Upper Division Courses

A minimum of 20 UNITS (at least SIX courses) drawn from at least THREE fields or disciplines. Courses for this requirement must be UPPER DIVISION, i.e., numbered 100 or above. A student may use a maximum of 3 classes from one discipline. ALL COURSES USED TO FULFILL ISF MAJOR REQUIREMENTS MUST BE TAKEN FOR A LETTER GRADE, NO EXCEPTIONS (COVID-19 EXCEPTIONS ONLY, WE WILL ACCEPT P/NP). Upon consent of an adviser, courses outside of the College of Letters and Science may be accepted when relevant, e.g., courses in Social Welfare, Journalism, Public Policy, City Planning, Business Administration, Architecture, etc. (For further information, please see Sample Research Programs.) *Note: Upon approval from an ISF faculty advisor, a student may include one technical or natural science course as part of their Course of Study.

Interdisciplinary Research Methods

ISF 189: Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research Methods (4 units) – required for all applicants who apply to the major after June 1, 2014, but not a prerequisite to major declaration.

For all applicants, ISF 189 must be completed before a student enrolls in ISF 190, the Senior Thesis Seminar- unless otherwise determined by petition to the ISF director. If a student enrolls in ISF 190 either simultaneous with or without having passed ISF 189, the student will be dropped from ISF 190.

This class is an introduction to research methods, leading students through different units built around specific learning goals and practical exercises. The course is designed to teach a range of research skills, including (but not limited to) the ability to formulate research questions and to engage in scholarly conversations and arguments; the identification, evaluation, mobilization, and interpretation of sources; methods and instruments of field research (interviews, questionnaires, and sampling) and statistical thinking; and the construction of viable arguments and explanation in the human sciences. At the same time, the course is designed to help students identify their own thesis topic, bibliography, and methodological orientation in preparation for ISF 190. Students who have already taken one of the following courses and received a B- or better can place out of the requirement to take ISF 189:

Note: As of October 1, 2017, the list of equivalent courses for ISF 189 includes

  • Anthropology 169B – Research Theory and Methods in Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • Demography 160 – Special Topics in Demography
  • History 104 – The Craft of History
  • Psychology 101 – Research and Data Analysis in Psychology

Theory and Methods

  • ISF 100A – All ISF majors must take ISF 100A, no exceptions

Theory and Practice

  •  All ISF majors must take a Theory and Practice course from the ISF 100-series (ISF 60, ISF 100B, 100C, 100D, 100E, 100F, 100G, 100H, 100I, 100J or 100K) or from a list of approved courses taught in various departments across campus. These core courses provide an introduction to interdisciplinary theories and methodologies in the social sciences and the humanities. Note: A student may not double-count a course as part of their course of study and as meeting the Theory and Practice requirement.
  • ISF 60: Technology and Values (3 units)
  • ISF 100B: Interdisciplinary Theories of the Self and Identity (4 units)
  • ISF 100C: Language and Identity (4 units)
  • ISF 100D: Introduction to Technology, Society, and Culture (4 units)
  • ISF 100E: The Globalization of Rights, Values, and Laws in the 21st Century (4 units)
  • ISF 100F: Theorizing Modern Capitalism: Controversies and Interpretations (4 units)
  • ISF 100G: Introduction to Science, Society, and Ethics (4 units)
  • ISF 100H: Introduction to Media and International Relations (4 units)
  • ISF 100I: Consumer Society and Culture (4 units)
  • ISF 100J: The Social Life of Computing (4 units)
  • ISF 100K: Health and Development (4 units)
  • ISF 110: An Introduction to Data Analysis and Visualization (4 units)

NOTE: If a student’s course of study requires advanced work in a specific methodological approach, an appropriate course may be substituted for ISF 60, 100B, 100C, 100D, 100E, 100F, 100G, 100H, 100I, 100J or 100K with the permission of an adviser. In such cases, the student’s area of concentration normally requires courses in quantitative analysis, advanced statistical methods, demographics, natural sciences, and/or computer science.

Senior Thesis Requirements

ISF 190: Senior Thesis (4 units)