Social Sciences Interdisciplinary : Overview

Office of Interdisciplinary Degree Programs

Contact Information

College of Arts and Sciences
203 Clemens Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-4670

Phone: 716.645.2245 x0
Fax: 716.645.3640
Web Address:
Lee Dryden


Some of the major problems society faces today can be grasped fully only by integrating the specializations of different academic disciplines. The Interdisciplinary Degree Programs in the Social Sciences offer students an opportunity to focus on a particular thematic area of interdisciplinary studies whose breadth and diversity overlaps several departments. Departmental courses are organized in curricula administered by the Interdisciplinary Degree Programs in the Social Sciences.

The degree consists of courses taught by the faculty of departments throughout the university. Each program is designed to offer choice and flexibility in building the program most suitable for individual interests and career goals. Hundreds of students have graduated from the programs in recent years.

Within our BA and BS programs, the following concentrations are offered:

Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary approach to how the mind works. It investigates thought and consciousness, the senses and emotions, the structure of language, cultural patterns, neural organization, and computational analogs of mental processes. It examines how these areas interact, how they develop in the growing human, and how they appear in other animals.

Environmental Studies. The Environmental Studies BA or BS degree offers an opportunity for students to study social science and natural science disciplines related to the environment. Field courses and an internship are required. The BS adds chemistry, ecological methods and spatial analysis. Specialty tracks provide a body of course work and experiences that prepare a student for a defined area within the field of environmental studies. In addition to the defined specialty tracks, the Environmental Studies Program accepts petitions for individualized programs.

Health and Human Services (Community Mental Health, Early Childhood Studies and Social Gerontology). Health and Human Services studies the systems delivering human services to individuals and communities in need, the problems affecting those individuals and communities, and the professions and professionals providing services. A significant on-site practicum experience is an integral part of this curriculum.

International Studies. The International Studies program provides a general background useful for graduate studies or a number of career fields with international involvement. The three tiers of the curriculum beyond the prerequisite level are based on:
1. The belief that significant language competence is fundamental to the field of international inquiry and activity;
2. The assumption that students in the field should be exposed to a range of disciplinary approaches;
3. The desirability of pursuing some focused interest in a particular geographic area.

Legal Studies. The Legal Studies concentration is designed for students who are interested in studying the law, legal processes, legal institutions, and the role of law in society. The program offers a multidisciplinary perspective on the law in its social and political context. This major provides a background for careers in government, law enforcement, social work, and professional training in law school.

Urban and Public Policy Studies. This program provides a general academic introduction to the fields of urban and public policy studies. It may prove useful to, but is not specifically designed for, those students who are anticipating graduate work in urban planning or an associated field, or who are seeking employment opportunities in politics or private agencies or the political field.

Updated: 13 Nov 2012 06:02:10 EST