Back to University Catalog 2005-2007

Special Major

Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Science


Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies

Master of Science Interdisciplinary Studies



Edward J. Whetmore,Dean, Undergraduate Studies
Office:WH A-340, (310) 243-3213

Laura Robles, Dean, Graduate Studies and Research††††††††††††††††

Office:WH A-340, (310) 243-3693


General Description

Students who have academic or professional goals that are not easily met by one of the regular degree programs at CSU Dominguez Hills may find that one of the undergraduate Special Majors programs or Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies/Special Major is more suitable to their unique needs and interests.Through these programs, students can integrate studies from two (or more) departments or schools, either concentrating on each equally or choosing one department or option as the primary emphasis with the other(s) as secondary.

Both undergraduate Special Major and Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies/Special Major programs are intended to be focused, pre- planned progressions toward well-defined objectives.A Special Major or Minor student will need an appropriate advisory committee chosen from the departments involved.The program of study for either the undergraduate Special Major/Minor or the Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies Major must be chosen from the represented departments and must be supportable by: (1) courses already offered in the regular degree programs; and (2) the expertise of members of CSU Dominguez Hills permanent faculty.



There are some restrictions with regard to the Special Major/Minor.Specific restrictions are described under each program; general restrictions include the following:


Undergraduate Special Major

This major is not to be used to:

q substitute for a recognized undergraduate major offered
by the University.

q bypass normal graduation requirements.

q serve as an alternative to a program in which the student
is in academic difficulty.


Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies/Special Major

This graduate option cannot be granted if the studentís objective(s) can be met by regular programs offered by other colleges or universities in the Los Angeles area, nor can it be used in place of degree requirements or graduate degree programs already offered on campus.

A student working toward the Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies /Special Major is subject to the Universityís policies and must complete all academic requirements prescribed by the University.



For selected students, the Special Major Programs provide an opportunity to pursue an individualized course of study in order to attain a Bachelor of Arts/Science or a Master of Arts/Science Degree.Thus, such a program would enable students to cut across regular academic areas to develop an integrated major, minor or graduate option tailored to their own educational and career goals.

Each Special Major (or minor) or Graduate IDS has a specially appointed faculty Advisory Committee. This committee works with and gives special attention to the student.With careful planning, most programs of study can be completed by attending evening and/or daytime classes.

Programs at both the bachelorís and masterís level provide students with three unique features:

q the ability to create an educationally sound and intellectually rich program of study that answers the studentís own particular needs, including career needs;

q a course of study that draws upon the diverse curriculum of
the University yet focuses on study areas of particular interest;

q the opportunity to work closely with a selected group of faculty advisors.


Academic Advisement


Undergraduate students who wish to pursue a Special Major or Minor, MUST contact the Director of the Undergraduate Program (WH A-340, (310) 243-3213).The Director will assist the student in contacting an appropriate faculty advisor.


The Office of Graduate Studies will assist the Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies major.Students interested in pursuing this program should phone (310) 243-3693 for an appointment.††


Undergraduate Special Major/Minor


Since students must prepare a proposal in consultation with a faculty advisor and obtain approval fromthat advisor, members of the Advisory Committee, appropriate deans and the Coordinator of General Education before taking the courses comprising the major/minor, it is imperative that they do the necessary planning and paperwork as early as possible.Students should complete all lower division GeneralEducation requirements before beginning SpecialMajor or Minor coursework.


Procedures for Declaring an Undergraduate Special Major or Minor

To initiate a Special Major or Minor, contact an appropriate faculty advisor directly or ask the assistance of the Director of the Advisement Center locating an advisor.In consultation with this advisor, prepare a proposal for either the undergraduate Special Major or Minor Program.

The proposal must include:

1.†† a written statement giving reasons for undertaking the Special Major or Minor in terms of academic and professional goals and explaining (a) why these goals cannot be met through the standard programs of the campus and (b) how they may be best pursued in a special program;

2.†† a tentative listing of courses and/or competencies that would, in the judgment of the student and his/her advisor, lead to the accomplishment of the stated goals.

The two-part proposal is then forwarded by the advisor to the appropriate academic dean(s), who appoint(s) faculty members from the major fields of interest to serve with the advisor on a Special Major or Minor Advisory Committee.The committee reviews and approves the two-part proposal and subsequently monitors the studentís progress in the program once final approval is granted.After the Advisory Committeeís initial approval of the proposal, it is forwarded in succession to the associate dean of academic affairs, to the appropriate dean(s) and to the vice president, academic affairs.Upon final approval, the proposal is returned to the associate dean of academic affairs.The student is not enrolled as a Special Major or Minor until this formal procedure is completed.

Graduation with Honors

An undergraduate student may be a candidate for graduation with honors in Special Major provided he or she meets the following criteria:

1.†† A minimum of 36 units in residence at CSU Dominguez Hills;

2.†† A minimum grade point average of at least 3.5 in all courses used to satisfy the upper division requirements in the major;

3.†† Recommendation by the faculty in the department or program in which the honors are to be awarded.


Major Requirements - B.A./B.S. (minimum 24 units)

Students completing this major will need to complete a minor.


Special Major Guidelines

1.†† Students must formally request admission to a Special Major Program following the procedures described above for declaring a Special Major or Minor.

2.†† Students may not use a Special Major to substitute for a recognized degree program not offered at CSU Dominguez Hills, e.g. Psychobiology.

3.†† The Special Major may not be used to bypass normal graduation requirements.

4.†† Students may not substitute the Special Major for a major in which they are having academic difficulty.

5.†† A student working toward the special major is subject to university-wide policy relative to admission, scholastic standards and graduation requirements.

6.†† In order to be admitted to the Special Major Program, students are required to have more than one full year of academic work still to be completed to meet minimum degree requirements.†† That is, students will not be admitted to the undergraduate Special Major unless they have 31 or more semester units to complete out of a total of 120 semester units.

7.†† The minimum requirement for the Special Major Degree is a program of at least 24 semester units of upper division work recommended by a studentís major advisor.

8.†† Students cannot use the following types of courses to meet the minimum degree requirements for the undergraduate Special Major:neither (1) upper division or lower division courses used to meet General Education requirements, nor (2) professional educational courses, nor (3) graduate courses (500 level).

9.†† The requirement of a minor is applicable to all special major undergraduate students.

10. Students may not also pursue a Special Minor.††


Minor Requirements(15 units)

1.†† Students must follow the formal procedures for declaring a Special Major or Minor.

2.†† Students may not pursue a Special Minor if they also have a Special Major.

3.†† A Special Minor must contain at least 15 upper division semester units, at least 10 of which must be taken after the proposal is approved.

4.†† Students cannot use the following types of courses to meet the minimum requirements for the Special Minor:Neither (1) upper division or lower division courses used to meet General Education requirements, nor (2) professional educational courses.††


Major Requirements - M.A./M.S.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted into the Interdisciplinary Studies/Special Major graduate program the student must:

1.†† possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college, with a grade point average of 3.0 or better in the last 60 semester units attempted (not including lower division or extension units);

2.†† submit two letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the studentís potential for graduate school;

3.†† schedule an interview with the Coordinator of the Graduate Special Major Program;

4.†† submit, along with the formal application to the program, 150-200 word, typed Statement of Purpose which describes the academic qualifications and educational goals of the applicant, and explains how the Special Major will support those goals;

5.†† be able to demonstrate the eligibility to take proposed graduate level courses;

6.†† complete the GRE General Test and score at least 4 on the GRE Analytical Writing Test;

7. demonstrate above average writing skills;


Degree Requirements

The Advisory Committee, which consists of at least three faculty members including the coordinator of the Graduate Special Major, helps the student prepare a program of study. The program of study must:

1.†† be in support of the studentís major objectives as specified in the accepted program;(If a bachelorís degree and/or background does not adequately prepare the student for the proposed program, he/she may be required to take additional prerequisite coursework before admission to the program.)

2.†† include a minimum of 30 upper division and graduate level semester units approved by the Coordinator of Graduate Studies;

3.†† include a minimum of 21 semester units of 500 level courses;

4.†† include no lower division courses;

5.†† include no undergraduate courses in lieu of comparable graduate level courses;

6.†† include no more than 18 units from any onedepartment;

7.†† make provision for a capstone activity (thesis or project); satisfactory completion of this requirement will be determined and certified by the Advisory Committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies;

†††† 8.include no more than three thesis units;descriptions of the Capstone Activity courses, signed by the faculty advisor must be attached to the program-of-study;

†††† 9.include no more than nine units of work completed prior to approval of this program;*

†† 10.include no more than six units of independent study type courses;descriptions of these courses, signed by the faculty advisor must be attached to the program-of- study;*

†† approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies, the faculty committee and the chair of the departments involved.

†† all university requirements for the masterís degree.Students should consult the section of the catalog entitled ďGraduate Degrees and Postbaccalaureate Studies.Ē


*Any units in excess of the maximum cannot be counted in the required 30 units.

The studentís transcript will read:Master of Arts/Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies in the focus or theme of study in three words or less; the use of the name of an academic unit must first be approved by the unit and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Students wishing to alter their program after it has been approved must repeat the same review process:they need to secure the approval of their Advisory Committee, the approval of the appropriate graduate coordinator(s), and the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, prior to any change.