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Bachelor of Science inIntegrated Social Sciences

Program summary

Study society and the relationships among individuals and institutions. This online bachelor’s program is ideal for students with diverse interests within the social sciences. The curriculum also boasts a large range of electives, often making it the most useful option for students who want to maximize previously earned credit.

100% Online

Complete your Penn State course work at your own pace and 100% online.

Application deadline

Apply by March 15 to start May 13

Credits and costs

120 Credits$626/$671 per credit

Nationally Recognized

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Our bachelor's degrees are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Gain Critical Soft Skills Needed for the Modern Workplace

  • Effectively create and communicate information.

  • Develop and execute systems and processes.

  • Apply theory to practice as well as practice to theory.

  • Gain confidence to forge relationships with people from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

  • Approach problem-solving more holistically. 

  • Understand how political and economic forces impact society

  • Research and analyze issues and build logical arguments.

  • Become an informed citizen with an appreciation for societal rules and governing structures.

Customize Your Course List with Integrated Topics

This program combines the content, theories, and methodologies of the social sciences and general education courses. The course work is grounded in the liberal arts and draws on core social science disciplines of: 

  • anthropology 
  • communication arts and sciences 
  • economics 
  • political science 
  • psychology 
  • sociology

To earn the Bachelor of Science in Integrated Social Sciences degree, you must successfully complete a minimum of 120 credits. Students will develop a final capstone portfolio.

The Bachelor of Science in Integrated Social Sciences curriculum is unique, so you must work closely with your adviser before choosing courses. This list is a reference of the course disciplines that may count toward this degree. A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major.

Prescribed Courses (6 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Students will learn how to assemble a portfolio that reflects their progress, knowledge, and insight into college-level study.

  • 3
    credits

    Creative projects, including research and design, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses.

Additional Courses (select 15–19 credits)

Select 6–8 credits in quantification from MATH, CMPSC, IST, PHIL, ACCT, or STAT in consultation with your adviser.

Select 3–4 credits in statistics from the following:

  • 3
    credits

    Data analysis and statistical applications in political research, including data processing, inferential statistics, contingency analysis, correlation and regression, and multivariate analysis.

    • Prerequisite

      any 3 credits in political science

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides an introduction to the descriptive and inferential statistics commonly used in psychology, and to hypothesis testing as a method of scientific investigation. It also explores the ways in which the assumptions of statistical tests place constraints on experimental design and, conversely, how the design of experiments can dictate the statistical test appropriate for data analysis.

    • Prerequisite

      PSYCH 100 and MATH 21

  • 4
    credits

    Descriptive statistics, frequency distributions, probability, binomial and normal distributions, statistical inference, linear regression, and correlation.

Select 3 credits in ethics from the following:

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides an introduction to the basic questions of ethics, the major currents in traditional ethical theory (virtue ethics, deontology, consequentialism), and more recent developments (e.g., care ethics).

  • 3
    credits

    Focuses on ethics from both a normative and behavioral perspective; four interrelated and mutually reinforcing subject areas will be explored in the course at the individual, organizational and transnational levels business ethics, ethics in unionized firms, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability

    • Prerequisite

      LHR 100 or 5th semester standing or 3 other credits of LHR

  • 3
    credits

    Leaders, in whatever context, make difficult decisions, distribute scarce resources, direct and influence the conduct of others, and represent the goals of the enterprise they lead. Thus they ought to exemplify prudence, fairness, integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, sincerity, and morally upright behavior. This course investigates these concepts and the moral dilemmas that arise in developing or applying them.

Select 3–4 credits in research methods from the following:

  • 3
    credits

    An understanding of both qualitative research methods and the theoretical frameworks that inform qualitative inquiry. Additionally, this course focuses on tools for data collection such as individual and focus-group interviewing and observing and recording interaction. This course provides practical experience for students in collecting and analyzing qualitative data with and without the use of technology and examines particular difficulties in the interpretation and reporting of qualitative findings. Qualitative Research Methods is course that bridges disciplinary boundaries and is useful to any student who will be investigating human interaction.

  • 4
    credits

    Introduction to methods of psychological research, with special attention to hypothesis formation and testing, threats to validity, and data presentation.

    • Prerequisite

      PSYCH 100 and PSYCH 200 or STAT 200

  • 3
    credits

    Experiential-based course covering the four main social research methods: available data, survey research, experiments, and field research.

    • Prerequisite

      3 credits in Sociology

Supporting Courses and Related Areas (30 credits)

In consultation with your adviser, select 30 credits from social science courses in the following areas: ANTH, CAS, ECON, PLSC, PSYCH, or SOC. At least 15 of these credits should be at the 400 level, with 9 credits from one discipline and 6 credits from a second discipline.

General Education Requirements

Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.

  • Foundations: 15 credits  
    All courses require a grade of C or better. Inter-Domain courses may not be used for foundations requirements. 
    • Writing/Speaking: 9 credits 
    • Quantification: 6 credits 
      3-6 credits are selected from mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics; 3 credits may be selected from computer science or symbolic logic. 
  • Knowledge Domains: 15 credits  
    Inter-Domain courses may not be used for knowledge domain requirements.
    • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits 
    • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits 
    • Arts (GA): 3 credits 
    • Humanities (GH): 3 credits 
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits  
  • Integrative Studies: 6 credits
    • Inter-Domain course work: 6 credits  
  • Exploration: 9 credits 
    • Natural Sciences (GN) (may be Inter-Domain): 3 credits
    • GA, GH, GN, GS, and Inter-Domain courses: 6 credits  
      May include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the requirements of the student’s degree program or at the 12th credit level, whichever is higher.

These General Education Requirements are for students who started in summer 2023 or later. Students who started earlier can review the prior version of the general education requirements

Electives (20–42 credits)

Courses chosen in consultation with an adviser.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Start or Advance Your Career

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The concepts you'll study in this interdisciplinary online bachelor's degree program can help you gain knowledge and reach your career goals. These skills combined with the support of Penn State career resources can help prepare you for employment in a variety of fields — or position you for advancement in your current role.


Job Fields and Opportunities

As a graduate of this program, your heightened understanding of human behavior and societal relationships will be beneficial in any number of careers, such as: 

  • social services 
  • marketing 
  • advertising 
  • human resources 
  • finance 
  • government

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

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From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 

Ready to Learn More?

Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.

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Learn more about this program

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?

Apply by March 15 to start May 13. How to Apply 

Costs and Financial Aid

Learn about this program's tuition, fees, scholarship opportunities, grants, payment options, and military benefits.

Costs and Financial Aid

Undergraduate Tuition

Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State.

Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$626 per credit$671 per credit
12–19$7,602 per semester$8,206 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$632 per credit$678 per credit
12–19$7,678 per semester$8,288 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

Move from Theory to Practice

You’ll put your new theoretical knowledge to practice through creative projects and an experiential learning portfolio. These instructor-guided experiences can showcase your ability to positively contribute, compassionately engage, and thrive in diverse communities and today's global workforce.

A Well-Rounded Education for the 21st Century

This liberal arts degree program emphasizes a broad education that can prepare you for the complex social, cultural, and organizational issues that you may face in most leadership positions.

Set Your Own Pace

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Whether you are looking to finish your program as quickly as possible or balance your studies with your busy life, Penn State World Campus can help you achieve your education goals. Many students take one or two courses per semester.

Our online courses typically follow a 12- to 15-week semester cycle, and there are three semesters per year (spring, summer, and fall). If you plan to take a heavy course load, you should expect your course work to be your primary focus and discuss your schedule with your academic adviser. 

To Finish Your Degree in Two to Three Years

  • Take 6 courses each semester

To Finish Your Degree in Three to Four Years

  • Take 4–5 courses each semester 

To Finish Your Degree in Five or More Years

  • Take 2–3 courses each semester

Convenient Online Format

This program's convenient online format gives you the flexibility you need to study around your busy schedule. You can skip the lengthy commute without sacrificing the quality of your education and prepare yourself for more rewarding career opportunities without leaving your home.

A Trusted Leader in Online Education

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Penn State has a history of more than 100 years of distance education, and World Campus has been a leader in online learning for more than two decades. Our online learning environment offers the same quality education that our students experience on campus.

How to Apply to Penn State

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Apply by March 15 to start May 13

Application Instructions

Deadlines and Important Dates

Complete your application and submit all required materials by the appropriate deadline. Your deadline will depend on the semester you plan to start your courses.

  • Summer Deadline

    Apply by March 15 to start May 13
  • Fall Deadline

    Apply by June 30 to start August 26
  • Spring Deadline

    Apply by October 31, 2024, to start January 13, 2025

New students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about applying for financial aid and recommended deadlines.

Steps to Apply

  1. To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate, or have completed your GED.

  2. You will need the following items to complete your application:

    High school transcripts or GED transcript — First-year applicants are required to submit Self-Reported Academic Records (SRAR) when applying. Official high school transcripts for first-year applicants will only be required at the time a student accepts an offer of admission to Penn State.

    Transfer international students will need to submit their high school transcript before their application can be reviewed.

    Official college or university transcripts and/or official military transcripts (if applicable) — All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended. Acceptance of transfer credit toward your degree is subject to final approval by the academic department. For detailed information, see the Transfer Students page.

    Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation.

    English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Language Proficiency section on the Undergraduate Admissions International Requirements page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

  3. To begin the online application, you will need a Penn State account.

    Create a New Penn State Account

    If you have any problems during this process, contact an admissions counselor at [email protected].

    Please note: Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application or create a new Penn State account. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions.

  4. Accessing MyPennState

    The MyPennState Portal provides access to our online admissions services. Before accessing MyPennState, you must have a Penn State account that will be used to access all Penn State systems. After creating an account, you will receive a unique Penn State User ID. You will need to enter your User ID followed by @psu.edu when signing in to MyPennState and other Penn State sites. For example, you should be entering something like '[email protected]' in the Sign In field.

    The application consists of six sections:

    1. Application Setup
    2. Program of Study
    3. Citizenship and Residency
    4. Academics and Experience
    5. Miscellaneous
    6. Review and Submit
    Application Setup
    • Be sure to select "Online" for the "How would you like to complete your degree" question if you plan to attend Penn State World Campus.

    • The rest of this section will ask some basic questions about your education experience and military affiliation.

    Program of Study
    • You will choose the degree type and then the starting semester.

    • Your starting campus will be selected as Penn State World Campus by default as long as you picked "Online" in your Application Setup. Click Continue.

    • On the Choose a Program page, select your intended major from the list.

    • Review your selection on the summary screen and click Continue to move on to the Citizenship and Residency section.

    Citizenship and Residency
    • Complete the series of questions about your citizenship status, demographic information, Pennsylvania residency status, and family history.

    Academics and Experience
    • You will need to enter academic experience information about your high school and any attempted courses at a college or university after high school.

    • The Education Gap Statement offers a place to explain any time that has elapsed between your high school graduation and your anticipated enrollment at Penn State. Please provide a summary of why that gap occurred. Some examples that would explain a gap in your education include work, family, attending another college or university, etc.

    Miscellaneous
    • In the Miscellaneous section, you will provide any program-specific requirements (e.g., a personal statement), information about activities, and financial aid information.

    Review and Submit

    Review your information, digitally sign your application, and provide payment for the application fee ($65 domestic or $75 international).

    High School Transcripts and Academic Record
    • After your application is completed, you will also need to self-report your high school course work before the application deadline. You will be directed to fill out the Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR). It is helpful to have a high school transcript available when completing this section. In the third section, you'll select your program of study and campus.

    • Official high school transcripts or GED transcript, along with records from high school, are required, regardless of the length of time that has passed.

    • Include any college/university transcripts (required), military transcripts, and Proof of English Language proficiency (if applicable). SAT/ACT scores are not required if you are identified as an adult learner or transfer student.

    All official documents should be sent to: 

    Undergraduate Admissions Office
    The Pennsylvania State University
    201 Shields Building
    University Park, PA 16802

    You can also have your transcripts sent electronically through Parchment, eScript-Safe, or the National Clearinghouse directly to Penn State from the college/university where course work was attempted.

    Acceptance

    After receiving your application, application fee, and all required materials, your application will be evaluated for admission. You can check your application status online. This will provide the most up‐to‐date information about the status of your application and is updated once daily, before 8:00 a.m. (ET). Once a decision has been made regarding your application, it will be available to you through the MyPennState portal.

    For information on when you can expect an admissions decision, visit the Dates and Deadlines page of the Undergraduate Admissions website. Make sure you click the "+" sign to see these dates for World Campus Applicants (First-Year and Transfer).

  5. 5. Complete the application.

Admissions Help

If you have questions about the admissions process, contact an admissions counselor at [email protected].

Contact Us

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Have questions or want more information? We're happy to talk.

To learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Integrated Social Sciences, please contact:

World Campus Admissions Counselors
Phone: 814-863-5386
[email protected]

Learn from the Best

This program will give you the opportunity to study with well-respected faculty from Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts, one of the premier institutions in the world to study and work in the liberal arts disciplines.

Faculty

  • Stephanie Cardona

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Educational Leadership, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.A., English Education, University of Puerto Rico
    • Degree
      B.A., English, University of Puerto Rico

    Dr. Stephanie Cardona is an academic advising liaison and instructor with Penn State World Campus for interdisciplinary programs in the College of the Liberal Arts. A Penn Stater since 2008 living in Key West, Florida, Stephanie has been teaching in higher education for 19 years in the areas of English and composition. Her interests and skills are in the areas of curriculum development and design, qualitative research, distance learning, culturally relevant pedagogies, and immersive technologies.

  • John Kryst

    • Degree
      M.S., College Student Personnel, Western Illinois University
    • Degree
      B.A., Sociology & Social Psychology, University of Minnesota

    John Kryst is an academic adviser and instructor with Penn State World Campus in multiple College of the Liberal Arts programs. John has been with Penn State since 2012. Currently living in New York, John has lived in Minnesota, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, working in higher education since 2007. He has served many student populations in that time and is passionate about education being accessible and open to anyone seeking to learn.

  • Avis Kunz

    • Degree
      D.Ed., Adult Education, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.A., English, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.A., English, Penn State

    Dr. Avis Kunz is the senior assistant dean for Online Education and Outreach and the director of the Filippelli Institute for e-Education and Outreach in the College of the Liberal Arts. Her interests are broadly in distance learning and teaching and administration of online programs. She has more than 25 years of experience in educational administration, including community colleges, community education, adult literacy, and Penn State. 

  • Bryan McDonald

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine
    • Degree
      M.A., Political Science, Virginia Tech
    • Degree
      B.A., English, Virginia Tech

    Dr. Bryan McDonald is the director of interdisciplinary programs in the College of the Liberal Arts and an associate professor of history. Dr. McDonald is a historian of modern America with research and teaching interests in food security and food systems. He is currently working on a book project that explores the history of food as a security issue in modern America. He is the author of Food Power: The Rise and Fall of the Postwar American Food System (Oxford University Press, 2017) and Food Security (Polity Press, 2010) and the co-editor of Global Environmental Change and Human Security (MIT Press, 2009) and Landmines and Human Security: International Politics and War’s Hidden Legacy (SUNY Press, 2004). He has published more than 25 articles, book chapters, reviews, and policy documents.

  • Tycely Williams

    • Degree
      M.A., Leadership, Georgetown University
    • Degree
      B.A., Communication with minor in Journalism, Wake Forest University

    Tycely Williams is a certified fundraising executive who has led teams that have raised and managed more than $580 million. She is the chief development officer at The Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. In her career of more than 20 years, she has held C-Suite leadership positions at America’s Promise Alliance, The American Red Cross, and YWCA USA. She has extensive experience governing organizations and is an award-winning philanthropic thought leader with features in numerous publications, including The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The L.A. Times, The Nonprofit Times, andThe Washington Post.

  • Andrea Woerman

    • Degree
      M.A., Education, Ashford University
    • Degree
      B.A., Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara

    Andrea Woerman has worked in the field of higher education for 13 years as both an academic adviser and an instructor, specializing in adult learner and military student populations. She has seen many students through to graduation and thoroughly enjoys developing students and seeing them move their lives forward using education as a tool. Andrea considers herself a lifelong learner and is passionate about education, continuous self-improvement, and animal welfare.


Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?

Apply by March 15 to start May 13. How to Apply 

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