ISS Degree Requirements

Like all undergraduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, the bachelor’s degree with a major in Integrated Social Sciences requires 180 total quarter credits. These 180 credits are divided into three requirement areas: 1) General Education, 2) ISS Major Requirements, and 3) Electives.

Venn diagram for requirements

General Education

The single biggest part of your B.A. is comprised of general education coursework, requiring up to 95 credits. Your general education courses provide a strong foundation in quantitative, writing, and language skills. They ensure that you receive a broad and varied liberal learning experience so that you understand how to think across the arts and humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Since ISS is a degree completion program, most students enter with all or the majority of their general education requirements done. However, you may have some requirements left to finish. ISS majors are most likely to need a few credits in Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA), Natural World (NW), or Foreign Language (FL). Once an ISS adviser has verified that all your transfer courses are assigned properly to general education requirements, you should be able to track your progress accurately with the Degree Audit reporting System (DARS). ISS students select general education courses from the Group Start and Self-paced online courses offered by UW Educational Outreach. You may also take traditional or online courses through transfer institutions, such as community colleges. Be sure to consult an ISS adviser about any transfer courses you plan to take. 

ISS Major Requirements

The second largest component of your bachelor’s degree is your 60-credit academic major in Integrated Social Sciences. ISS students are allowed to apply 10-15 credits of prior course work in the social sciences toward the major. Your adviser will help you decide which credits to apply to the major so that your course work makes both practical and intellectual sense. The minimum requirement is 45 credits completed “in residence” in the ISS program after admission. The residence requirement in the major ensures that all ISS students reap the full benefit of the integrated learning experience in the major and simultaneously meet the UW 45-credit residence requirement. 


The third degree component is elective credit. Electives are courses from any discipline that you choose for intellectual, professional, or personal development. You may choose electives from the ISS curriculum (i.e., additional courses from the thematic areas beyond the minimum you need for the major). Or, as with general education requirements, you may choose Group Start or Self-paced online courses, or transfer courses. How many total transferable credits you had upon entering the program will determine whether or not you need elective credits to reach 180.

Please visit our Degree Planning page for more information about scheduling and course planning.