Courses & Curriculum

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. In completing your degree, you will take courses in diverse fields such as anthropology, communication, economics, ethnic studies, geography, history, international relations, philosophy, political science, sociology and women's studies.

The curriculum is centered around the five 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 student's time in the program, beginning with ISS 301 and ISS 350 in the first quarter and ending with ISS 401 in the final quarter. Students must take ISS 301 and ISS 350 together for a total of at least 7 credits in the first quarter of enrollment. Students will take ISS 302 once and ISS 355 at least once at some point during their course of study.


The ISS program requires that all students participate in an ongoing e-portfolio project that’s at the heart of the reflective, integrative and collaborative nature of the program. To learn more about e-portfolios, visit the IAS Degree Portfolio page, which is part of a similar program offered at UW Bothell.

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 Technology (IT)
  • Populations and Movement (PM)
  • Conflict and Cooperation (CC)
  • Diversity and Global Justice (DGJ)
  • Inequalities and Power (IP)
  • Health and Risk (HR)
  • 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 IT, CC, DGJ, IP
AES/COM/GWSS 489: Black Cultural Studies Ralina Joseph DGJ, IP
ANTH 308: Anthropology of Gender, Women’s Health, and Reproduction Rachel Chapman DGJ, HR
ANTH 377: Anthropology of International Health James Pfeiffer DGJ, HR
ANTH 378: Sustainability, Resilience, and Society UW Faculty HR, SE
ANTH 460: History of Anthropology (and the Future of Social Science) Celia Lowe PM, SE
CHID/HSTCMP 485: Comparative Colonialism Vicente Rafael PM, CC, DGJ, IP
COM 220: Introduction to Public Speaking Matt McGarrity IT
COM 318: The Creative Advantage Nancy Rivenburgh IT
COM 325: Communication, Cities, and Sustainability Nancy Rivenburgh IT, SE
COM 339: The Business of Media in the Digital Age UW Faculty IT
COM 420/ POL S 468/JSIS B 419: Comparative Media Systems Philip Howard IT
COM 468: Media Ethics Roger Simpson IT, CC
ECON 200: Introduction to Microeconomics Haideh Salehi-Esfahani IT
ECON 201: Introduction to Macroeconomics Dennis O'Dea IT
ECON 282: Using Econometrics: A Practical Approach Gregory Ellis IT
ENVIR/POL S 385: Political Ecology of the World Food System Karen Litfin HR, SE
GEOG/JSIS D 323: Globalization & You Matthew Sparke DGJ, HR
GEOG 337: Migration and Development in China Kam Wing Chan PM, DGJ
GEOG 478: Social Justice & the City Katharyne Mitchell PM, CC, DGJ, IP
HSTAS/JSIS A 454: History of Modern China Madeleine Yue Dong DGJ
ISS 381: Advanced Research Writing in the Social Sciences ISS Teaching Team IT
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 CC, DGJ, SE
JSIS B 320: Yoga: History, Practice, and Health Christian Novetzke HR
JSIS B 331: Political Economy of Development Sunila Kale CC, DGJ
JSIS B 351: The Global Environment Celia Lowe HR, SE
JSIS B 406/POL S 432: Political Islam & Islamic Fundamentalism Karam Dana CC, DGJ, IP
JSIS B 416: Putting the World on a Couch: Psychoanalysis & International Studies Deborah Porter DGJ
JSIS B 420: Failed States Scott Radnitz CC
LSJ/POL S 327: Women's Rights as Human Rights Rachel Cichowski CC, DGJ, IP
PHIL 102: Contemporary Moral Problems Michael Blake CC, DGJ
PHIL 343: Ethics & the Environment UW Faculty CC, SE
PHIL 362: Topics in the Philosophy of Science Lynn Hankinson Nelson IT, HR, SE
POL S 312: Survey of American Political Thought Jack Turner CC, IP
RELIG 380: Theories in the Study of Religion James Wellman CC
SOC 362: Race Relations Alexes Harris DGJ, IP

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.

During the summer quarter only, ISS students can also take on-campus courses. Learn more about 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.