Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies
Requirements (48 units)
Program Code: INTD
Occasionally a student wishes to pursue special interests or career goals that are not met by existing graduate programs. For this student, the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies offers the opportunity to create a unique master's degree program or one that is not otherwise substantially available in a current graduate program offered at this university.
This individualized master's degree is designed to be a highly challenging academic program for the self-motivated student who has a clear perception of objectives and a background which will allow advanced study in the disciplines combined in the program. The Interdisciplinary Studies M.A. is designed to accommodate unique student interests or to prepare students for fields which require programs not presently offered at the university. It is not a replacement of existing degree programs but an enrichment of the university's offerings. This program is designed by the student in consultation with the Dean of Graduate Studies and three faculty members. The three faculty members, who comprise the student's faculty committee, are selected from more than one academic discipline. Once the program is approved by the committee, it is then submitted to the University Curriculum Committee for its approval.
Application Process: The procedures listed below are for the individualized M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies. Students interested in the Integrative Studies Track or the E-Marketing Communication and New Media Option should contact the program coordinators.
- Determine the feasibility of pursuing an Interdisciplinary Studies M.A. by reviewing the requirements and examining available CSUSB master's programs to see if the proposed degree could be met through any of these. Explore the resources of the campus needed for an Interdisciplinary Studies M.A. in terms of course offerings, library resources, facilities, and faculty expertise;
- Prepare a written proposal eight pages in length to include the following:
- Identify by title the proposed interdisciplinary program of study (i.e., Interdisciplinary Studies Master's Degree in [50-space limit]);
- Describe the purpose or focus of this specially designed degree program;
- Explain why this course of study cannot be pursued within one department with electives from other departments;
- Explain how this program relates to the student's educational and career goals;
- Indicate student's background, both academic and experiential, for undertaking this study;
- List the CSUSB courses appropriate to meeting goals;
- Submit the proposal to the Office of Graduate Studies for review and approval. If the draft proposal is found promising, and University facilities can support the proposed program of study, the Dean of Graduate Studies will schedule an appointment to discuss the project and provide the forms and guidelines necessary to proceed with formal application to the program as outlined in item 4 below;
- To complete the formal application for acceptance to an Interdisciplinary Studies Master's program the student must:
- Secure the agreement of faculty in the disciplines related to the proposed special program to serve as members of the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Committee. This committee must consist of no less than three tenured/tenure-track, full-time faculty members at CSUSB;
- Convene a meeting of the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Committee. At this meeting the committee will: review student's documents (i.e., CSUSB transcripts, Statement of Purpose, etc.); identify the appropriate preparatory course work, completed or to be completed; and formulate with the student an academically sound program of graduate study related to their Statement of Purpose; and develop the Approved Study Plan for the Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies;
- On the form provided, list the five upper-division prerequisite courses, each with a grade of "B" (3.0) or better, in the major discipline of the proposed program. The determination of the major discipline is subject to the approval of the University Curriculum Committee;
- On the Approved Study Plan form list the minimum of 48 units of course work, 70% of which must consist of 500- or 600-level courses, to be included in the Interdisciplinary Studies M.A. As an interdisciplinary program, these courses should include work from two or more departments. To avoid later difficulties with key courses that are not offered prior to graduation, reasonable substitutions should be listed where possible;
- Secure signatures on the application from the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Committee. The Interdisciplinary Studies M.A. proposal must be signed by three faculty members who have worked with the student in developing the proposed course of study. The faculty member who will chair the advisory committee must write a statement of support which includes a brief evaluation of the proposal;
- Submit the completed proposal for the Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The Office of Graduate Studies will attach a copy of current CSUSB transcripts. These materials constitute the Application for a Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and will be forwarded to the University Curriculum Committee for consideration. The committee meets regularly throughout the academic year and applications can be submitted at any time, though every effort should be made to turn in the proposal early enough in the term to receive approval prior to registration for the next term. Applications cannot be considered during the summer quarter.
The application materials should be filled out with great care and accuracy. Hastily done or carelessly prepared proposals are unlikely to convince the Curriculum Committee of the seriousness of the proposal. The signature of the Chair of the University Curriculum Committee on the application for the Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies signals acceptance of an applicant to the program. Subsequent modification of an Approved Study Plan requires approval of the student's Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies on an official Change of Study form.
No more than eight units of proposed course work can be completed prior to submission of the proposal to the University Curriculum Committee;
- The Dean of Graduate Studies will notify the student in writing of the decision of the University Curriculum Committee. This may be approval or request for resubmission;
- Any change or substitution of courses in the approved program must be approved by the student's faculty committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies;
- Upon approval of the Interdisciplinary Studies M.A. proposal, the student may formally declare an Interdisciplinary Studies M.A. At graduation, the diploma will show only an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, unless the student requests in writing the inclusion of the focus of the interdisciplinary study in this fashion: Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in (subject area). The transcript will reflect both the degree title and the focus of study.
Admission to the Program
In addition to the general requirements of the university, specific requirements for admission to classified graduate status are:
- A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.5 overall and at least 3.0 ("B") in the major;
- Completion of the graduate entrance writing requirement;
- Prerequisite of at least five upper-division courses, each with a grade of "B" (3.0) or better, in the major discipline of the proposed program. The determination of the major discipline is subject to the approval of the University Curriculum Committee;
- A three-member faculty committee, the chair of which serves as primary advisor, to supervise the course of study;
- An interdisciplinary studies M.A. proposal submitted, on forms available from the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies, to the University Curriculum Committee; the program of courses must not significantly duplicate any existing degree program on this campus or on any other state college or university campus within a commutable distance; no more than 12 units of proposed coursework can be taken prior to submission of the proposal to the University Curriculum Committee;
- Approval of the program proposal by the University Curriculum Committee.
If approval is recommended by the University Curriculum Committee, the student is formally admitted into the program in either conditionally classified or classified status.
Requirements for Graduation
- The program of study should be interdisciplinary, including course work from two or more departments represented at the university;
- The program of study must include a minimum of 48 quarter units of course work, at least 70% of all course work taken must be in 500- or 600-level courses;
- The program of study must not include more than eight units of independent study course work, excluding the units allowed for thesis or project;
- The program must include a synthesizing experience (comprehensive examination, project or thesis). This experience will satisfy the graduation writing requirement. The project or thesis may include an oral defense. Students may register for no more than nine units of thesis or project credit. The project or thesis may include an oral defense;
- The program of study must include a course in research methods in the major discipline;
- A grade point average of 3.0 ("B") must be earned in course work taken to satisfy the Master of Arts degree requirements and grades of "C" (2.0) or better in all courses in the program. Grades of "C-" (1.7) or less cannot be used toward the degree;
- When students have completed between 12 and 20 units of course work on an approved study plan, it will be necessary for them to submit a formal letter to the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies requesting advancement to candidacy;
- Any additional general requirements not cited above and listed in Graduate Degree and Program Requirements.