Overview of Bachelor's Degree in Integrative Studies Programs
Integrative studies programs can lead to a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree. There are a few specific variables that define this degree. One is that the student has no major. The other is that they chart a program of studies that combine courses from different but related subjects that are applicable to their career goals. For example, a person interested in counseling could combine studies in psychology and social work while someone considering a career as an occupational therapist could take studies in anatomy, rehabilitation sciences and psychology.
Admission Requirements for Integrative Studies Programs
In addition to considering high school transcripts and SAT scores, some postsecondary institutions look at other information when reviewing applications. This can include personal essays and resumes. Once students have completed one to two years of studies, they can apply for the integrative studies major. For example, Murray State University students can apply after completing 60 credits. They are also required to maintain a 2.2 GPA to qualify.
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Integrative Studies Program Coursework
There is a lot of flexibility for students pursuing integrative studies. Some common foundational courses may be required of all students, whether they're working towards a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree. These include introductory courses in subjects such as English, mathematics, computers and psychology.
Introductory courses in English typically focus on analyzing literature and developing writing skills. Those who take college writing courses may learn to write persuasive essays. All introductory English courses will help develop basic writing skills since students will be responsible for completing reports and essays. Those who focus on literature will read assigned works and write essays about the works through a literary lens.
Introductory computer science courses ensure that students develop some basic knowledge of computer programming. They will learn about computer languages, such as Java and Python. They will also gain some practical experience writing programming code.
Introduction to Psychology
Why do people act the way that they do? Psychology is the study of human behavior. An introductory course in psychology ensures that students have a solid base of knowledge about the way that the human mind works. They also explore variables that can motivate or influence people. Students will explore some of the pioneers of psychology and their research and conclusions about psychological theories.
Introduction to Biology
Introductory biology courses break down life to the cellular level and introduce students to genetics and other topics. Topics include metabolism and the functions of cells and organs, in addition to studies in plant photosynthesis. Students may also learn about reproduction and human development.
Introduction to Philosophy
Influential philosophers have shaped the way people think about life, fate and a number of other philosophical issues. In this course, students will explore philosophical questions and theories while learning about the teachings of philosophers such as Marx and Descartes. Students also explore the relationship between philosophy and science.
What is calculus? What are the mathematical theories related to calculus? How can calculus be applied to practical issues? Introductory calculus courses are commonly required for college students in many fields of study and provide the mathematical foundation used to evaluate data and pursue further studies in STEM fields. Some calculus courses focus specifically on how calculus can be applied in economics or other fields.
How to Choose a Bachelor's Degree in Integrative Studies Program
General integrative studies degrees can be completed with no specific major, but the student should be prepared to define their own course of study and connect it to a concrete career goal. Some schools offer the option of completing an integrative studies degree with two minors, and this option may appeal to students who have two or more key areas of interest.
Other factors that should influence a student's choice include the range of relevant courses that the institution offers. They will want to match the courses they can take to their areas of academic interest and specific career goals. It may also be possible to take courses online, which is a consideration for students who want to work while pursuing their degree or who do not wish to relocate for school.
Career Options with an Integrative Studies Degree
An integrative studies degree can be an ideal way to prepare for a career teaching a number of subjects, such as social studies. It can also be used as a platform for pursuing advanced degrees in law, medicine or other fields. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), both high school and middle school teachers should see an 8% rate of job growth from 2016 to 2026. The BLS reported the median annual income of middle school teachers was $56,720 in 2016, while high school teachers earned $58,030 in the same year. Other careers that an integrative studies bachelor's degree could qualify graduates for include: