Interdisciplinary Programs

Master of Arts/Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies

The Interdisciplinary Studies Major: The Interdisciplinary Studies major at Cal State LA is a highly restricted program designed for students whose professional/academic objectives are unique and cannot be met by existing master's degree offerings. Each student admitted to the IS major creates a unique program that comprises course offerings from at least two departments/divisions in related disciplines. Some recent examples of IS programs include American Cultural Studies (Departments of Communication Studies, History, and Anthropology), Scenography (Departments of Music, Theatre and Dance, and Technology), and Biomathematics (Departments of Biological Sciences and Mathematics). In each case, the IS program is prepared with the assistance and approval of faculty and administrative advisers who evaluate the student's proposal and academic qualifications.

In 1969, Cal State LA created this highly restrictive major and the Special Major baccalaureate program in response to a Chancellor's Office request that each campus "develop specific requirements and/or restrictions to a special major." The CO's request further advised that the special major's purpose was "to provide for exceptional cases of individual students a carefully controlled opportunity for a specially designed course of study leading to a degree when legitimate academic and professional aims are not adequately accommodated by standard degree majors" (AP 69-52; July 16, 1969). The IS program at Cal State LA is administered through the Office of Graduate Studies.

The goals of the IS program are:

  1. To provide opportunities and appropriate advisement for students who choose to develop individualized programs of study to serve their unique career and professional development needs.
  2. To provide the means through which the campus' academic community can experiment with new and emerging fields of inquiry.

Graduate students that wish to pursue a Master of Arts or Master of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies must make formal written application to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

The application requires a study plan approved by a faculty committee representing each discipline, a concise essay describing the rationale for pursuing an Interdisciplinary Studies major, and an indication of the academic objectives to be achieved.

Please refer to the Master of Arts/Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies Student Advisement Handbook for further information.


Office of Graduate Studies
Division of Academic Affairs
Office: Library North A124
Phone: (323) 343-3820 | FAX: (323) 343-5653