Degrees and Concentrations

The School of Integrative Studies (SIS) offers three undergraduate majors and eight minors.  Integrative studies majors select a concentration or work with student services staff to develop their own concentration, uniquely suited to their academic and career goals. Similarly, environmental and sustainability studies majors select a concentration that matches their personal aspirations. 

Students intending to pursue advanced degrees can combine their undergraduate studies with graduate work and attain an accelerated masters degree while at Mason. Many SIS concentrations can be combined with graduate programs in the following Mason colleges and schools:

  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences,
  • College of Education and Human Development,
  • College of Health and Human Services,
  • Schar School of Policy and Government and
  • Scalia Law School.

SIS also offers the following three semester-long programs that combine coursework and internships:

  • The Non-Profit Fellows (in Arlington),
  • The Social Innovation Fellows (in Arlington), and
  • The Smithsonian-Mason Semester (in Front Royal).

These programs give students the chance to focus deeply on one area of study and pair their coursework with hands-on professional experience. Details on Accelerated Masters degree options and other special programs can be found on the Program page.

Through SIS, students create a college experience that prepares them for a future with meaning and impact.

BA in Human Development and Family Science

BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies

This degree provides students with theoretical and practical knowledge of three aspects of environmental and sustainability studies: people, prosperity, and planet.

BA in Integrative Studies

The integrative studies degree at Mason allows you to gain in-depth knowledge in a wide range of subjects while gaining practical, career-motivated experience. Through the degree, offered by the School of Integrative Studies, you will work with our experienced, award-winning faculty in discussion-oriented courses and a variety of out-of-classrooom experiences.

Childhood Studies concentration in the BA in Integrative Studies

The Childhood Studies concentration is designed to prepare students to understand childhood from an interdisciplinary perspective. The program provides students with an in-depth understanding of childhood in historical, contemporary, and global contexts and prepares them for careers in a wide variety of areas, including preschool teaching, child welfare and advocacy, child health and wellness, juvenile justice, youth programming, and other human services areas. In addition, the program emphasizes collaboration and community involvement and incorporates study in child policy, parenting, and family development.

Individualized concentration in the BA in Integrative Studies

An individualized concentration is the equivalent of a major in a traditional degree program. The coursework for the individualized concentration consists of traditional courses from multiple departments, learning communities, independent study, and experiential learning chosen with guidance from an academic advisor.

International Studies concentration in the BA in Integrative Studies

This concentration enables students to understand and assess society within international, human and social contexts. Students can focus on business, conflict transformation, or a specific geographical area: Africa, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, or Southeast Asia.

Liberal Arts for the Teaching Professions concentration in the BA in Integrative Studies

This degree meets the Virginia Department of Education endorsement requirements and will prepare students for graduate licensure programs.  Students should meet with Mason's endorsement specialist throughout their undergraduate degree as well as integrative studies academic advisors.

Legal Studies concentration in the BA in Integrative Studies

This concentration is an integrated degree which combines coursework in communication, political systems, criminology, ethics and philosophy, history, and economics to prepare students for the rigors of graduate work in the area of law or the field of alternative dispute resolution.

Leadership and Organizational Development concentration in the BA in Integrative Studies

This concentration combines a liberal arts curriculum and the practicality of business skills. Focuses around a central idea: knowing how people react to organizations and how organizations react to people.

Social Innovation and Enterprise concentration in the BA in Integrative Studies

Many approaches to addressing social and environmental issues start from a single professional perspective. Engineers, for example, will pursue a technical solution whereas a businessperson might employ an entrepreneurial approach. While professional avenues like these are powerful, a novel method is emerging known as social innovation. Social innovators develop solutions by integrating across the professional sectors of government, business and nonprofit in ways that open new opportunities for addressing social and environmental challenges. This interdisciplinary concentration in Social Innovation is designed to introduce students to the foundations of social innovation and the practical techniques social innovators employ to create solutions that balance people, profit and the planet (i.e. the triple-bottom line). Through an emphasis on experiential learning in team-based innovation projects, students will integrate theory and practice as they develop the knowledge and skills of social innovators.

Social Justice and Human Rights concentration in the BA in Integrative Studies

This concentration is designed to prepare students with the knowledge and competencies necessary for vocations or further study related to social, political, and economic equality; human rights education, advocacy, and law; and domestic and global justice. Students examine local, societal, and global issues through both a human rights lens, focusing on the fundamental rights of human beings and how they are secured or denied, and a social justice lens, focusing on societal inequalities and how they are sustained or alleviated.

Social Science for Education concentration in the BA in Integrative Studies

This degree meets the Virginia Department of Education endorsement requirements and will prepare students for graduate licensure programs.  Students should meet with Mason's endorsement specialist throughout their undergraduate degree as well as integrative studies academic advisors.

Women and Gender Studies concentration in the BA in Integrative Studies

By choosing to pursue work in women and gender studies, students at all levels engage in an interdisciplinary exploration of gender in social, political, cultural, and economic life; gender in history; women and the media; feminist theory; the relationship between sex and gender; the impact of sex, race, class, disability, and sexual orientation on people’s lives; and the ways in which gender stereotypes influence the self in relationship to others. Students in many courses have the opportunity to investigate these issues in a cross-cultural and global perspective.

BIS in Individualized Study

Mason's Bachelor of Individualized Study (BIS) program is a degree completion program for adult learners. BIS offers students generous transfer credit options and a distinctive educational opportunity to integrate other college-level learning, such as professional or military experience, into university coursework. Students create interdisciplinary concentrations to meet their own educational needs including to advance professionally, to prepare for graduate or professional programs, or to plan a path toward a career change.

BS in Integrative Studies

The bachelor of science degree in integrative studies is based on intensive, interdisciplinary learning communities coordinated with traditional academic programs. The result is an integrated program of study that emphasizes collaboration, experiential learning, and self-reflection.

Applied Global Conservation concentration in the BS in Integrative Studies

Students learn how to effectively address global conservation challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem collapse.

Individualized concentration in the BS in Integrative Studies

An individualized concentration is the equivalent of a major in a traditional degree program. The coursework for the individualized concentration consists of traditional courses from multiple departments, learning communities, independent study, and experiential learning chosen with guidance from an academic advisor.

Life Sciences concentration in the BS in Integrative Studies

This concentration is geared towards students interested in working in medical and health promotion fields. Courses of study included under the life sciences concentration are: Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental, Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Physician’s Assistant, Pre-Pharmacy, and Pre-Physical Therapy.

Minor in Human Development and Family Science

Minor in Childhood Studies

The interdisciplinary minor in childhood studies is designed for students who have a child-related focus in their major and for those who want to explore the topic of childhood. This minor focuses on the study of issues concerning children and their representations, including their experiences in society within historical and contemporary cultures and global contexts.

Minor in Conservation Studies

The Minor in Conservation Studies is designed for undergraduate students who wish to augment their main academic program with conservation studies taught in an experiential manner.

All requirements for this minor can be fulfilled by successful completion (C or higher in all courses) of any one of the three, semester-long residential programs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, VA.  Students choose between:

  • Conservation, Biodiversity and Society is offered both in the Spring and Fall and explores the ways that science, management and policy address current conservation issues in and out of the field.
  • Wildlife Ecology and Conservation is offered every Fall and helps students apply cutting-edge field techniques to survey species in the wild and investigate ecological patterns and processes from local to global scales.
  • Endangered Species Conservation is offered every Spring and enables students to evaluate vulnerabilities of small populations and develop successful conservation actions to save them from extinction.

The semesters are offered jointly by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Science under the auspices of the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation and students are taught by GMU faculty, Smithsonian scientists and other practitioners.

Minor in Leadership

The interdisciplinary minor in leadership prepares students for transformative leadership in campus, local, national, and global contexts. Interdisciplinary and integrative classes examine leadership from multiple perspectives and disciplines, offering an understanding of socially-responsible leadership with an emphasis on community action.

Minor in Multimedia

In the multimedia minor, students learn how to create original work and communicate with others through the fusion of images, text, sound, and video. Students analyze and incorporate into their productions contemporary design principles and current software applications.

Minor in Social Innovation

Social Innovation is designed to help you understand and develop viable solutions to pressing social and environmental problems. There are many approaches to addressing societal concerns including governmental policy and social activism. Social Innovators engage these sectors but also utilize the entrepreneurial practices of the business sector to build solutions that are self-sustaining and scalable and are not dependent on charitable contributions or government funding.

Minor in Well-Being

The School of Integrative Studies interdisciplinary minor in consciousness and transformation provides students with a well-grounded understanding of the nature of human consciousness, including both the historical foundations and modern research findings. 

Minor in Nonprofit Studies

The interdisciplinary minor in nonprofit studies is designed to introduce students to the theoretical foundations and practical skills needed to be successful in this sector. Through heavy emphasis on experiential learning with the many excellent nonprofit organizations in our region, students learn to apply theory within the context of today's complex and rapidly changing environment.

Minor in Social Justice

The minor in social justice engages students in both a critical examination of various forms of injustice (such as poverty, racism, and speciesism, and environmental degradation) and an exploration of strategies for creating and sustaining an equitable and just world. The minor is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on disciplines as distinct as critical race studies, critical animal studies, and environmental science. It is designed particularly to help students consider the intersectional nature of all types of exploitation and their related movements for liberation.

Minor in Sustainability Studies

This interdisciplinary minor is housed jointly in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy (College of Science) and in the School of Integrative Studies (College of Humanities and Social Sciences).