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Academic Program Guide

Interdisciplinary Social Science

College: Social Sciences and Public Policy
Degree: BA or BS
Limited Access: No

Contact: Dr. Lisa Turner De Vera
Address: 211 Bellamy Building, Tallahassee, FL 32306
Phone: (850) 644-4418

Description of Major

**Please Note: Face-to-face/in-person instruction of this program is available ONLY at the main campus in Tallahassee, FL. However, it is available via Online/Distance Learning to all FSU students.*

The Interdisciplinary Program in Social Science is designed to provide an integrated social science perspective on social issues, public policy and public affairs. It is flexible so that students may pursue their own individual specialized and pre-professional interests. Special interdisciplinary concentrations in Inequalities and Society, Urban Studies, Public Policy, Public Service, Law and Society, Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, and Environmental Studies are offered.

Internet Supported Distance Learning
A bachelor’s degree program is available that enables students with an A.A. degree to earn an FSU degree without moving to Tallahassee. To be admitted, students are strongly encouraged to also have completed the University’s Oral Communication Competency requirement and the Digital Literacy requirement. Due to limited course availability, it is strongly suggested that students contact the distance learning advisor to review course planning options prior to admission. Instruction is delivered via the web. For more information, visit or contact the program advisor.

Prerequisite Coursework

Prerequisite Coursework:
XXX XXXX (6 hours) Two introductory courses in a social science discipline. (Examples: Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Public Administration, Sociology, and Urban and Regional Planning.)

Note: State-wide common prerequisites are always under review. For the most current information and for acceptable alternative courses, visit the “Common Prerequisites Manual.” This is available from the Student Services section of .

Requirements for Progression to the Upper-Division Major:
Students must complete at least 52 hours of credit with a minimum FSU GPA of 2.00 and most of the General Education requirements met, including freshman English composition and mathematics, or an A.A. Degree.

Internet Supported Distance Learning Prerequisites:
In addition to the two required introductory courses in a social science discipline (listed above), students interested in this version of the major, it is "Highly Recommended" that they have completed the University’s Oral Communication Competency requirement and the Digital Literacy requirement to be admitted.


Students must complete the required course, ISS4304: Contemporary Social Problems and Integrative Solutions with a grade of 'C' or higher. This course is applicable to any concentration area within the structure of the major.

Students must also complete ISS 3923: Interdisciplinary Forum with a satisfactory grade.

Interdisciplinary Social Science, General Option: (43 hours)
Students must have:
1. a primary concentration of 18 hours in one participating department
2. a secondary concentration of 12 hours in a second participating department, and
3. the remaining 12 hours distributed among any of the remaining participating departments that are not being used for the primary and secondary concentrations.

Alternatively, students may complete the requirements of special interdisciplinary concentrations in Inequality and Society, Law and Society*, Public Policy*, Public Service*, Urban Studies*, Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship* or Environmental Studies. For further details, speak with an advisor.

Specialized Concentration Areas*

*Specialized areas of study may be limited for distance learners. Consult with advisors before declaring specialized areas of study.

Public Service
The Social Science Interdisciplinary program provides an opportunity for students to acquire a broad background for understanding public affairs and social problems, with emphasis on public service. The program is not designed to give specific occupational training but rather to supply the generalist background attractive to many employers, particularly in agency work at state and local government levels. The program provides an excellent background for students interested in graduate work in public administration, urban and regional planning, and sociology.

Environmental Studies
This specialization is designed to provide an introductory view of human interaction with our environment and the outcomes arising therefrom. This specialized course of study highlights the social and political aspects of environmental issues and problems. It is a useful background for agency employment, teaching in the social sciences and employment related to the social sciences generally. This specialization may also serve to prepare students for entering a master’s program related to environmental management and planning.

To fulfill the primary specialization in Environmental Studies, 6 listed courses, selected from a minimum of 4 of the following 7 categories, must be taken for a minimum of 18 hours. In some cases, by consent of the instructor, prerequisites for the following courses can be waived for students in this concentration (this does not apply for BSC 2011).

Inequalities and Society
Inequalities and Society Specialization offers students an in-depth and rigorous interdisciplinary study of disparities through theory, research, and practice; cultivating life-long learners and engaged citizens who have a deep and nuanced understanding of issues across a range of perspectives. The study of inequality cannot be isolated into one or even a few disciplines, and its study must draw on the concepts, empirical data, and lived experiences of scholars, practitioners, and communities. Students pursuing this specialization will learn a constellation of balanced perspectives, approaches, histories, practices, and critiques.

Law and Society
Students may minor in Law and Society or select a major concentration in Law and Society through the Interdisciplinary Social Science major.

The Specialization in Law and Society offers an interdisciplinary study of the interaction of law and legal institutions and contemporary society. It is designed to provide an appreciation and recognition of the impact of law and legal institutions on society and the ways law is shaped by the values, behavior, and organization of social, economic, and political systems. Courses from the Departments of Economics, Geography, Political Science, Urban and Regional Planning, and Sociology, as well as the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, are included. Students may minor in law and society or select a major specialization in law and society through the interdisciplinary social science major. The Program in Law and Society is appropriate for a variety of educational and occupational goals because it provides an introduction to the links between law and other human activity and serves as a broad liberal education in the social sciences. Although prelaw students may enroll in law and society, the program is not a prelaw or pre-professional program, and a minor or major specialization in law and society is not offered as preparation for law school.

Urban Studies
The Social Science Interdisciplinary Program provides an opportunity for students to acquire a broad background for understanding public affairs with emphasis on urban studies. The program is designed to give an urban studies background that is attractive to many employers, particularly in local government. The program also provides an excellent background for students interested in graduate work in urban and regional planning, public administration, or sociology.

It is recommended that students planning on doing graduate work in Urban and Regional Planning consult with the Urban and Regional Planning Department at (850) 644-4510. Students planning to pursue graduate work are urged to take Statistics 4122.

Public Policy
The Public Policy specialization uses multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives to examine public policy in the United States. Public policy is the output of government and the primary mechanism through which we can mitigate collective action problems and other social problems. However, there is no one policy solution to these problems. Although it is created by government through a political process, public policy has important implications for society and the economy, making this an important field to study from an interdisciplinary perspective. In this specialization students will develop a policy area specialization and learn skills for analyzing public policies and their role in mitigating societal problems with an eye toward different social scientific perspectives. Students will learn how social science concepts and research can help us understand public issues in the United States.

This specialization is also available as an undergraduate certificate.

Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship
The Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation secondary concentration within the Interdisciplinary Social Sciences program focuses on how the emerging field of social entrepreneurship is promoting innovative, impactful, and sustainable approaches to addressing social and environmental problems.

Students will learn to leverage the resources of investors, consumers, stakeholders, and communities to address pressing social and environmental problems and innovate solutions for systemic change, whether in newly-created social enterprises; existing nonprofits organizations, government agencies, and philanthropic foundations; or institutions devoted to social impact start-up and investing. Competitive internships are available and offer unique and high-quality experiences within local, national, and internationals settings.

Minor: Neither a minor nor additional coursework is required, although a minor or second major is strongly encouraged.

Digital Literacy: (3 hours)
CGS 2060 (3) or CGS 2100 (3) will meet the requirement for this major.

Oral Communication Competency: (3 hours)
Students must demonstrate the ability to orally transmit ideas and information clearly. This requirement may be met with an approved college-level course.

Minimum Program Requirements - Summary
Total Hrs. Required 120
General Education 36*
Major Coursework 43*
Minor Coursework 0
Digital Literacy 3
Oral Competency 3
Electives to bring total hours to 120

*Some courses may be applied to both General Education requirements (or the AA degree) and the major. Please see the ISS advisor for more information.


Mapping is FSU’s academic advising and monitoring system. Academic progress is monitored each Fall and Spring semester to ensure that students are on course to earn their degree in a timely fashion. Transfer students must meet mapping guidelines to be accepted into their majors. You may view the map for this major at

1. A minimum of 45 hours at the 3000 level or above, 30 of which must be taken at this University.
2. Half of the major course semester hours must be completed in residence at this University.
3. The final 30 hours must be completed in residence at this University.
4. Students who plan to earn the B. A. degree must complete both a foreign language through the intermediate (2200 or equivalent) level and nine additional hours in the fields of history and humanities.

Employment Information

Salary Information: For more information go to: National Association of Colleges and Employers ( or the Occupational Outlook Handbook ( provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Representative Job Titles Related to this Major: Management Trainee, Legislative Aid/Analyst, Research Analyst, Assistant Planner, Federal Service Worker, Agencies and government.

Representative Employers: Public School Systems, Higher Education, Federal Agencies, City Planning Departments, Large Corporations, County Planning Departments, State Agencies (examples: Division of Youth Services, Div. of Family Services, Dept. of Natural Resources).

View Interdisciplinary Social Science Academic Map