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Interdisciplinary Studies

The College of Arts and Sciences offers four interdisciplinary majors that provide opportunities to study multiple disciplines rather than the narrower focus required by a major in a single discipline. Students create their own fields of emphasis and choose multidisciplinary approaches to their area of academic interest.

MajorDegree(s)Credit hours
HumanitiesBA only36
Life scienceBS or BA39
Physical scienceBS or BA37
Social scienceBS or BA36

The requirements for each of the interdisciplinary options are flexible to allow students, in consultation with their advisors, to devise degree programs designed to meet their particular needs, interests, and career goals.


Humanities is a multidisciplinary major that deals with human thought and culture. Creativity, imagination, and interpretation are central to humanistic study. The humanities disciplines include art, art history, creative writing, dance, history, literature, modern languages, music, philosophy, speech communication, theater, and selected women's studies and American ethnic studies courses. A humanities major leads to the traditional liberal arts degree, the bachelor of arts.

Students develop a plan of study with an interdisciplinary humanities advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences dean's office, who acts as a liaison with the Humanities Advisory Committee. The student also confers with other humanities faculty members who have expertise in the areas of the student's interest. The student's proprosal must include a rationale or thematic design for the interdisciplinary degree and a tentative listing of courses. The proposal must be approved by the Humanities Advisory Committee. This procedure must be accomplished before or during the semester in which the student completes 90 credit hours toward the degree.

The humanities major consists of 36 credit hours. Students must select two humanities disciplines and complete 15 hours in each discipline, including at least 6 hours of 500-699 level course work in one discipline and 9 hours of 500-699 level course work in the second discipline. Six hours of humanities electives are also required.

Up to 9 credit hours of major course work may be applied to basic requirements of the BA degree. Courses used in the two selected disciplines may not also be applied toward another major. Students who select music as one discipline must seek additional advising in the music department.

A 2.0 GPA in the major is required for graduation.

Life science

Life science is an interdisciplinary major that deals with studies of living organisms and life processes.

BIOL 198Principles of Biology4
BIOL 201Organismic Biology5
BIOCH 265Introductory Organic and Biochemistry5
CHM 350/351General Organic Chemistry and Lab5
BIOL 455Microbiology4
280/281Introduction to Physical Anthropology
and Lab4
Psychology course with prerequisite3

*The 14 elective hours must be at or above the 300 level and they must be selected from two or more of the following fields: biochemistry, biology, microbiology, organic chemistry, physical anthropology, and psychology. A minimum of 15 hours in the major must be taken at K-State. Only transfer courses accepted by departments to meet requirements in their majors will be accepted to meet requirements in the life science major.

To obtain a life science degree a student must earn at least a 2.0 GPA in the required science courses (including transfer work).

The life science degree is not available to students who will earn a degree in biochemistry, biology, or microbiology.

Pre-vet option

Students who complete the College of Arts and Sciences basic requirements, the pre- veterinary prerequisites, all the life sciences major requirements except the electives, and a minimum of 84 hours prior to enrolling in the College of Veterinary Medicine at K-State may earn a life sciences degree after successful completion of the first year of veterinary medical school.

Physical science

Physical science is an interdisciplinary major that deals with nonliving matter.

MATH 220Analytic Geometry and Calculus I4
STAT 320, 340, 410, or 5103
CHM 210Chemistry I4
CHM 220Chemical Principles I5
CHM 230Chemistry II4
CHM 250Chemical Principles II5
PHYS 113General Physics I4
PHYS 213Engineering Physics I5
PHYS 114General Physics II4
PHYS 214Engineering Physics II5
GEOL 100/103Earth in Action and Lab4
GEOG 221Environmental Geography I4
DAS 499Physical Science Senior Report1
*Students must complete a total of 37 hours in the major. Electives must be selected from the following:
Computing and information sciences—200 or above
Chemistry—350, 351, 371, 500 or above
Geology—100, 102, 103, 105, 130, 500 or above, except 512
Mathematics—221, 222, 240, 510, or 551
Physics—122, 191, 300 or above, except 515
Statistics—341, 511, or above

Problems, seminar, and topics courses are not acceptable unless listed above. At least five elective hours must have a prerequisite.

Students majoring in physical science must earn grades of C or better in all courses (including transfer work) prescribed for this curriculum.

DAS 499. Physical Sciences Senior Report. (1) I, II. Individual exploration of an area of physical sciences culminating in a final formal written report. Capstone course required of physical sciences interdisciplinary major. Pr.: Permission of physical sciences advisor.

Social science

Social science is a branch of learning that examines society's institutions—their structures, theoretical foundations, evolution, and interrelationships—and how they affect and are affected by human behavior. The social science disciplines include American ethnic studies, anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, sociology, and women's studies. Selected courses in mass communication may also qualify.

A student works closely with a social science adivsor to determine a plan of study with a thematic emphasis. This theme includes a minimum of 12 hours of courses in the major. In general, only one course outside the stipulated social science disciplines may be used to count toward the major, if the course fits the student's theme.

The student's social science advisor may encourage him or her to confer with other social science faculty members who have expertise in the area of the student's interest.

A total of 36 credit hours must be completed with at least 3 credits being completed in each of four different social science disciplines.

At least 9 credit hours must be completed in one social science discipline, including at least one course at the 500-699 level.

At least 15 credit hours must be completed in social science disciplines at the 500- 699 level.

Students must complete at least one course in social science research methods or data analysis. This course may be any statistics (STAT) course that a student is qualified to take, or it may be selected from: GEOG 700 Quantitative Analysis in Geography; HIST 586 Junior Seminar in History; POLSC 400 Political Inquiry and Analysis; POLSC 700 Research Methods in Political Science; PSYCH 350 Experimental Methods in Psychology; SOCIO 520 Methods of Social Research.

The research/data course cannot be used to fulfill any other requirement in the major. It can, however, be used to fulfill a general requirement.

No more than 9 credit hours may be counted toward both the general requirements and the major.

A 2.0 GPA in the major is required for graduation.

The social science major is not available to students who will earn a degree in anthropology, economics, geography, history, mass communications, political science, psychology, sociology, or women's studies.

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