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Exploring your Passions with Integrative Studies

Exploring your Passions with Integrative Studies

I would like to preface this blog by saying that I LOVE that Naz offers integrative studies courses. These courses allow you the chance to learn about the things that have either always had you curious or just sparked your interest since you’ve been in college.

So, let’s start from the beginning. Integrative Studies courses are part of the Uncommon Core we have here at Naz. First, you take the Perspectives-Enduring Question classes (also known as P-EQs). These courses are your Math, History, English, Religious Studies, etc. classes – basically the foundational liberal arts classes everyone must take. As you take these courses, you will find a topic of interest to you which will guide you in choosing your Integrative Studies courses.

See an enlarged copy of our Uncommon Core map here.

Your Integrative Studies are three courses that you get to pick! They don’t have to relate to each other, but should be related to a big question that you are interested in answering. This big question will lead to the Core Milestone Experience (CME) at the end of your college career. Your CME is a project you get to create that demonstrates how your different ideas and courses can be brought together to answer the question you are interested in learning more about.

Although your interests are one of the best places to start when trying to decide what your Integrative Studies courses will be, finding the courses you want to take still may be hard for many reasons. On one hand, you may have so many interests that you can’t possibly pick only three courses. On the other hand, you may feel like you don’t have any interests that spark curiosity in an academic setting. Both are ok! If you are the sort of person that has no idea how to start your journey, Naz offers IS clusters or ‘pre-packaged’ ideas of what courses or interests work well together. For example, you may be interested in culture and politics. Through your Religious Studies P-EQ and and Sociology P-EQ, you found that you were passionate about equity and social injustice in religious beliefs. A sample of classes you could take as your Integrative Studies courses could include a religious studies class called Martin and Malcolm, which focuses on American civil and religious history, a peace and justice class entitled Conflict Resolution, and a class called Social Problems offered by the Sociology Department. The big question connecting these courses may be “How do we create an equitable society with different religious beliefs?” Check out some more examples of IS clusters here.

One of my favorite things about Integrative Studies is that the courses you take, and even your enduring (big picture) question, do not have to relate to your major, although they can if you wish. I am a music therapy major, but my interests are in psychology, biology, spirituality, social justice and engagement. These things are very different, but I can relate them with my IS courses.

In high school, I always found psychology to be very interesting, and it does relate to the courses I already take as a music therapy major, but I wanted to dive deeper. As for my biology interest, anyone who knows me knows that I love Grey’s Anatomy. This passion transitioned into an interest in learning about the human body. I became interested in learning more about spirituality just recently when I started to notice how much of an impact spirituality has on my everyday life. For these reasons, I have decided that my three Integrative Studies courses will be Cancer Biology, Psychology of Music, and either Human Development or Spirituality. Cancer Biology focuses solely on the biology of cancer and how it spreads and why. Psychology of Music is exactly what it sounds like; a course on how music can evoke emotions and physical signs of the body. I have not decided between the Human Development course or the Spirituality course, but I will soon! I also haven’t quite decided on a question, but I know it will focus around music and medicine, most likely the healing power of music, medicine, and spirituality. I can’t wait to start these classes and focus on my question!


Click here for another example of an IS cluster and the process of developing your Core Milestone Experience!