Integrated Social Sciences

Integrated Social Sciences Degree

The Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Social Sciences program features a curriculum that weaves together the broad sweep of the social sciences, using innovative online learning elements – including e-portfolios and capstone projects – to allow students to demonstrate how these areas interconnect.

The curriculum is centered around the four ISS core courses, which serve to guide the student in integrating the rest of their coursework into the degree program. These courses are:

These courses will span the students' time in the program, beginning with ISS 301 and ISS 350 in the first quarter, ISS 355 at least four times (for a minimum of eight credits) during their course of study, and the capstone project (ISS 401) in their final quarter.

Flexible Online Course Delivery

All ISS courses are taught by experienced UW faculty and instructors and delivered online using a group-based asynchronous model. You can complete much of the classwork on your own schedule, with weekly activities and assignments ensuring that you interact with other students and the instructor and keep pace with the class.

Thematic Areas of Inquiry

The ISS program covers seven thematic areas of interdisciplinary inquiry, which reflect the integrative nature of the social sciences degree.

  • Information and Technological Society (ITS)
  • Population Dynamics and Movements (PDM)
  • Conflict and Cooperation (CC)
  • Diversity and Global Justice (DGJ)
  • Societal Inequalities and Power Relations (SIPR)
  • Social Contexts of Health and Risk (SCHR)
  • Societies and Environments (SE)


In addition to the required ISS core courses listed above, students must complete at least one course in five of the seven thematic areas to graduate. Available courses are listed below, along with the area each one fulfills (many courses are eligible in more than one area). More courses may be added in the future.

Course Instructor Thematic Area(s)
AES/COM/GWSS 389: Race, Gender & Sexuality in the Media LeiLani Nishime ITS, CC, SIPR
AES/COM/GWSS 489: Black Cultural Studies Ralina Joseph DGJ, SIPR
AFRAM 337/GWSS 454: Rock the Archive – Hip Hop, Indie Rock & the Social Science of Digital Media Michelle Habell-Pallan, Sonnet Retman ITS, DGJ, SIPR
ANTH 3XX: Sustainability, Culture and Society Stevan Harrell SCHR, SE
ANTH 460: History of Anthropology (and the Future of Social Science) Celia Lowe PDM, SE
CHID/JSIS C 380: Theories in the Study of Religion James Wellman CC
COM 220: Introduction to Public Speaking Matt McGarrity ITS
COM 318: The Creative Advantage Nancy Rivenburgh ITS
COM 339: The Business of Media in the Digital Age Gina Neff ITS
COM 340: History of Mass Communication Linda Lawson ITS
COM 420/ POL S 468/JSIS B 419: Comparative Media Systems Philip Howard ITS, DGJ
COM 440/POL S 461: Mass Media Law Linda Lawson ITS, CC
COM 468: Media Ethics Roger Simpson ITS
ECON 200: Introduction to Microeconomics Haideh Salehi-Esfahani ITS
ECON 201: Introduction to Macroeconomics Dennis O'Dea ITS
ECON 282: Using Econometrics: A Practical Approach Gregory Ellis ITS
GEOG 3XX: State, Migration and Development in China Kam Wing Chan PDM, DGJ
GEOG/JSIS D 323: Globalization & You Matthew Sparke ITS, DGJ, SCHR
GEOG 380: Geographical Patterns of Health Jonathan Mayer PDM, SCHR, SE
GEOG 478: Social Justice & the City Katharyne Mitchell PDM, SCHR, SE
HSTAS/JSIS A 454: History of Modern China Madeleine Yue Dong DGJ
HSTCMP 485: Comparative Colonialism Vicente Rafael PDM, CC, DGJ
JSIS A/POL S 435: Japanese Government & Politics Robert Pekkanen CC
JSIS B 310/POL S 320: State-Society Relations in Third World Countries José Antonio Lucero PDM, DGJ, SE
JSIS B 331: Political Economy of Development JSIS Faculty CC, DGJ
JSIS B 351: The Global Environment Celia Lowe SCHR, SE
JSIS B 406/POL S 432: Political Islam & Islamic Fundamentalism Karam Dana CC, DGJ, SIPR
JSIS B 416: Putting the World on a Couch: Psychoanalysis & International Studies Deborah Porter DGJ
JSIS B 420: Failed States Scott Radnitz CC
JSIS B/POL S 436: Ethnic Politics & Nationalism in Multi-Ethnic Societies Jonathan Warren PDM, CC, DGJ
LSJ/POL S 327: Women's Rights as Human Rights Rachel Cichowski DGJ
PHIL 102: Contemporary Moral Problems Michael Blake CC, DGJ
PHIL 343: Ethics & the Environment Lauren Hartzell Nichols CC, SE
PHIL 360: Introductory Topics in Philosophy of Science Lynn Hankinson Nelson ITS, SE
POL S 312: Survey of American Political Thought Jack Turner CC, SIPR
SOC 362: Race Relations Alexes Harris DGJ, SIPR

Courses Outside the ISS Major

Students will need a total of 180 credits to earn their bachelor's degree. In addition to the required courses, ISS students may take additional ISS classes or other designated online classes through the UW to fulfill their graduation requirements. You may also take any course available through UW Summer Quarter.

Once you are enrolled in the ISS program, your academic adviser will provide more information about your course options. You will be charged the same per-credit cost for courses outside the program as for your ISS courses.