Florida State University

Interdisciplinary Social Science Program

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Why Study ISS?

The value of interdisciplinary research and practice has risen in recent years, corresponding with a growth in the number of undergraduate degrees earned in interdisciplinary studies—more than 400% between 1973 and 2005, according to the National Center of Educational Statistics. The change can also be seen in the way research funding now often favors interdisciplinary collaborations over projects conducted by a single researcher in a single discipline.

Perspectives from a wide range of resources are bringing about a paradigmatic shift from a specialized focus on sequential causes and effects to a far more holistic viewpoint. ISS applies this “big picture” approach to the most pressing challenges of today’s world, recognizing the complexity and interconnectedness of the factors contributing to societal problems as well as the means to solve them.

A Student-Focused Educational Plan

Through the ISS program at Florida State University, students bridge economics, sociology, political science, geography, urban studies and other social science disciplines to develop skills and knowledge for problem identification, problem solving, and policy analysis. Working with faculty advisors, ISS students have the flexibility to design their major concentrations. Students choose courses from a variety of social science disciplines that best suit their interests. They can also choose from substantive concentrations based in social issues or categories of social science, such as law and society, urban studies, public service, environmental studies, public policy, and social entrepreneurship (see the link at left for Specializations and Concentrations).

More Than a Degree

Undergraduates in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy have ample opportunities to enhance their classroom education and draw from different disciplines with a range of programs, events, and activities that constitute the college’s Get More Than a Degree initiative. Internships, international study and service, leadership training, intensive research experience, lectures and campus visits from alumni working in the field—all these and more help students prepare to work in a global economy and become informed citizens in an increasingly interdependent world. For more about these opportunities, visit the college’s Get More Than a Degree page.