The bulk of adviser-student interactions involve discussions about degree requirements and courses. While we strive to bring clarity to the various components of a student's degree requirements, we believe a primary responsibility of advisers is to assist students in matching their academic interests and goals to the individual courses and timing of their course selections. In other words, we believe advisers should serve a key role in helping students grow intellectually. Below are some of the common topics we cover with our students.

Degree Requirements

We've devoted individual pages to help students learn more about our degree requirements. Take a look at the following pages for more information:

Course Sequencing and Scheduling

The ISS major was designed to be flexible and to allow students to customize their course work in order to achieve their individual academic, personal, and professional goals.  Students may attend full time, part time, and may even occasionally take a quarter off.  We believe this type of flexibility is vital for adult learners who have both professional and family responsibilities.  Although flexibility is a hallmark of ISS, the major also has a structure that builds a strong foundation in social science theory and practice, fosters a reflective learning process, and supports the work of integration and coherence.  The ISS core, consisting of 20 credits in sequenced course work, creates a framework for both learning and scheduling.  All ISS students should complete:

  • ISS 301 and 350 in the first quarter
  • ISS 302 in the second or third quarter
  • ISS 355 after the first and before the last quarters (ideally with some thematic courses completed)
  • ISS 401 in the final quarter of enrollment

See a couple of sample degree plans to visualize how flexible our degree can be.

Course load​

The ISS program offers both full-time and part-time enrollment options.  Either option should be manageable for working adults, although work schedules, family responsibilities, and other time commitments should be considered during registration.  The University of Washington uses a 3:1 ratio in calculating course work load.  In other words, for each credit of course work, figure 3 hours per week of work.  This means a 5-credit course represents a 15 hour per week commitment.  In their first quarter, all entering ISS majors are required to enroll in at least 7 credits of core courses:  ISS 301: Social Science Theory in Context (5 credits) and ISS 350: Portfolios in the Social Sciences (2 credits).  Eligibility for full-time financial aid requires minimum 12-credit enrollment; eligibility for part-time financial aid requires minimum 6-credit enrollment. Please talk to an adviser to determine the best fit for you!

Full-time students should expect to register for 12-17 credits per quarter, while part-time students may take as few as 7 credits.  It is not recommended that any ISS student enroll in more than 17 credits in any given quarter. Enrollment may vary from quarter to quarter as life circumstances change.

When can I graduate?

Your degree completion timeline depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The number of transferrable credits you have earned.
  • The number of your transfer credits that are directly applicable to the ISS major.
  • The number of credits you are able to complete every quarter (which will, in turn, depend on factors such as employment, family responsibilities, and other things that require your time and attention).
  • Your personal educational goals.

In general, full-time students who enter the program with 90 credits earned should be able to complete their degree in about 2 years.  Part-time students may need up to twice as long. Note that in your first quarter's courses you will be completing an individualized Learning Plan, to be reviewed by an ISS adviser, to help you map out the courses you will need to take to complete the degree requirements.