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The mission of the Integrated Social Sciences major is shaped by three broad institutional aims:

1. PROVIDE ACCESS: We strive to open the university to a broader population of students who may not otherwise have opportunities to pursue a high quality UW baccalaureate degree. We are excited about and committed to offering a BA degree completion option for prospective and current students that expands access to higher education.

2. PROMOTE DISCOVERY: We build on the pedagogical and technological innovations in internet-enabled communication to connect students with academic research and researchers in real time. Knowing the barriers of time and location, we strive to innovate in the delivery of online courses to create rich, interactive learning environments that help our students build new skills.

3. INSPIRE HOLISTIC LEARNING: We seek to deliver on the promise and potential of a 21st century liberal education through an interdisciplinary program built across the breadth of social sciences.​ Our curriculum recognizes that the complexity of our globalized world and interdependent social relations are better addressed by incorporating multiple disciplinary perspectives.

From its very beginning, these three aims have guided the development of the program. They also influence our day-to-day activities in ISS.

Our student-centered vision of the Integrated Social Sciences also builds on these goals with a commitment to integrating the valuable experience and knowledge that students bring to the online classroom environment themselves. Reflexive learning practice is integral to the ISS experience and offers students opportunities to reflect on how their past experiences and expertise in the world at large shape their learning just as much as what they learn informs their understanding of the world. We value inclusion, innovation and interdisciplinarity, and we believe that by integrating student engagement, self-reflection and personalized learning in our 7 thematic areas we can better help you integrate you own real world concerns and interests with research and study the social sciences.

“Our goal is to help you earn your UW BA in a way that gives you knowledge, skills, and intellectual habits that you can use for life in the world. We believe that integrating your studies with your experiences and expertise from the world beyond the university also enriches online learning itself. And in that same spirit, please keep in touch with any ideas for improving the program.”

Matt Sparke portrait

Professor Matt Sparke
Director of ISS


A Note About Accreditation

The University of Washington is fully accredited for all its online and on-campus courses. The UW is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and is a member of the Association of American Universities. Regional accreditation, the highest form of accreditation that a university or college can obtain, ensures that courses taken and degrees earned through the University of Washington will be accepted by other regionally accredited institutions recognized by Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA**) and the United States Department of Education (USDE).