Integrated Social Sciences, B.S.

Program Code: ISOSC_BS

Program Description

The social sciences are concerned with the study of society and the relations among individuals and institutions within society. The multi-disciplinary Bachelor of Science in Integrated Social Sciences synthesizes the broad sweep of the content, theories, and methodologies of the social sciences. The program draws on core social science disciplines:

  • Anthropology,
  • Communication Arts and Sciences,
  • Economics,
  • Political Science,
  • Psychology, and
  • Sociology.

A final capstone portfolio will document integration and synthesis of major themes explored in the program.

What is Integrated Social Sciences?

The Bachelor of Science in Integrated Social Sciences combines the content, theories and methodologies of the social sciences into one program. The course work is based on the core social science disciplines of anthropology, communication arts, and sciences, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology. The integrated social sciences comprise the study of society and relationships among individuals and institutions.

You Might Like This Program If...

As a student of the integrated social sciences, you want acquire a versatile skill set that includes the ability to effectively create and communicate information, develop and execute systems and processes, exercise critical thinking and apply theory to practice. This online 120 – credit interdisciplinary program is an excellent choice for students who want to build upon previous education to complete an unfinished degree.

Direct Admission to the Major

Incoming first-year students who meet the program admission requirements are admitted directly into the major. Admission restrictions may apply for change-of-major and/or change-of-campus students.

For more information about the admission process for this major, please send a request to the college, campus, or program contact (listed in the Contact tab).

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Integrated Social Sciences, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 20-42
Requirements for the Major 51-55

0-18 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 0-6 credits of GQ courses; 0-6 credits of GS courses, and 0-6 credits of GH courses.

Per Senate Policy 83-80.1, "Per University Faculty Senate Policy 83-80.1, every candidate for a degree shall earn as a degree candidate at least 36 of the last 60 credits required for a baccalaureate degree in courses offered by the University or in cooperative degree programs that have been established by formal agreement and approved by the University Faculty Senate."

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
LA 201WExperiential Learning Portfolio3
LA 496Independent Studies3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
In consultation with your adviser, select 6-8 credits in quantification from MATH, CMPSC, IST, PHIL, ACCT, or STAT6-8
Select 3-4 credits in statistics of the following:3-4
Quantitative Political Analysis
Elementary Statistics in Psychology Keystone/General Education Course
Elementary Statistics Keystone/General Education Course
Select 3 credits in ethics of the following:3
LER 460
Ethics Keystone/General Education Course
Ethics Keystone/General Education Course
Ethical Leadership Keystone/General Education Course
Select 3-4 credits in research methods of the following:3-4
Qualitative Research Methods Keystone/General Education Course
LER 312
Basic Research Methods in Psychology
Research Methods in Sociology
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
In consultation with your adviser, select 30 credits from social science courses in the following areas: 130
Undergraduate Field Experience or Practicum
Undergraduate Field Experience or Practicum

Students must select at least 15 credits at the 400 level; 9 credits of the 400-level courses must be in one discipline and 6 credits must be in a second discipline.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required and Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Breadth in the Knowledge Domains (Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Arts (GA): 3 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 3 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits

Integrative Studies

  • Inter-Domain Courses (Inter-Domain): 6 credits


  • GN, may be completed with Inter-Domain courses: 3 credits
  • GA, GH, GN, GS, Inter-Domain courses. This may include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the 12th credit level or the requirements for the student’s degree program, whichever is higher: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Program Learning Objectives

  • Argumentation: Students will be able to formulate, debate, and articulate arguments about social phenomena using the language and constructs of the social sciences
  • Content Knowledge: Students will be able to articulate the varied theoretical and applied methodologies and interrelationships across the social sciences
  • Critical Thinking: Students will utilize critical thinking in analyzing and applying social science perspectives to society’s problems
  • Professional Skills: Students will be able to apply professional and career related skills in integrated social sciences
  • Research Literacy: Students will demonstrate the ability to conduct, evaluate, and critique quantitative and qualitative social science research

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


World Campus

Undergraduate Academic Advising
301 Outreach Building
University Park, PA 16802

University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Use the Liberal Arts Meet the Academic Advisers web page to see the contact information for the specific adviser(s) of this program

Career Paths

The concepts you'll study in this interdisciplinary online program can prepare you for employment in a variety of fields, or position you for advancement in your current role. As a graduate, your heightened understanding of human behavior and societal relationships will be applicable to any number of careers, including social services, marketing, advertising, human resources, finance, government, and many more.


  • Advancement in your current position
  • Social services
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Human resources
  • Finance
  • Government
  • Non-profit and NGO management


World Campus

8 Thomas Building
University Park, PA 16802