Upper Division Courses

The ISF Major requires students to complete 30 upper division units distributed among the following three sections:


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. 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.


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 these applicants, ISF 189  will need to be completed before a student begins ISF 190, the Senior Thesis Seminar. 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 2017, the list of equivalent courses for ISF 189 will include:

Anthropology 169B - Research Theory and Methods in Social and Cultural Anthropology

History 104 - The Craft of History 

Ethnic Studies 101A (Social Science Methods in Ethnic Studies)

Psychology 101 (Research and Data Analysis in Psychology)


All ISF majors must take ISF 100A and one more course from the ISF 100 series (ISF 100B, 100C, 100D, 100E, 100F, 100G or 100H) 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.

ISF 100A: Introduction to Social Theory and Cultural Analysis

ISF 100B: Introduction to Social Theory and Cultural Analysis

ISF 100C: Word and Image

ISF C145: Multicultural Europe

ISF 100D: Introduction to Technology, Society, and Culture

ISF 100E: The Globalization of Rights, Values, and Laws in the 21st Century (4 units)

ISF 100F: Theorizing Modern Capitalism: Controversies and Interpretations 

ISF 100G: Introduction to Science, Society, and Ethics (4 units)

ISF 100H: Introduction to Media and International Relations (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 100B, 100C, 100D, 100E, 100F, 100G or 100H 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.


ISF 190: Senior Thesis (4 units)