initiates the application and screening process.

The special and interdisciplinary studies majors are not intended to bypass normal graduation requirements and may not be used to duplicate formally structured programs at Sonoma State University or other service-area institutions. The reason for this restriction is that these programs should be reserved for students whose special interests cross disciplinary lines and who find appropriate faculty expertise here.

Application requirements for all programs


1. All students must apply for admission to the special major or the major in interdisciplinary studies. Before developing a program proposal, the student must consult with the interdisciplinary studies coordinator, who will initiate the application and screening process and will help identify faculty advisors to serve as an academic advisory committee.
2. There must be at least two faculty members for the special major and three faculty members for the major in interdisciplinary studies who agree to constitute the advisory committee and act as advisors for each student?s program of study. It is the student?s responsibility to contact these advisors to plan with them a coherent, original, and feasible course of study. One committee member must agree to be the committee?s chair and to be the student?s principal advisor on matters related to the major course of study and all other graduation requirements.
3. In consultation with the ITDS coordinator and the academic advisory committee, each student must complete a program proposal and submit it in duplicate to the ITDS coordinator by an application deadline. There are three proposal deadlines each semester.
4. Filing a proposal application with the ITDS coordinator does not ensure acceptance in the special major or interdisciplinary studies program. Each proposal must be evaluated by the ITDS committee. The committee may recommend approval or conditional approval of the application, may request that the application be reworked and resubmitted, or may reject the application. Approved programs must then be approved by the associate vice president of academic programs. If the application is approved at both levels of review, the student may register as a special major or as a major in interdisciplinary studies.

Bachelor of Arts or Science in the Special Major

Degree Requirements units
General education 51
Major requirements (Core and Supporting) 45
General electives 24
Total units needed for graduation 120

Requirements for the Special Major

A 3.00 grade point average is a prerequisite to application. The special major is a unique major that suits individual goals and is personally valuable, but may pose professional obstacles. Career goals and prerequisites for higher degrees should be reviewed before proceeding with this major.

The special major consists of 45 units of coursework in two or more disciplines; 24-26 upper-division units constitute the core courses, while the remaining units may include lower-division courses.

To be considered for the special major, the student must have more than one full year (31 units or more) of course work in the major still to be completed after approval by the ITDS committee and the filing of the Change of Major form. Work in progress during the semester of the proposal?s approval will count toward the 31 units.

Contact the ITDS coordinator for the detailed guidelines and the application form for the special major. At the time you apply for a special major, you should have completed at least half of your GE requirements and should be in your junior year.

Special Minor in Interdisciplinary Studies

The special minor has the following features and requirements:
1. The minor consists of 21-24 units of course work from two or more departments.
2. Two-thirds of these units must be in upper-division course work.
3. Two-thirds of the minor must remain to be completed at the time the minor is approved. Work in progress during the semester of the minor?s approval counts toward the two-thirds requirement.
4. The student must have a minimum GPA of 3.00 in order to apply.
5. A student will not be considered for a special minor before the student?s junior year.
6. A special minor must have the same coherence and academic integrity as are demanded of a special major and is subject to the same application process.

Contact the ITDS coordinator for the detailed guidelines and the application form for the special minor.

Master of Arts or Science in Interdisciplinary Studies

Degree Requirements units
Major requirements 30-32
Total units needed for graduation 30-32

Requirements for the M.A. or M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies

I. Prerequisites to Application
  • Admission to the university in conditionally classified graduate status.
  • A grade point average of at least 3.00 for the last 60 units of college work attempted.
II. Prerequisite to Acceptance
  • Passage of the Written English Proficiency Test (WEPT). Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Aptitude Test scores are not required, but may be submitted in support of the application.

    The candidate for this degree must comply with the normal regulations governing graduate study at Sonoma State as described in this catalog.

    III. Course Requirements
    General course and unit requirements:

    • The major in interdisciplinary studies consists of a minimum of 30 units to a maximum of 32 units in two or more disciplines.
    • At least 20 units must be graded (A-F); the remainder (up to one-third of the total number of units of the major) may be taken in a nontraditional grading mode. (In order to receive a Credit (Cr) grade in a graduate level class, the student must earn the equivalent of B- or better.)
    • The student must have at least 15 units of the major still to be completed after approval of the proposal by the Vice President of Academic Programs. Units completed during the semester of the proposal?s approval count toward these 15 units.
    • At least 21 semester units shall be completed in residence.
    • At least 15 of the 21 in-residence units shall be in graduate (500-level) courses. The remaining units may be in 300- or 400-level courses.

    Contact the ITDS coordinator for the detailed guidelines and the application form for the master?s degree in interdisciplinary studies.

    Interdisciplinary Studies Courses (ITDS)

    Classes are offered in the semesters indicated. Please see the Schedule of Classes for most current information and faculty teaching assignments.

    200 California Cultural Analysis (3)

    Within the context of readings related to California history and culture and their role in shaping contemporary California life, students practice the techniques of expository writing, oral expression, and reading and thinking critically. Satisfies GE Category A1. Prerequisites: completion of GE Categories A2 and A3.

    280 Introduction to California Culture Studies (3) Fall

    Introduction to California culture studies and its multi-ethnic, interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary perspectives, tasks, and methods. Course includes the study of a variety of California regionalisms and a range of topics from California geology to California philosophy and art. Students do fieldwork and take field trips to sites of historical and cultural interest (Jack London Park, Angel Island, Fort Ross, San Francisco Mission District, State Capitol, Steinbeck County). Fulfills GE requirement in C4.

    297 Selected Topics (1-4)

    Exploration of basic human problems. Resource persons from various disciplines will participate. Please see the Schedule of Classes for areas to be emphasized. May be repeated for credit.

    300 California Cultural Studies Faculty Forum (1-3) Fall

    California cultural studies faculty, students, and guests present topics for discussion on on-going research and study. Cr/NC may be repeated for credit up to 3 units. Prerequisite: major or minor in California cultural studies program, upper-division standing in programs affiliated with California cultural studies, or permission of the California cultural studies director.

    301 Lecture Series (1-3) / Spring

    A public lecture series on topics of general interest. Two units requires regular attendance and a final paper. Students who take three units additionally meet once a week in discussion groups and do further reading of selected texts.

    302 Topics and Themes in California Cultural Studies (3)

    Course includes California Regionalism, San Francisco, Representing Los Angeles, California and the Environmental Imagination.

    345 Directed Reading and Writing Tutorials (1-4)

    Directed studies of California themes and topics within the context of small group tutorials. Students develop individual reading projects and complete a capstone project or thesis. Prerequisites: major or minor status, participation in California cultural studies? integrated GE program, or consent of California cultural studies coordinator. Note: ITDS 345 may be taken for 1-2 units as part of the integrated GE program.

    395 Community Involvement Program (1-3) Fall, Spring

    An experience involving the application of methods and theories to community service work. Requirements: approval of a relevant project, a minimum of thirty (30) hours per unit of credit in the actual working situation, regular consultation with a faculty sponsor, and a paper. Prerequisite major or minor standing and permission of program director.

    397 Selected Topics (1-4)

    Exploration of basic human problems. Resource persons from various disciplines will participate. Please see the Schedule of Classes for areas to be emphasized. May be repeated for credit.

    444 Theory and Research Methods (4) Spring, alternate years

    Introduction to theory, method, and research strategies associated with regional cultural studies across a range of disciplines. Students engage in fieldwork and institutional projects (preservation, restoration, cultural resource development, collection, analysis and description of cultural artifacts, and historical preservation).

    486 Internship in California Cultural Studies (1-4)

    Students apply California cultural studies theory and practice as interns with public and private agencies, corporations, and institutions. Internships require the approval of California cultural studies faculty sponsor and director; a minimum of 45 hours of work per unit per semester. Includes regular consultation and evaluation by the faculty sponsor. Cr/NC only. May be repeated for credit.

    495 Special Studies (1-4)

    Prerequisite: approved status as a special major or major in interdisciplinary studies.

    496 Senior Project in California Cultural Studies (1-3) Fall, Spring

    Directed studies in seminar and tutorial settings on topics selected by individual students. Combines secondary reading and original research leading to the completion of a capstone research thesis or project. Project is graded by supervising CCS faculty and is presented at the Faculty Forum.

    497 Selected Topics (1-4)

    Exploration of basic human issues. Resource persons from various disciplines will participate. Please see the Schedule of Classes for areas to be emphasized. May be repeated for credit.

    498 Internship (1-4)

    An internship is a supervised program of work and study in a governmental, community service, technical, business, or educational setting. ITDS 498 (or 598) is designed for students in the Special Major/Interdisciplinary Studies program or in one of the faculty initiated special majors. Forty-five hours of on-the-job work are required for each unit of credit. For grade or Cr/NC, as determined by the student?s program.

    499 Senior Paper or Project (3)

    A senior paper or project to be prepared under the supervision of the student?s faculty committee. The senior paper or project should present the synthesis of the student?s interdisciplinary program of study. The paper or project will be graded by the student?s faculty committee and will be presented orally to the ITDS Committee at the completion of the student?s senior year.

    Graduate Courses

    578 Project Continuation (1-3) / Fall, Spring

    Designed for students working on their thesis or master?s project but who have otherwise completed all graduate coursework toward their degree. This course cannot be applied toward the minimum number of units needed for completion of the master?s degree. Prerequisite: permission of the graduate coordinator. Cr/NC only.

    595 Special Studies (1-4)

    Prerequisite: approved status as a classified major in interdisciplinary studies.

    598 Internship (1-4)

    An internship is a supervised program of work and study in a governmental, community service, technical, business, or educational setting. ITDS 598 (or 498) is designed for students in the Special Major/Interdisciplinary Studies program or in one of the faculty initiated special majors. Forty-five hours of on-the-job work are required for each unit of credit. For grade or Cr/NC, as determined by the student's program.

    599A Final Project and Interdisciplinary Research (2-4)

    599B Final Project and Interdisciplinary Research (2-4)

    599A/B must be taken sequentially and for a total of 6 units. Prerequisite: approval of Advancement to Candidacy form.


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