Integrated Studies Major

Student Learning Outcomes

Disciplinary Knowledge – Integrated Studies students will

  • Understand and explain the functions and limitations of academic disciplines
  • Examine similarities and differences across disciplinary frameworks and methods
  • Recognize disciplinary insights and perspectives relevant to their program of study

Inquiry and Analysis – Integrated Studies students will

  • Develop research questions that can require thinking beyond a single discipline
  • Identify multiple disciplinary frameworks relevant to achieving specific research goals
  • Locate scholarly works that address interdisciplinary research questions

Critical Thinking – Integrated Studies students will

  • Evaluate a variety of source materials and differing disciplinary viewpoints
  • Critique disciplinary assumptions and explain the contexts in those assumptions are developed

Written Communication – Integrated Studies students will

  • Communicate ideas effectively in writing
  • Compose papers employing analytical writing to convey their disciplinary knowledge and skills

Information literacy – Integrated Studies students will

  • Locate and evaluate appropriate materials for interdisciplinary research, using book catalogs and article databases
  • Demonstrate understanding of the ethical and legal issues surrounding the use of published and unpublished materials, including what constitutes plagiarism and how to cite sources

Ethical reasoning and action – Integrated Studies students will

  • Examine the ethical approaches to studying problems through a variety of perspectives
  • Analyze the ways interdisciplinary critical thinking can be applied to social problems

Integrative and applied learning – Integrated Studies students will

  • Synthesize evidence representing multiple disciplinary perspectives
  • Combine the theories, methods, and analytical perspectives of a variety of disciplines to answer an interdisciplinary question
  • Explain how to approach a real-world problem in an interdisciplinary manner
  • Understand and articulate the benefits of interdisciplinary study to the larger world

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Integrated Studies degree provides students with the opportunity to construct a Bachelor of Arts individualized major that meets their unique needs. This flexible program allows students to create a major by combining two course clusters from the same or different school/college:

  • One cluster must be based on a CLAS minor or certificate in the CU Denver catalog. The cluster must be at least 15 credits and include a minimum of 6 upper division level credit hours, and students can add additional courses (up to 21 credits total in one discipline) to either meet this 15 credit minimum or fulfill the minor or certificate’s requirements if they exceed 15 credits.
  • The second cluster must also be at least 15 credits and include a minimum of 6 upper division level credit hours. This cluster is more flexible and can be constructed in one of three ways:
  1. it can be based on a minor or certificate in the catalog (within CLAS or another school or college);
  2. you can construct it using courses from a variety of disciplines that form a coherent body of knowledge (an interdisciplinary cluster); or
  3. it can be or based on a pre-formed thematic cluster with an already-approved group of classes provided by the major.

The B.S. option requires one of the two clusters to be composed of courses from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, Economics or Engineering. The cluster may be a minor or certificate in one of these areas. An additional 6 credits outside the cluster must also be in one of the above-defined areas.

  • Students must also complete an interdisciplinary capstone course and project that bring together the learning from their two clusters.


ISMA 3100: Learning Across Disciplines (3 credit hours)

  • This course introduces students to interdisciplinary thinking, methods, and writing. Examining a compelling issue chosen by the instructor (for example, hunger, human trafficking, healthcare reform, or war and PTSD), students will learn what kinds of questions require thinking beyond a single discipline, how interdisciplinary scholars combine the theories and methods of a variety of fields, and how to approach the challenges of interdisciplinary writing.  The final project for ISMA 3100 requires students to combine the thinking, methods, and writing of at least two disciplines in an interdisciplinary project. Prerequisite: approval of ISM application (permission number).
  • Students may petition an Associate Dean to fulfill their introduction outside of ISMA 3100.

ISMA 4900: Interdisciplinary Studies Capstone (3 credit hours)

  • This course brings together students who have been working on their individualized majors to share a capstone experience. The goal of the capstone is for students to put their interdisciplinary learning into action – whether through a traditional research project or an experiential learning project. All students must produce a final project that demonstrates their abilities to pose an interdisciplinary question and synthesize the theories, methods, and analytical perspectives of their chosen disciplines to answer that question. While working with their Primary Faculty Advisors on their capstone projects, students meet to discuss their experiences and to get feedback from each other as their projects develop. Grades will be determined by the instructor of record in consultation with each student’s Primary Faculty Advisor. Prerequisite: ISMA 3100 and Capstone proposal approved by faculty advisor.
  • Students may petition an Associate Dean to fulfill their capstones outside of ISMA 4900.


  • A student must have already completed at least 45 credit hours to declare Integrated Studies
  • Students must complete a minimum of 36 credits from approved coursework in the major (but up to 56 hours depending on the size of the clusters a student chooses and/or constructs).
  • Students must complete a minimum of 18 upper division (3000 level and above) credit hours including a minimum of 6 upper division level credit hours in each cluster and 6 upper division hours in the required courses.
  • At least half of all credits in the Integrated Studies major must be from CLAS
  • Students can apply credit hours they earned before declaring Integrated Studies to their major
  • Integrated Studies students must be in good academic standing, with a GPA of 2.0 or greater overall to graduate.
  • Students must achieve a minimum grade of C- in all courses to be counted toward the major.
  • A minimum of 24 Integrated Studies credit hours must be completed with CU Denver faculty (at least 9 credits in each course cluster in addition to ISMA 3100 and ISMA 4900).
  • Students will not receive minors in any of the cluster areas used toward the ISMA major Integrated Studies track, even if the requirements for the minor are met.


Students are required to submit a program plan that includes a proposal and a course contract. Copies of completed Integrated Studies proposals and course contracts must be filed with the Dean's Office and with the student's CLAS Academic Advisor. Once the Integrated Studies course contract is filed, any changes to coursework must be approved by the student's Faculty Advisors and resubmitted to the Associate Dean for Planning, Initiatives, and Diversity and to the student’s CLAS Academic Advisor. To find out more about the program and the requirements for the proposal please contact BRANDON.S.MILLS@UCDENVER.EDU.