The Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies
The Interdisciplinary Studies program provides students with an opportunity to design unique courses of study leading to the MA or MS degree. Students normally select the program because their individual interests dictate that core courses be drawn from two or three academic areas rather than from a single discipline. If academic or professional goals are not adequately accommodated by University programs in existing disciplines, the Interdisciplinary Studies program may meet the need by allowing specialization in a particular field which is not offered as a master’s program by the University.
Since Interdisciplinary Studies programs are uniquely structured to suit individual needs, the objectives of specific programs vary considerably. The majority of students who select this program have definite occupational goals in mind at the outset. However, others pursue areas of interest which have little or no direct application to their professional lives.
While it is not possible to predict future employment opportunities for Interdisciplinary Studies graduates, this program provides a vehicle for meeting the needs of students with unusual, creative, and interdisciplinary professional or academic goals.
Course Requirements for the Master’s Degree: 30 units
Continuous enrollment is required. A maximum of 9 units of transfer credit may be applied towards the degree. See "Master’s Degree Requirements" earlier in this section for complete details on general degree requirements.
Students wishing to discuss and gain approval for a proposed interdisciplinary program or graduate coursework should consult the Graduate School.
Interdisciplinary Studies Emphases
Special Interdisciplinary Studies emphases have been developed in the following areas. Consult the Graduate School for specific information.
Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies:
- Mathematics Education K–8
- Science Teaching
Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies:
- Simulation Science/Computer Simulation
No applicants will be accepted for the above program because admissions have been suspended indefinitely.
Prerequisites for Admission to Conditionally Classified Status:
- An acceptable baccalaureate from an accredited institution, or an equivalent approved by the Graduate School.
- Satisfactory grade point average as specified in "Admission to Master’s Degree Programs."
- Formation of the graduate advisory committee.
- Development of an approved program, including a Justification Statement and description of the culminating activity, in consultation with the graduate coordinator and the graduate advisory committee.
- Approval of the graduate coordinator or chair of each participating department. Students must meet the requirements for admission to classified status, as specified in this catalog, of at least one of the major departments involved in their Interdisciplinary Studies program.
Prerequisites for Admission to Classified Status:
In addition to any requirements listed above:
- 1. The completion of all prerequisites for courses included in the approved program.
- 2. A minimum Miller Analogies Test raw score of 50, or a minimum combined Graduate Record Examination test score of 1500, or an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 for the last 60 units and 3.0 for any post-baccalaureate work.
- 3. The completion of the following discipline-specific requirements if pursuing a degree involving course work in the areas of anthropology, art, business/management, computer engineering, computer science, economics, engineering, English, health and community services, history, or psychology.
Students using 12 or more units of anthropology in their program must:
- a) Complete the Graduate Record Examination prior to admission to classified status, with a combined score of 900 on the verbal and quantitative portions.
- b) Pass a 1- to 3-part candidacy exam administered by the Department of Anthropology. This exam, depending on the student’s program plan, will contain at least one of the anthropology candidacy exams and possibly all three, as is judged suitable by the student’s advisory committee. Upon successful completion of the required competency exam(s), the student may be advanced to candidacy.
Students using 6 or more units of art course work in their program, or including "Art" in the title or content of the thesis, must have the prior approval of the Department of Art and Art History.
Students using 9 units or more of 600-level business course work in their program must satisfy the same entrance requirements established for MBA applicants. These include a score no lower than the 50th percentile on the Graduate Management Admission Test.
Students using the term "computers" or "computing" as part of an Interdisciplinary Studies degree title must:
- a) Complete at least 12 units of 400/500/600-level computer science and/or computer engineering courses, each with a grade of B– or better, as part of their graduate work at CSU, Chico.
- b) Include at least one computer science or computer engineering faculty member on the graduate advisory committee.
- c) Have the program approved by the chair (or designee) of the Department of Computer Science.
Students using the term "computer engineering" as part of an Interdisciplinary Studies degree title must:
- a) Include a minimum of 12 units of computer engineering courses in the program.
- b) Have the program approved by the chair (or designee) of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Students using the term "computer science" as part of an Interdisciplinary Studies degree title must:
- a) Complete the following undergraduate computer science courses, each with a grade of C or better:
CSCI 311 Algorithms & Data Structures 3.0
- Prerequisites: CSCI 112.
CSCI 320 Computer Architecture 3.0
- Prerequisites: CSCI 221; concurrent enrollment in CSCI 311 recommended.
CSCI 330 Software Engineering 3.0
- Prerequisites: CSCI 311.
CSCI 340 Operating Syst Programming 3.0
- Prerequisites: CSCI 311 and CSCI 320.
- b) Complete at least one-half of the degree program in computer science course work.
- c) Include at least one computer science faculty member on the graduate advisory committee.
- d) Have the program approved by the chair (or designee) of the Department of Computer Science.
Students using 9 units or more of economics course work in the program may be required to:
- a) Complete the Graduate Record Examination with a combined score of at least 1000 on the verbal and quantitative portions; or
- b) Achieve a score of at least 600 on the Graduate Record Examination subject test in economics; or
- c) Complete the requirements for entrance into the MBA program at CSU, Chico.
In addition, students wishing to use the word "economics" in the degree title must have the specific approval of the Department of Economics. Students wishing to obtain such approval should petition the economics department chair before their programs are designed.
Students using the term "engineering" as part of the degree title must:
- a) Include a minimum of 12 units of engineering course work in the program.
- b) Have the program approved by the engineering graduate coordinator and the chair of the appropriate engineering department.
- c) Have a member of the engineering faculty serve on the graduate advisory committee.
Students planning to include 6 or more units of English course work in an Interdisciplinary Studies degree program may be required to:
- a) Submit a formal research paper, documented according to the latest MLA standards, to the graduate coordinator in English. This paper must come to the graduate coordinator via the instructor who assigned it, together with a written statement of the instructor’s opinion of the paper’s authenticity. This requirement must be met prior to advancement to classified status.
- b) Complete the verbal portion of the GRE General Test with a minimum score of 500. This requirement must be met prior to advancement to candidacy.
Health and Community Services
Students using the term "health" or "wellness" as part of an Interdisciplinary Studies degree title must have the program approved by the chair of the Department of Health and Community Services.
Students using 6 or more units of 600-level history course work in their program, or wishing to use the term "history" in the title of the thesis or degree, must have approval of the graduate coordinator in the Department of History.
Students using 6 or more units of psychology course work, or wishing to use the terms "psychology" or "counseling" in the title of the thesis or degree, must have approval of the Department of Psychology.
Advancement to Candidacy:
In addition to the requirements listed above, the student must have classified graduate standing and must have completed 9 units of the proposed program at the University.
Requirements for the MA/MS in Interdisciplinary Studies:
Completion of all requirements as established by the graduate advisory committee and the Graduate School, to include:
1. Completion of an approved program consisting of 30 units of 400/500/600-level courses:
- a) A comprehensive core of units in the chosen disciplines.
- b) At least 18 of the units required for the degree in stand-alone 600-level courses (those not cross-listed with 400/500-level courses).
- c) Not more than 9 semester units of transfer and/or CSU, Chico Open University credit (correspondence courses and University of California extension course work are not acceptable).
- d) Not more than 15 units taken before admission to classified status.
- e) Not more than a total of 10 units of Independent Study (597/697), Comprehensive Examination (696), and Master’s Study (699) combined; not more than 3 units of Comprehensive Examination (696) or 6 units of Master’s Study (699).
2. Completion and final approval of a thesis, project, comprehensive examination, or other culminating activity as specified by the graduate advisory committee.
3. Satisfactory completion of a comprehensive final examination (written or oral) in the field of study.
4. Approval by the graduate advisory committee and the Graduate Council on behalf of the faculty of the University.
All requirements listed above are to be completed within seven years of the end of the semester of enrollment in the oldest course applied towards the degree.
Graduate Requirement in Writing Proficiency:
Writing proficiency is a graduation requirement. Interdisciplinary Studies students will demonstrate their writing proficiency by submitting an acceptable justification statement with the application to the program. Consult the graduate coordinator for further information.
All courses in the primary disciplines, other than Independent Study (597/697), Comprehensive Examination (696), and Master’s Study (699), must be taken for a letter grade, except those courses specified by the department as ABC/No Credit (400/500-level courses), AB/No Credit (600-level courses), or Credit/No Credit grading only. A maximum of 10 units combined of ABC/No Credit, AB/No Credit, and Credit/No Credit grades may be used on the approved program (including 597/697, 696, 699, and courses outside the major). While grading standards are determined by individual programs and instructors, it is also the policy of the University that unsatisfactory grades may be given when work fails to reflect achievement of the high standards, including high writing standards, expected of students pursuing graduate study.
Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average in each of the following three categories: all course work taken at any accredited institution subsequent to admission to the master’s program; all course work taken at CSU, Chico subsequent to admission to the program; and all courses on the approved master’s degree program.
Once the program plan is developed and approved, advising is recommended but not mandatory each semester for Interdisciplinary Studies students. For further information, consult the graduate coordinator.
Interdisciplinary Studies Course Offerings
Please see the section on "Course Description Symbols and Terms" in the University Catalog for an explanation of course description terminology and symbols, the course numbering system, and course credit units. All courses employ letter grading unless otherwise stated. Some prerequisites may be waived with faculty permission.
IDST 689 Internship 1.0–6.0 FS
- Prerequisites: faculty permission.
Students may register for an Internship for 1 to 6 units. Credit/No Credit grading only.
IDST 698 Special Topics 1.0–3.0 FS
- Prerequisites: faculty permission.
Interdisciplinary graduate courses on current topics offered through a sponsoring department for 1 to 3 units.
IDST 697 Independent Study 1.0–6.0 FS
- Prerequisites: faculty permission.
Students may register for an Independent Study for 1 to 6 units.
IDST 699 Master’s Study 1.0–6.0 FS
- Prerequisites: faculty permission.
Students may register for a Master’s Thesis, offered as IDST 699T, for 1 to 6 units, or for a Master’s Project, IDST 699P, for 1 to 6 units. Credit/No Credit grading only.