Individually-designed concentration

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This concentration is an option for students who wish to create a customized program of study to earn a BA in Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences by combining selected courses from a range of possibilities within the School of IAS and--potentially--from other undergraduate programs at UW Tacoma. Students are required to identify a central organizing theme for their concentration and design it under the guidance and supervision of a SIAS faculty member and a SIAS advisor. A 5-credit thesis is required at the end of the senior year.

Note: All SIAS concentrations and majors require a minimum of 45 credits of upper division (300-400 level) courses and 45 credits of SIAS courses. UW residence requirements apply. See an advisor for details.

To propose an individually-designed concentration, students must do the following:

  1. Consult with an academic advisor to ensure you understand the requirements of the individually designed concentration. 
  2. Identify the unifying interdisciplinary theme of your concentration. Consider what faculty would be appropriate as mentors and consult with them as needed during the development phase.
  3. Identify the courses taken or planned. The list should be comprised of 55 credits, plus the 5 credit thesis. Meet with your SIAS academic advisor for assistance. This is essential for transfer students.
  4. Draft a 2-3 page proposal that includes:
    • a brief descriptive title
    • the rationale for the proposed concentration
    • a general description of the concentration
    • a rationale and discussion of the interrelationships among the courses chosen
    • a complete course list (must include 55 credits plus the senior thesis)
  5. Secure the support of at least one SIAS faculty member to be your sponsor for the concentration. The faculty sponsor attests to the intellectual soundness of the proposal and agrees to provide whatever guidance s/he and the student may jointly decide is needed. The faculty sponsor may also suggest changes in the previously approved written proposal or list of courses.
  6. Choose one SIAS academic advisor to work with you to help keep track of your progress toward graduation.
  7. Add the Agreement and Declaration page to the proposal and have it signed by the faculty sponsor and academic advisor. The Division Chair must also approve.
  8. Submit the proposal for approval to the concentration coordinator by the end of the junior year.

Once your proposal has been approved, continue working with the concentration coordinator, your faculty sponsor, and your academic advisor to ensure your concentration is completed appropriately.

Individually-designed concentration BA IAS degree requirements

For the individually-designed concentration, you need to complete 55 credits. You must earn a total of 180 quarter credits, or 225 quarter credits for a double degree, in order to earn a bachelor of arts degree in your chosen major.

Individually-Designed Core: 55 credits
TIAS 497 Senior Thesis (5 credits)

Total: 60 credits

Required Distribution for Graduation
At least 20 credits overall must be taken from each of the required Areas of Knowledge below.
These courses count toward the core and/or elective credit totals.

  • Visual Literary and Performing Arts (V)
  • Individuals and Society (I & S)
  • Natural World (NW)
    To include one course in Environmental Science Transfer or TESC prefix.


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