Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies Program

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The B.A. in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies is interdisciplinary studies in a Jesuit educational context - integrating the liberal arts, sciences and community engagement in a way that cultivates humanity. It is for students who have decided to gain a broad and deep education rather than be narrowly focused. Flexibility to choose courses that match your interests provides you with solid preparation for a rewarding career or graduate school.

Degrees offered:

Why pursue an Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies degree?

Because businesses and communities need creative problem-solvers, leaders and integrative thinkers. Because it is no longer enough to be limited to one discipline.

  • Recent graduates are working in every kind of business imaginable and teaching K-8 in the U.S. and abroad. Others have pursued M.A.'s and Ph.D.'s (Harvard, Stanford, Columbia U). Learn more here.
  • Hiring companies for Program graduates: Yahoo • T-Mobile • AmeriCorps • Seattle Public Schools • Highline Schools • Google • Seattle University • Boeing • Efelle Media • State of Washington • Big Brothers and Big Sisters • Villacorta & Bailey Law • Blitz Digital Agency • Children’s Hospital.  Learn more here.
  • Marketable skills come from being trained as an interdisciplinarian: project-management, effective communication, teamwork, leadership, strategic thinking, creativity and enterprise.

Declaring the Major is simple.

Apply online or come to the Program offices (Casey Building). You will be assigned an advisor right away, and be encouraged to meet Dr. Sven Arvidson, Director, just to chat about you, the degree and your future.

Degree Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies
Major: Students can major (60 credits) in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies and easily coordinate their major with a second major in another discipline or with a minor.

Strategic Core (25 credits): Majors develop interdisciplinary scholarship, community engagement, and metacognition (reflective thinking) through five strategic courses.

  • IDLS 2300 - Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Liberal Studies
  • IDLS 3000 - Leadership for Community Engagement
  • IDLS 3200 - Special Topics: Interdisciplinary Project
  • IDLS 3300 - Methods of Interdisciplinary Research
  • IDLS 4900 - Senior Synthesis

Areas of Knowledge (35 credits): Majors work closely with professors and advisors to choose from scores of courses in four areas of knowledge.

  • Humanities (3000–4000-level) (15 cr)

    Choose from English, film studies, fine arts, language, history, interdisciplinary liberal studies, philosophy, religious studies, women and gender studies, some Asian studies, and UCOR Humanities and Global Challenges, including five credits in composition/writing

  • Social Sciences (3000–4000-level) (10 cr)

    Choose from anthropology, communication and media, criminal justice, economics, education and interdisciplinary studies, international studies, marketing, management, nonprofit leadership, political science, psychology, public affairs, sociology, social work, some Asian studies, some environmental studies and UCOR 3600 social sciences

  • Natural Science Elective (any level) (5 cr)

    Choose from biology, chemistry, environmental science, most environmental studies, physics, psychology 2400, sport and exercise science, and UCOR 1800 inquiry seminar and 3800 natural sciences

  • Quantitative and Computational Reasoning Elective (any level) (5 cr)

    Choose from accounting, computer science, digital photography, most economics, some environmental studies, math (1010 or above), phil 2600, statistics, and UCOR 1200 quantitative reasoning

Unique to Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies

  • IDLS welcomes students at all phases of their academic careers, first year, major change, transfer
  • IDLS is part of the new movement of integrative Interdisciplinary Studies, represented internationally by the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies (we are an institutional member and the IDLS director is on the Executive Board). Teaching the Interdisciplinary Research Process is a program focus
  • Project-Centered Coursework is an innovative curricular design in which majors approach real-world problems through planning, design, problem-solving, creating artifacts, and communicating results. Rather than supervisors, faculty become mentors to engaged and self-motivated students
  • Leadership Seminars are uniquely offered in IDLS. Majors secure real world experience working with non-profits, and the community.
  • Consortium of Interdisciplinary Scholars is housed in the Program - 150 esteemed professors from every school on campus, Business, Law, Education, Science, Arts and Sciences eager to mentor our students.
  • Personalized Electronic Portfolios allow majors to gather accomplishments, reflect on them, and invite friends, family, and prospective employers to view endeavors.
  • Teaching at the elementary school level requires broad training and a flexible program. This is the preferred degree program in the College for any student wishing to teach at the elementary level. Students wishing to pursue a Masters in Teaching for certification to teach should complete this B.A. in IDLS. Students wishing to graduate after senior year certified to teach should pursue the B.A. in IDLS with Elementary Specialization (K-8) (see top of this page).

"Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies Majors, for me, are the most remarkable students on campus. They seek more than narrow disciplinary work, and instead pursue broader understanding of complex real-world problems by integrating insights drawn from these disciplines. In other words, they work and think at the most challenging, academic level possible - interdisciplinary scholarship."

~ Sven Arvidson, Ph.D., Program Director

Ready to Transfer to SU?

Contact Us

P. Sven Arvidson, Ph.D.
Program Director
Casey 430

Kate Reynolds
Administrative Assistant
Casey 430