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Online Integrated Social Sciences B.A. Program congratulates its first graduates

Two years ago, the University of Washington announced the launch of its fully online bachelor’s degree program in Integrated Social Sciences.  This year, ISS celebrates 45 seniors who will march into history as members of its first graduating class.  The group includes a returning UW student who began his academic career as a freshman in 1970 and helped found the Black Student Union; a military spouse living in Florida who has homeschooled her 4 children while finishing her B.A.; and a Hungarian immigrant who has used her ISS degree as a jumping-off point for graduate work in Applied International Studies.  The program is now nearly 300 strong, with many of its students living across Washington, and others living from California to Virginia, and from Cuba to South Korea.  Over half of the 45 graduating seniors have earned credits at Washington community colleges, and 17 have associate’s degrees, most notably from Bellevue College, Highline College, and North Seattle College. 

UW Access for Transfer Students

ISS offers unprecedented access to the UW for transfer students.  Those who have thrived in the online environment at their community colleges now have a UW option for continuing their successful learning.   Students who live as far away as Wenatchee, Spokane, and Walla Walla can now enroll at the UW without leaving their communities.  And students in geographically isolated areas underserved by higher education, such as the Olympic Peninsula, can have the UW in their living rooms.  Eligibility requirements for admission to ISS include:

  • 75 transferable college credits
  • 2.0 overall GPA (combined GPA for all colleges attended)
  • 2.5 in all social science courses applied to ISS major at time of admission
  • Completion of College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADRs), which are core requirements usually completed in high school or community college
  • Satisfactory progress on UW general education requirements

For many students, ISS represents a second chance, an opportunity to make a strong academic comeback after many years away from college.  It’s a flexible UW choice that enables them to balance adult responsibilities of work and family with a rigorous education in the social sciences.

A Respected UW Degree

Students who finish the online ISS major receive a B.A. from the UW that is identical to the degrees earned by on-site students.  Their courses are taught by the same faculty who teach on-campus undergraduates and graduate students, and who are engaged in cutting-edge research.  The online courses, hosted on the Canvas platform, are designed by the teaching faculty who create rich, interactive virtual classrooms.  Meanwhile, a team of seasoned academic advisers help guide and support ISS majors as they plan courses of study that allow them to realize their individual learning goals.  ISS, with its broadly interdisciplinary curriculum in the social sciences and integrative core courses, has a wide appeal to students interested in the most important questions and problems that we have face today – questions about sustainability and the environment, globalization and economics, race and social justice, international health, technology and media, gender and sexuality, the politics of conflict and religion, and much more.  Students graduating from the ISS program develop not only a working knowledge of social scientific analysis and practice, but also practical skills in high demand in the job market, including skills in both qualitative and quantitative reasoning, communication (especially writing), information technology, evidence-based research, collaboration and cultural competence, and intellectual adaptability and agility.  Along with these skills they also get a University of Washington diploma that commands the attention and respect of employers and graduate programs. 

Transfer Processes and Costs

ISS admits new students every Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarter.  Students are admitted to the ISS major at the same time as they are admitted to UW Seattle, so enrollment is one seamless process.  Undergraduates in ISS pay only $299 per credit (WA residents), or $349 per credit (nonresidents), a rate far lower than those charged by other nationally recognized online B.A. programs.  Students eligible for financial aid may use most types of awards for their course fees, including Pell grants, federally guaranteed student loans, VA benefits, and employer education benefits.  Prospective transfer students with questions are encouraged to speak with an ISS academic adviser, who can meet with you in person, or have a conversation with you on the phone, Skype, or email.  Contact the ISS Student Services Office today at:, or 206-685-9415. 

—Mel Wensel, Director of Academic Services, Integrated Social Sciences