BA in Social Science

Online Degree Completion Program

Start This Fall! Apply through July 31.

Social scientists study the interrelationships of individuals and groups within society. The major in Social Science is designed to offer students a broad background so they can develop a sensitivity to how individuals relate with one another within society. The Social Science Program (SOSC) provides a myriad of educational opportunities, both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. You can choose from two options in the major, and all courses are offered fully online.

Multidisciplinary Studies Option

The Multidisciplinary Studies option allows students to explore the main currents of the world, acquire geographic literacy, and learn basic facts and concepts inherent in behavioral sciences and history. Students interested in a California teaching credential in Social Science can complete the Multidisciplinary Studies option, which meets Subject Matter Competence for the pre-credential program and allows graduates to quality for the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) waiver.

From 36 to 42 units are offered fully-online through Chico State, with the remainder available at a community college. Students take classes in anthropology, economics, geography, political science, sociology, and history. You can view and track the course requirements using our Major Clearance Form - BA Social Science—Multidisciplinary Studies Option

Specialization Studies Option

The Specialization Studies Option is a 43-unit major often selected by students interested in careers working with social organizations or groups, including career placement or college and high school advising. It is also selected by students interested in acquiring social science knowledge and skills for professions that cross traditional academic boundaries.

The curriculum consists of 22 Social Science core units and 21 units from one of the concentration areas: 

General Curriculum for the Major

All Social Science majors enroll in seven courses: a computer literacy class (SOSC 210); Great Books & Ideas in the Social Sciences (SOSC 300); Spatial Concepts: Geographical Patterns and Processes (SOSC 301); Temporal Concepts: California Ethnic History (SOSC 302); Cultural Concepts: Human Social Evolution (SOSC 303W); Research and Inquiry into Social Science (SOSC 333) and the Senior Capstone course (SOSC 495W). The Senior Capstone course meets the University's writing proficiency requirement for graduation.

Courses for the upper division general studies requirement, called Pathways, are also available online. Some courses in the curriculum rotate on a two-year cycle.

Application Process

Students who meet Chico State admission requirements are eligible to apply to the online program.

Application Periods:

Fall '24 Admission: Late applications are being accepted through July 31. Review the University’s admission requirements to make sure you’re eligible, and then complete Chico State’s late application request form

Spring '25 Admission: Applications open August 1.

Complete the Request for Information form in the sidebar for additional application and program information and to be notified about online information sessions.

View complete application and admissions information.


Additional Information & Advising

Degree Information for Both Options: Social Science section of current University Catalog and the Social Science department website. 

Advisor for Both Options: Taylor Hinchcliff

Frequently Asked Questions

Are any on-campus courses required for this major?

You may take all classes online. This is a degree completion program, so only junior and senior level courses are offered. There are more courses offered some semesters than others, so planning is important. Please stay in contact with the academic advisor. 

How can I obtain a teaching credential in social science?

The online Multidisciplinary Studies Option covers most of the courses that lead to subject matter competency for a single subject social science teaching credential that enables the holder to teach history, geography, government, and economics in grades 6-12. Additional courses are required by the School of Education before student teaching can begin. Visit Chico State's School of Education's website for the most up-to-date listing of these requirements, or contact the Education Department of the college where you plan to obtain your teaching credential.

How can I get admitted?

Visit our Prospective Students page for admissions and registration information to guide you through the process.

Are there other options to full admission to the University?

The Open University Program provides an opportunity for students who have not been admitted to the university, or who have been denied admission or disqualified, to enroll in online courses, based on space availability and faculty permission. This program is not intended for long-term use by degree-seeking students as only 24 units of Open University classes can transfer into regular enrollment and Open University enrollment does not meet financial aid requirements. Open University is not available if you are enrolling for the same term as an admitted student, or if you are a non-resident of California who was enrolled for the previous term as a regular matriculated student. If you are enrolled as an Open University student and decide to apply for admission to the university, you must meet all regular admissions requirements.

Who is my academic advisor? How do we communicate?

The Social Science Program is a unique program that allows you to take courses from many departments, or to concentrate on two disciplines or subject areas. Therefore, regular communication with the program's academic advisor, Taylor Hinchcliff, is important.

What other kinds of information do I need?

To receive a Bachelor of Arts degree, you may need to complete other general education classes and requirements. For example, Chico State has an upper division theme requirement (9 units), called Pathways, that all students must fulfill. Three Pathways are offered entirely online: Global Development Studies, International Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies. The Social Science advisors can direct you to the appropriate online Pathways courses. If you have other concerns or questions about offices and resources that might be helpful to you as an online student, please go to our Student Services page.


* The CSU makes every effort to keep student costs to a minimum. Knowing the Cost of Attendance is important because the budget helps determine your Financial Need and your financial aid award. Financial Need is defined as the difference between your Expected Family Contribution and the standard Cost of Attendance calculated for each academic year. For an estimated moderate standard of living budget, please refer to the Chico State Cost of Attendance.