The Interdisciplinary Studies Program is not a means of bypassing normal graduation requirements nor a means by which students may seek to graduate who have failed to gain admission to impacted programs nor to complete a degree major in which they are currently enrolled. Consequently, a candidate must apply for approval of an interdisciplinary Studies major when:
1. At least one full year of academic work (30 units) remains to be completed to meet minimum graduation requirements;
2. At least 2/3 of the upper-division (300-400) units in the proposed course of study remain to be completed at the time the application is submitted for approval; and
3. The cumulative GPA is 3.0 or better. A higher grade-point average may be required if the Primary department in the Interdisciplinary Studies program of study is impacted or requires a higher GPA for transfer students.
4. An Interdisciplinary Studies program must be justified by legitimate career, academic, and/or professional goals commensurate with the broader mission of the University in baccalaureate education. Interdisciplinary Studies majors are considered on a case-by-case basis. Approval is determined on the basis of the academic merit of the proposed course of study, the proposal rationale, the applicant’s potential for successful completion of the program, the potential application of the resulting degree, and the ability of the University to support the proposed program. It is the student’s responsibility to provide a clear written statement of the goals for his or her program of study, and the reasons these goals cannot be accomplished using an existing major, or combination of major and other available programs, and or concentrations of course work.
1. To prepare for the initial interview:
2. Meet with the department’s undergraduate advisor, or in the absence of a department undergraduate advisor meet with the department chair from each prospective department from which you propose courses to combine in the IS major. With the guidance of these individuals, create a tentative program of study, subject to the ISP Director's approval.
3. Draft a program of study with the assistance of the Undergraduate Advisors and/or Chairs of the various departments from which courses for your program of study will be used. Arrange a meeting with the Department Undergraduate Advisor and the Department Chair of each of the respective departments. With their guidance develop a list of courses (a program of study) that will constitute your Interdisciplinary Studies degree program. Obtain signatures of approval for the Program of Study from these respective Advisors/Chairs. Any subsequent changes must be made using the official Program Addendum forms.
4. Draft a three-to-four page proposal essay outlining the program of study you have created. State what you foresee will be the length of time you will need to complete your degree. Explain why no existing degree will assist you in terms of achieving your intended goals or propelling your future career.
5. Return your program of study along with your typed interdisciplinary studies proposal to the ISP Director. Completed programs must be signed by undergraduate advisors and chairs from all departments from which courses included in the Program of Study have been chosen. The ISP Director is the final signator on the Program of Study. Be advised that pending final approval of your interdisciplinary studies program, you should proceed with the course work for your previously declared major or with General Education and elective courses. You should delay taking courses that apply exclusively to your proposed Interdisciplinary Studies major until all signatures have been secured. Thus, in the event you are not accepted into the Interdisciplinary Studies program, you will not have impeded your academic progress.
The basic requirements and application procedures for the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies shall be the same as the Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. The Bachelor of Science is awarded when the Primary department typically issues a Bachelor of Science degree.
The Master of Arts or Master of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies permits students to earn an interdisciplinary master's degree when their special needs or interests cannot be met by an existing CSULB graduate degree program or a degree program at another CSU campus in the LA Basin. The Interdisciplinary Studies master's degree is not a degree divided between or among disciplines, but is a cohesive program of study, which integrates the methodologies, perspectives, and content of two or more disciplines. A master's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies must be justified by legitimate academic goals.
Acceptance of an applicant to an Interdisciplinary Studies master's program is based on such considerations as the academic merit and rationale of the proposed course of study, the applicant's potential for successful completion of a master's program, the potential application of the degree towards the applicant’s career and educational goals, and the ability of the University to support the proposed study with faculty, curricula, and facilities. Candidates should carefully assess goals before considering this degree. The degree program is administered by the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies serving as the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Director.
The minimum requirements for acceptance to the Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies Program (ISP), in addition to general University requirements for post-baccalaureate admission, are as follows:
Acceptance to the Program
Those students who meet all program and University prerequisites for graduate study and whose Interdisciplinary Studies master's programs have been approved by the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies (Graduate Dean) will be admitted as Classified graduate students in the Interdisciplinary Studies program.
Determine if you are eligible to apply to the Graduate ISP by consulting the ISP website: http://www.csulb.edu/divisions/aa/grad_undergrad/isp/. Make sure to keep a copy of all of your application materials for your own records. Application materials should be e-mailed to: Dr. Cecile Lindsay, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. If you believe you meet the basic eligibility requirements to apply to the Graduate ISP, contact the Director of the Graduate ISP at least two months prior to the application deadline of March 30 via e-mail at the address shown below to submit an ISP proposal. The proposal should be a 3-5 page Word document detailing the conceptual framework of the program of study you envision. The proposal must address your undergraduate preparation for such study, as well as future career and educational goals that the program of study is designed to achieve.
2. The director will review the proposal in consultation with appropriate faculty. If you receive approval to apply, you must complete the California State University, Long Beach application through CSU Mentor (www.csumentor.edu).
3. Apply to the Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies Program by submitting the following materials to the Director of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies Program:
Advancement to Candidacy
Advancement to candidacy is formally approved by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. Any modifications to the Student Program after advancement to candidacy require the approval of the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Committee and the Graduate Dean on an official Addendum to Program form to be obtained from the ISP website. Students must have advanced to candidacy at least one full semester prior to graduation, but should do as soon as possible.
The Interdisciplinary Studies Director will submit an Interdisciplinary Studies graduate student's program for advancement to candidacy when the following conditions apply:
Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree
Graduate programs may be composed of graduate level (500-600) and certain upper division (400) undergraduate level course work.
The unique nature of an interdisciplinary program of study may require more than the minimum number of course units in order to assure its academic integrity. Programs of Study in Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies frequently total 36 or more units; it is helpful to use the unit requirement of the primary department as a guide in determining an appropriate number of units for a proposed program.
The Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies Program of Study should consist of no less than 30 units of graduate (500-600) and upper division undergraduate (300- 400) course work, including the following requirements:
1. No less than 70% of course work shall be at the 500-600 level. These must be done in residence at CSULB. Extension 500-600 level courses are not acceptable as part of the Graduate ISP.
2. The largest number of graduate units (~70%) shall be completed within a primary department. The primary department will be the degree-issuing department.
3. No more than three units of independent study in addition to thesis in a minimum 30-unit program.
4. Successful completion of a Thesis or Comprehensive Exam. The selection of the Thesis or Comprehensive examination option will be made by the student in consultation with the graduate committee and Graduate Dean, if such an option is available in the primary department identified in the Graduate Student Program of Study. If no option is available, the student will comply with the culminating requirements of the primary department.
5. Students writing a thesis must enroll for thesis credit in their Primary department (the primary department identified in their Graduate Student Program of Study);
6. Students opting to write a thesis must identify a thesis committee by the beginning of their second full semester of graduate study, complete a thesis proposal form, and submit it to the Graduate Dean. The Thesis Committee must include a chair (from the primary department) and at least one representative faculty member from each of the disciplines included in the student’s Graduate Program of Study. A thesis committee shall contain no fewer than three members, at least two of which must be tenure-track CSULB faculty. The chair of the committee must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member.
7. All requirements of the degree program must be completed within seven years of the date when the program was initiated (i.e., no course on the program at the time of graduation may be more than seven years old).
Requirements for the Master of Science Degree
The basic requirements and application procedures for the Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies shall be the same as the Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. One distinction, however, is commonly a requirement by the programs that issue a Masters of Science degree that the culminating activity be a thesis. Students will follow the exit requirements of their primary department.