Jul 25, 2024  
2013-14 Undergraduate Catalog 
2013-14 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Interdisciplinary Studies

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View Programs and Courses 

View the Interdisciplinary Studies Flowsheets 


Associate Professor James Gubbins, Chairperson

Professor: Greg Carroll, Pamela Shaw-George

Associate Professor: Elizabeth A. Duclos-Orsello

Assistant Professor: Kimberly W. Poitevin

Faculty Emeriti

Professors: William A. Spohn, Albert M. Tosches

Programs Offered

Bachelor of Liberal Studies

Liberal Studies Concentrations:

American Studies 
Applied Ethics  (Options: Business Ethics , Environmental Ethics , Legal Ethics ,
Medical Ethics , Social Ethics )

Health Professions 
Intercultural Communications 
Interdisciplinary Studies 
Peace and Conflict Studies  (Options: Africa, Asia/Oceania, European/Mediterranean,
Latin America, Middle East, Nature, North America, and Culture)
Philosophy of Art and Culture 
Public Policy 

 Interdisciplinary Studies Minors

African-American Studies  
American Studies Minor 
Asian Studies  
East European and Russian Studies  
Information Technology in the Arts and Sciences  
Latin American and Latino Studies  
Marine Studies  
Peace Studies  
Pre-Law Studies  
Religious Studies  
Urban Studies  
Women’s Studies  

Interdisciplinary Special Programs

First Year Experience
Intercultural Leadership Program (ILP)

Bachelor of Liberal Studies

The Bachelor of Liberal Studies allows a student to follow a specific 36 credits interdisciplinary plan of study in a liberal studies concentration.

The remaining elective credits are to be used to fulfill at least one of the following:

A concentration in Educational Studies

An additional concentration in Liberal Studies or another major or minor

Free electives available will be determined by the above choices.

American Studies Concentration

Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello, Coordinator

American Studies–a field that traces its history in the academy to the early 20th century–is an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the people, society, institutions, and cultures of the United States (often called “America”) both past and present.  Key questions include: “Who are Americans?”, “What Do Americans Believe?” and “Where is America?” At Salem State our program is marked most notably by a focus on:

  • Cultural diversity and identity formation
  • Place-making, memory, and power
  • “America” and “Americans” as a part of a global system
  • Civic engagement and social change

In courses and through individual research activities American Studies students use and integrate the methods, theories, and scholarship of a wide range of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences and arts as they consider the various ways in which “American” identity is constructed, contested, and transformed through formal and informal means in all areas of human activity. Students engage with the city of Salem and with regional non-profit organizations and cultural institutions (e.g., museums and social service agencies) as part of standard coursework. Students also have opportunities for individualized experiential learning throughout the program. Given American Studies’ emphasis on a critical and integrative analysis of the United States in multiple contexts, students develop valuable transferable skills in critical reasoning, oral communication, writing, interdisciplinary thinking, and research. A degree in American Studies positions graduates to succeed in the 21st century global community while providing excellent preparation for many professions and numerous areas of graduate training.

The BLS/American Studies concentration includes a carefully sequenced set of core American Studies courses to ground and develop students’ knowledge of the field and its integrative approach.  In addition students select electives from courses in more than ten departments in the arts, humanities and social sciences to meet their unique needs and interests.

Salem State also offers an American Studies minor which consists of a pair of foundational interdisciplinary American Studies courses augmented by four courses selected from across the humanities and social sciences to meet the specific educational goals and interests of each student. 

The departments from which students may select elective courses are: Art + Design, Economics, English, Geography, History, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and Foreign Languages.

Applied Ethics Concentration
Philosophy of Art and Culture Concentration

William Cornwell, Coordinator   

Both Applied Ethics and Philosophy of Art and Culture Concentrations include courses in Philosophy and a diverse range of disciplines from the humanities, sciences, and pre-professional fields.  By helping students synthesize complex material from different fields, develop key skills in communication, critical reasoning, and ethics, and cultivate a unified vision of the modern world and their place in it, the concentrations prepare students for a variety of professions in today’s global, knowledge economy, including the media, medicine, the law, the arts, business, government, non-profit organizations, and more.  The concentrations also lay a strong foundation for graduate study in those fields, with law school and graduate study in philosophy or environmental studies being areas of particular student interest.  Either concentration can be part of a double major for students who want to combine the breadth and analytical rigor of one of the concentrations with a more focused major.  Applied Ethics has five focus options: Business Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Medical Ethics, Legal Ethics, and Social Ethics.  Students should choose one focus option and follow the requirements.

Focus Option I - Business Ethics

PHL 203 - Business Ethics 
AND nine credits from the following, but no more than three credits from the Philosophy Department:
BUS 252 - Business Law I 
ECO___ Economics Elective
MGT 231 - Management Theory and Practice 
**PHL 209 - Social Ethics 
**PHL 305 - Social and Political Philosophy 
**PHL 350H - Topics in Ethics 
*SPC 301N - Communication and Conflict Resolution 

Focus Option II - Environmental Ethics

PHL 224 - Environmental Ethics 
AND nine credits from the following, but no more than three credits from the Philosophy Department:
*BIO 208 - Environmental Problems: An Ecological Approach 
*BIO 301 - Conservation Biology 
*ECO 319 - Environmental and Natural Resource Economics 
*ENL 456 - Nature in American Literature 
GPH 376P - Conservation of Natural Resources 
*GPH 282P - Global Environmental Issues 
 IDS 102 - Environmental Science 
**PHL 209 - Social Ethics 
**PHL 305 - Social and Political Philosophy 
**PHL 350H - Topics in Ethics 
POL 304 - Environmental Politics 
*PSY 340 - Environmental Psychology 

Focus Option III - Legal Ethics

PHL 309A - Alternatives to Violence: Philosophical Approach                  
AND nine credits from the following, but no more than three credits from the Philosophy Department, with the exception of PHL325 (Symbolic Logic):
BUS 252 - Business Law I 
*COM 305 - Communications: Problems of Law and Ethics in Media 
CRJ 101 - Introduction to Criminal Justice 
CRJ 221 - Mediation 
*CRJ 410 - Comparative Criminal Justice 
*CRJ 432 - Criminal Law 
*CRJ 435 - Ethics in Criminal Justice Decision Making 
HST 208 - History of American Constitutions 
HST 210 - Legal History 
HST 211 - Civil Rights in American History 
HST 432 - English Constitutional History 
IDS 260 - Introduction to Pre-law Studies 
IDS 265 - Peace and Peace Building 
PHL 209 - Social Ethics 
PHL 305 - Social and Political Philosophy 
PHL 226 - Symbolic Logic I: Propositional Logic   
POL 316 - The American Judicial System 
POL 318 - Civil Liberties and Civil Rights 
*SOC 344 - Law and Society: Sociology of Law 

Focus Option IV - Medical Ethics

PHL 218 - Medical Ethics           
AND nine credits from the following, but no more than three credits from the Philosophy Department:
*ECO 318 - Health Economics 
HIS 366 - History of Health Care (inactive) 
**PHL 209 - Social Ethics 
**PHL 305 - Social and Political Philosophy 
**PHL 350H - Topics in Ethics 
PSY 330 - Psychology and the Law 
SOC 314 - On Death and Dying 
*SOC 349 - Medical Sociology 

Focus Option V - Social Ethics

PHL 209 - Social Ethics 
AND nine credits from the following, but no more than three credits from the Philosophy Department:
HST 304 - History of Women and Religion
HST 218 - U.S. Women’s History 
IDS 360 - Gender, Identity and Nationalism 
**PHL 305 - Social and Political Philosophy 
**PHL 350H - Topics in Ethics 
*SOC 301 - Social Thought II: Rebel Thought 
SOC 315 - Modern Life Styles 
*SOC 317 - Gender and Society 
*SOC 340 - Social Problems in the U.S. 
SWK 270 - Understanding Diversity and Cultural Competence in Human Services 

* Has a prerequisite

** If this course happens to be a PHL course listed among the options, then it cannot be used twice to fulfill the requirements.

Health Professions Concentration

The bachelor of liberal studies: health professions gives students who have an associate’s degree in a specific career field related to the health scieces the opportunity to have flexibility in planning a degree that will address both their professional experience and their future career goals.

If you are interested in this program, please contact Connie Nielson, academic advisor for Continuing Education, at 978.542.6935 or cnielson@salemstate.edu.

Interdisciplinary Studies Concentration

Pamela Shaw-George, Coordinator

The Interdisciplinary Studies concentration gives a student the opportunity to create an independent interdisciplinary course of study. This unique concentration was developed for a student who has a very specific professional objective/career and needs flexibility in planning a degree program. Students who create this independent course of study build a flow sheet reflecting courses that are cross disciplines. Any student interested in this concentration is required to meet with the Interdisciplinary Studies coordinator for information regarding eligibility. A formal proposal is required of each applicant that consists of a narrative including a statement detailing the student’s goals which support the flow sheet created by the student. It is strongly advised that students should apply prior to completing 60 credits. Once the proposal is completed, it is submitted to the Interdisciplinary Studies Academic Advisory Committee for review and final decision.

Limited enrollment in the Interdisciplinary Studies concentration is permitted for students from both Day and Evening College. A minimum of 72 credits is required in the Elective curriculum in this concentration. Of these elective credits, not more than 18 credits may be taken in the basic courses in the various subject areas. The remaining 59 or more credits must be taken above the introductory level in at least two disciplines and the program must show a progression through upper-division courses in the disciplines.

For further information regarding this concentration, admission requirements and approval of a plan of study, consult the Coordinator of the Bachelor of Liberal Studies major, Interdisciplinary Studies concentration located in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department.

Peace and Conflict Studies Concentration

Greg Carroll, Coordinator

The Peace and Conflict Studies Concentration within the Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Liberal Studies Major, is concerned with the issues of peace, sources of conflict, their resolution, and social justice. The program of study draws upon the strengths of a range of disciplines and focuses on developing an understanding of recent history, contemporary social/political structures, the problems associated with these structures, the ethical values embedded in these structures, potential conflicts, and possible paths to resolution. We live in a world where our ability to live peacefully with other peoples and cultures is crucial. In the Peace and Conflict Studies Concentration, students are given the opportunity to engage in critical thinking and dialogue in order to develop the skills of conflict transformation. These skills can then be applied to one of seven different focus options, six of which are regionally based (see below for list of focus options). Many careers are increasingly requiring an understanding of, and sensitivity to, sources of conflict and possible alternatives. This is especially true in areas such as international relations, education, law, health care, and human services.

The final Core Course (taken in the senior year) is:

 : this course provides a capstone experience where students write up and present their focus option research developed from their research proposal in  

Core Courses (18 Credits)


Core Courses (18 Credits)

In consultation and approval with the program coordinator are to select courses from across the University that clearly fit into one of the following specific areas:                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

  1. Africa
  2. Europe and the Mediterranean
  3. Middle East
  4. Asia Oceania
  5. Latin America
  6. North America
  7. Nature
  8. Culture
  9. International Governance

Courses should be above the introductory level with no more than three course from any one department.         

A full list of courses that are appropriate to the specific Focus Options is available from the Interdisciplinary Studies or by contacting the Program Coordinator.

The Peace and Conflict Studies program also offers an African Fieldwork Experience in Liberia that can be used as part of the Peace and Conflict Studies program with the fieldwork component taking place in either the Winter Intersession or during the Summer break.

Public Policy Concentration

Chris Fauske, Coordinator

The Public Policy Concentration within the Bachelors of Liberal Studies emphasizes multidisciplinary training in the social sciences organized around understanding the policy process at both the domestic and international levels. The concentration assists students in developing a practical and conceptual understanding of the complex nature of how policy decisions and their implementations shape the functioning of society. The Public Policy Concentration has been designed to aid individuals interested in learning to analyze policy alternatives and make recommendations and partner with business and community organizations to improve quality of life. Core courses have been carefully selected from existing course offerings at the university to engage with and support the university’s and program’s aims of civic engagement and social justice. Students have the choice of two focus options that have been developed to extend a student’s understanding in one of two distinct directions, either urban planning or grassroots organizing.  Students apply to the program in their sophomore year.

Core Courses (21 credits)


Focus Option: Urban Planning (15 credits)
GPH 374 - Urban and Environmental Planning I  

Focus Option: Grassroots Organizing (15 credits)

Intercultural Leadership Program

The Intercultural Leadership Program is a freshmen learning community for culturally diverse students who are committed to academic excellence, leadership, mentoring and civic engagement. The ILP is centered on the interdisciplinary themes of global awareness, critical thinking, collaborative learning and community building. Students accepted in the ILP are given the opportunity to become a student mentor and to earn up to 24 credits in Composition I and II, World History I and II, Public Speaking for Social Justice, Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies, Critical Reasoning and Mentoring. ILP students are encouraged to become active participants in their learning and to explore different ways of learning.

Interdisciplinary Studies Minors

The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies encourages and facilitates interdepartmental cooperation in the development of curriculum and programs. Courses and academic minors offer integrated approaches to learning and include components of community involvement and community service learning.

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