Guidelines for the Bachelor of Arts &

Bachelor of Sciences in the Special Minor

Description of the Special Minor and Guidelines

Application for BA/BS in the Special Minor

Checklist for Applcation for BA/BS in the Special Minor



The Special Minor in Interdisciplinary Studies is designed for undergraduate students whose particular interests, background, or professional objectives are not served by a minor in a single discipline. The purpose of this minor is to make available to students who satisfy the requirements for the program the opportunity to design, with faculty approval, a flexible interdisciplinary adjunct to their undergraduate curriculum. Admission to the Special Minor is limited to students 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 the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies (ITDS), who initiates the appli-cation and screening process. The Coordinator also helps each student identify a faculty advisor from each of two departments to serve as the student's academic advisory committee.





Applicants should have a grade point average of at least 3.0.

(See also Expectations of the ITDS Committee, p. 3, below)





In order to develop a Special Minor, you must takes the following steps:


Step 1. Consult with the ITDS Coordinator


Step 2. Form a committee of faculty advisors


Step 3. Complete an application, and


Step 4. Submit the application to the ITDS Coordinator by a specified deadline. The application will be evaluated by the ITDS Committee and the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs. If the application is approved, you may pursue your minor through to completion.





The regulations and procedures pertaining to the Special Minor are described in detail below. You should be thoroughly acquainted with these regulations and procedures and with the expectations of the persons who approve the minor. The minor consists of 20 units of course work in two or more disciplines. Keep in mind that your program of study must be truly interdisciplinary; it may not be an individually fashioned degree in any single existing discipline. Course work should consist, therefore, of an adequate and appropriate distribution of courses in the disciplines involved in your program.





1. Before developing an application, you must consult with the Coordinator of Inter-disciplinary Studies, who will initiate the application and screening process and will help you identify a faculty advisor from each of two departments to serve as your academic advisory committee.




2. There must be at least two faculty members, each from a different department or program in which you wish to take courses, who agree to constitute your academic advisory committee and act as advisors for your program of study. It is your responsibility to contact your academic advisors to plan with them a coherent original and feasible course of study.


3. CHAIR OF THE ACADEMIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE. One of the members of your com-mittee must agree to be the chair of your committee and to advise you on your course of study. It is strongly recommended that you and the chair of your prospective committee meet with the ITDS Coordinator to discuss your proposal before the completed application form and proposal are submitted.





4. In consultation with the ITDS Coordinator and your committee, you must complete an application. The requirements for the application appear below in these guidelines. When the application is completed, you must submit it in duplicate to the ITDS Coordinator by an application deadline.


5. THE STUDENT'S FILE. Upon receipt of your completed application by the ITDS Co-ordinator, a file is established in the Coordinator's office. The file will contain, in addition to the application, a copy of all documents, such as memos, petitions, and letters, that are related to your program.





6. APPLICATION DEADLINES. There are three deadlines each semester for filing an appli-cation for a Special Minor. The deadlines for each semester are posted outside the office of the ITDS Coordinator. You are urged to submit your application by the first or second deadline, so that if revision is required, the application can still be acted on during the semester in which you apply.


7. THE REVIEW PROCESS. Filing an application with the ITDS Coordinator does not assure acceptance of your Special Minor program. Each proposal must be reviewed by the ITDS Committee. After a program is reviewed, the Committee conveys its recommendation to the student through the ITDS Coordinator. 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. Applications approved by the Committee must then be approved by the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs. If the application is approved at both levels of review, you may pursue the minor through to its completion.


8. ATTENDING THE REVIEW. The chair of your faculty committee is invited to the ITDS Com-mittee meeting at which your application is reviewed. Information regarding the date, time and place of the ITDS Committee meetings can be obtained from the ITDS Office.






9. DECLARING YOUR MINOR. To receive administrative recognition of your minor, you must fill out a Major/Minor Requirements form for the minor, signed by the chair of your committee and the Coordinator of ITDS, and submit it at the time you apply for graduation.


10. DISTRIBUTION OF THE APPROVED PROGRAM. In addition to the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and the ITDS Coordinator, you and the chair of your Committee should have a copy of your approved program.


11. CHANGES IN THE MINOR. Once your proposal is approved, any changes in the curriculum must be approved by the ITDS Coordinator and your academic advisors. All changes should be made through a letter of explanation that is signed by your advisors and the ITDS Coordinator and is placed in your file in the ITDS Office. If the changes substantially alter the focus of your program, they must also be approved by the ITDS Committee.


12. ACADEMIC ADVISING. It is advisable that you consult with the chair of your Committee at the beginning of each semester until you complete your minor. The ITDS Coordinator is also available for advising.





In its consideration of your application for the Special Minor, the ITDS Committee will look for evidence of your ability to pursue a self-designed program to completion and of your alertness to your major and other graduation requirements. The Committee will look for such evidence, not only in your rationale, but in the following areas:


1. GPA. The GPA recommended for admission to the Special Minor is 3.0. If your GPA is slightly lower than 3.0, you should submit a letter of recommendation and other supporting material, such as mid-semester evaluations, to support your proposal.


2. GE. At the time you apply for a Special Minor, you should have completed at least half of your GE requirements.


3. TOTAL NUMBER OF UNITS COMPLETED TOWARD GRADUATION. Ideally, you should begin your Special Minor early enough in your university career that you can graduate without an excess of units, i.e., with more than the 124 units required for graduation. Although a high number of units completed&emdash;c. 90 units or more&emdash;at the time you apply will not disqualify you from the Special Minor, the inclusion into your proposal of courses already completed will be examined closely to insure the relevance of such courses to the focus of your Special Minor.


4. NUMBER OF UD UNITS IN YOUR PROPOSAL. At least 12 of the units in your minor should be in Upper Division courses.


5. UNIQUENESS OF YOUR MINOR. You must make clear in your proposal why you require a Special Minor, and why a minor in an existing discipline would not fulfill your academic goals.


THE IDEAL TIME TO BEGIN A SPECIAL MINOR. Given the factors discussed above, the ideal time for you to begin a Special Minor is your junior year. By your junior year, you will have had the opportunity to complete much of your GE, but will not have accumulated an excess of units toward graduation. You will also have had the opportunity to prove yourself aca-demically and to develop the study habits that will help you succeed with your Special Minor.





The Departments of Art, Communication Studies, Dance, Drama, and Music have a large number of courses devoted to the development of skills. These skills include painting, film-making, writing, directing, dancing, singing, playing an instrument, and many more. Although such skills are an im-portant part of a program in the creative arts, and although they are not to be excluded from the Special Minor, the focus of your program must be on ideas appropriate to the academic tradition; proposals that emphasize performance at the expense of intellectual content are not considered suitable for the Special Minor.




The Special Minor consists of 20 units of course work in two or more disciplines. At least 12 of these units should be in Upper Division courses.


In order to be considered for the Special Minor, you must have at least half of the course work in the minor still to be completed after approval by the ITDS Committee. Work in progress during the semester of the proposal's approval will count toward these units. The application proposal includes your acknowledgment of this requirement.


Your application consists of the information specified on the application form and described in items I-VI below. Items I-III appear in the application form itself; items IV-VI are to be submitted with the Application.


Information to be provided in the Application form:


I. Your name and the title of your minor (see the application cover sheet)


II. A list of the courses that constitute your minor


A. The courses must total 20 units.




1. You may not include courses that you apply to General Education requirements in your list of courses.


2. No professional courses in the Education Department, with exceptions specified by the Department, may be included in the program of study.


B. 15-16 units must be taken for a letter grade (i.e., A-F). No student-instructed courses may be included in the Core courses.


III. Your signature, the signature of the ITDS Coordinator and the names and signatures of the faculty advisors for your minor.


Information to be submitted with the Application:


IV. A written essay. A written essay must accompany the application form. This essay is the rationale for your program and is the most important part of your proposal. It is here that you demonstrate that the program you have developed is both interdisciplinary and of a content comparable to that of a discipline-based minor.


The members of your committee must work closely with you on the application by suggesting appropriate courses and by providing whatever help is needed in the writing of the rationale. It may be helpful to you and your committee to view the proposal as consisting of three components: the basic idea of the proposal, your goals and uses for the course of study, and the course list.


A. The basic idea: The proposal must have a focus that goes beyond that of a single disci-pline. It must be expressed in both the title of the minor and the rationale. In defining the basic idea of your course of study, you must show how the proposed topic is ap-propriate both as an interdisciplinary course of study and as an academic program. In the Special Minor, the necessity to integrate the disciplines from which you have selected courses is at the very heart of the program. As an academic program, a Special Minor should have substance and breadth comparable to those found in any established minor in a single subject in a Liberal Arts Institution.


B. Goals and uses. The rationale must contain a statement of your goals or objectives for the course of study, i.e., the knowledge and skills you seek from the courses you have proposed. You should also describe your uses for the proposed course of study. If you are undertaking this study to prepare for graduate work, you should state this clearly.


C. Courses. The courses you and your committee select for your Special Minor must support and be consistent with the focus of your proposal as described in the rationale and must make it possible for you to realize your stated goals.


D. The justification for a Special Minor at SSU. You should indicate the specific reasons why the proposed minor cannot be pursued through a traditional department or program at Sonoma State University.


V. Appropriate forms for all Special Studies and Internships included in the List of Courses. The description of each such course must include the name and signature of the faculty sponsor and a statement concerning the purpose, mode of study and method of evaluation of the special study or internship. (NB. Special Studies are limited to a maximum of 4 units per course; a student may have in all areas for graduation no more than 12 units of Special Studies; a student may not pursue in Special Studies a course that is listed in the catalog and that is normally offered within a two-year period.)


VI. Copies of transcripts of all college work completed. It is your responsibility to make available the transcripts, including those concerning SSU course work.



Rev. 5/97