Interdisciplinary Studies

Bachelor of Arts Degree

The B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies offers students the opportunity to pursue an individualized curriculum that integrates focused study in a specific field with an interdisciplinary perspective that explores the relationships among technology, culture, and society. Our program is designed for students who are interested in a rigorous and flexible course of study that prepares them with both the breadth and depth of knowledge to apply their chosen area of specialization to the range of opportunities afforded by our rapidly changing modern society.

Our Mission
Our mission is to engage in critical inquiry into the relationships among culture, society, and technology and to understand how these interactions shape the world in which we live. We strive to do so in a manner that is humanistic in orientation, interdisciplinary in breadth, historical and cross-cultural in scope, and integrative in vision.

We adopt this perspective because we believe that a complex and interconnected world is best understood not from a single point of view but through interdisciplinary inquiry that can explore and integrate knowledge from different fields. We also believe that in a dynamic and fast-changing society, flexibility and adaptability are as important for success and innovation as is specialization.

The B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies prepares students for a diverse range of educational, professional, and occupational goals, including graduate study, law school, teacher education, and careers in the public and private sectors in which possessing a wide range of knowledge and skills is an asset. By encouraging students to individualize their program of study, we enable them to identify, explore, and develop their own intellectual and professional interests and, by gaining a deeper understanding of the social, cultural, and historical contexts in which they live, to creatively engage and take advantage of the opportunities presented by our modern world.

Overview of the IDS Program of Study
The program of study for the B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies consists of three components: an Area of Concentration, the Interdisciplinary Studies Program Core, and the Capstone Sequence.

I. Area of Concentration (20-28 credits)
Students in the program gain depth of knowledge in a specific field by choosing an area of concentration and completing 20-28 credits of coursework in that field. The area of concentration allows students to specialize in a discipline or area that reflects their own educational and professional goals and can be selected from among any of the majors, minors, or concentrations offered at SUNY Poly. Students with specialized curricular interests, such as those planning to apply to graduate programs in fields such as law, education, and library science, may design an integrated area of concentration that will best prepare them for achieving their goals.

II. Interdisciplinary Studies Program Core (24 credits)
The Interdisciplinary Studies Program Core provides students with the breadth of knowledge and the critical, analytical, and communication skills needed to situate and apply their individual concentrations within a larger intellectual, social, and cultural context. The IDS Core is built around three interdisciplinary Areas of Inquiry that prompt students to think about, analyze, and understand the complex, interrelated world in which we live.

III. Capstone Sequence (8 credits)
The culmination of the program is a two-course capstone sequence in which students demonstrate mastery of their Area of Concentration and its integration with the IDS Program Core. Students are encouraged to design projects that prepare them to achieve their next goal, whether academic or professional.

In addition to demonstrating their knowledge and skills through their capstone projects, students may also take up to 4 credits of internships to gain additional experience in their chosen area of specialization.

Degree Requirements Overview
To earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Interdisciplinary Studies a student must fulfill the following:

  • Satisfactory completion of 124 credit-hours of college level work as specified below
  • Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 45 credit-hours of upper-division work of which 30 credit-hours must be taken at SUNY Poly
  • Achievement of a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in courses taken at SUNY Poly
  • A grade of C or better in all courses in the IDS Program (core courses, methods, capstone, and area of concentration)
  • A grade of C or better in COM 308 or an approved alternative
  • A maximum of 30 credits in professional and technical (i.e. non-Arts and Sciences) courses

B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS)—124 total credits

Students shall satisfy the requirements listed below.

I. SUNY General Education Requirements (30 credits)

All SUNY students must satisfy the following requirements.

No fewer than 30 credits must be attained from the SUNY approved General Education Course List with the following provisions:

  • Mathematics
  • Basic Communication (ENG 101 or equivalent)

At least five (5) out of the following eight (8) SUNY General Education categories:

  • Natural Science
  • Social Science
  • American History
  • Western Civilization
  • Other World Civilization
  • Humanities
  • The Arts
  • Foreign Language

NOTE:  You may take more than one course in a given category to complete this 30 credit hour requirement, but you must also satisfy the appropriate number of categories.

II.  Liberal Arts/Sciences Requirements

The New York State Education Department (SED) requires a student earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree to attain no fewer than 90 credits of combined SUNY General Education and Liberal Arts/Sciences courses. There may be overlap between courses meeting the SUNY General Education Requirements, Liberal Arts/Sciences Requirements, and Interdisciplinary Studies Program Core but a student may receive course credits only once even if multiple requirements are satisfied by a single course. The total number of combined credit hours must be no fewer than 90 credits.

SUNY Poly degree requirements: (8 credits)

  • One course which shall be a General Education Natural Science course.
  • Upper-Division Writing Course  (COM 308 or approved alternative)

III. Interdisciplinary Studies Program Requirements (52-60 credits)

i. Area of Concentration  (20-28 credits)
Students must complete 20-28 credits, depending on the option selected, in an Area of Concentration chosen by the student.

Option A Area of Concentration (20 credits)
Students must complete 20 credits in an Area of Concentration of their choice. Students may choose their Area of Concentration from among any of the program majors, minors, or program concentrations offered at SUNY Poly, as well as from some additional fields. Students are required to demonstrate that they have attained depth of knowledge in their area of concentration by taking a minimum of 8 credits at the 300/400 level.

Option B Area of Concentration (28 credits)
Students with specialized curricular interests may opt to design a 28 credit individualized program of study, to be developed in consultation with their faculty advisor and approved by the Interdisciplinary Studies faculty. Students must take a minimum of 12 credits at the 300/400 level.

ii. Interdisciplinary Studies Program Core (24 credits)
Students must complete 8 credits in each of the three Areas of Inquiry that define the IDS Program Core, with a minimum of 4 credits in each Area of Inquiry completed at the 300/400 level. Students must complete at least one course in each Area of Inquiry carrying the Critical Studies in Technology (CST) designation.

A. Histories and Systems of Thought:
Explores the development and significance of major intellectual and cultural themes that shape the way we think about the world. Themes include the development and influence of technological ways of thinking and systems of thought.

  • IDS 201: Perspectives on Knowledge
  • IDS 400: Prominent Themes in Western Civilization Since the Renaissance (CST)

B. Social and Political Contexts:
Examines the interrelationships between social and political contexts and social practices: i.e. how social and political contexts shape social practices, and how social, political, and technical practices articulate, express, and shape (and challenge, resist, and reconfigure) social relations, including relations of power. Includes the examination of how technologies articulate socio-political practices, and how technological developments shape and reshape the contexts of social practice.

  • IDS 103: Science, Technology, and Human Values (CST)
  • IDS 203: Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society (CST)
  • IDS 304: Technology in American History (CST)
  • IDS/HIS 306: Science and Technology in World History
  • IDS 380: Critical Perspectives on Digital Society (CST)
  • HIS 375: Gender Issues in World History

C. Cultural Analysis and Interpretation:
Examines forms and modes of cultural expression and develops the analytical and interpretive practices for building a critical understanding of the cultural environment, the ways in which cultural objects articulate social and historical contexts, and the ways in which cultural practices shape subjectivity and social relations. Includes the study of how technologies shape representational and cultural practices, and the critical analysis and interpretation of representations of technology.

  • IDS 102: Art and Culture
  • IDS 220: Creativity and Culture
  • IDS 301: Monsters, Robots, Cyborgs (CST)
  • IDS 302: Postmodernism and Popular Culture (CST)
  • IDS 303: The Body in Western Thought and Culture
  • IDS 311: Humor and Comedy in Society
  • IDS 435: Art and Technology (CST)

iii. Capstone Sequence  (8 credits)
Students must demonstrate skills in research and critical inquiry, together with mastery and integration of their chosen area of concentration with the IDS Program Core, by completing the methods and capstone project course.

  • IDS 410: Research and Critical Methods
  • IDS 499: Interdisciplinary Studies Project

Electives (26-34 credits)
Students must complete the balance of the 124 required credits in college-level courses in any discipline carrying SUNY Poly or transferable credit.