Multidisciplinary Activities

Richard Fliegel, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs, USC Dornsife College
(213) 740-2961

Multidisciplinary Activities (MDA) courses are developed and taught by faculty from more than one program, department and/or school. These courses exist because of the college’s interest in supporting interdisciplinary teaching and research. A student’s transcript indicates enrollment in a multidisciplinary activities course.

Students who enroll in MDA courses share a common interest in the subject matter, but are not necessarily majors in those disciplines. These courses can be used as electives for certain degree requirements and, when indicated by the “g” suffix, for general education credit.

Collaborative Learning Projects (CLP) and Individual Programs of Study (IPOS)

See Learner Centered Curricula.

Courses of Instruction

Multidisciplinary Activities (MDA)

The terms indicated are expected but are not guaranteed. For the courses offered during any given term, consult the Schedule of Classes.

MDA 100abcd Introduction to the Health Professions (1-1-1-1, FaSp) An introduction to the health professions, through lectures, discussions, clinical experiences, and visits to health care delivery sites; relationships with other clinicians and the community. Departmental approval required. Graded CR/NC.

MDA 101x Health Professions: Prospects and Preparation (1, Sp) Presentations by health professionals, introduced by faculty members from relevant academic units and followed by discussion with the speakers. Not available for degree credit. Graded CR/NC. Recommended preparation: BISC 120L or BISC 220L; CHEM 150aL.

MDA 105g Cultural Forms and Values I (4, FaSp) Norms and patterns of civilizations associated with the Greco-Roman and European traditions and the legacy of those traditions in North America.

MDA 110 Contemporary Issues and Cases in Health Care (2, FaSp) An introduction to the major areas of health care; the provider’s relationship to choices in professional practice; ethics and historical context. (Duplicates credit in MDA 100abcd.) Graded CR/NC.

MDA 125Lg Scientific Principles (4, FaSp) Fundamental principles underlying a body of scientific knowledge and their evolution; the nature of scientific inquiry; how scientific knowledge is obtained and evaluated. A field experience or practical component required.

MDA 140 Practicum in Multimedia Authorship (2, FaSp) Introduction to the expressive potential of multimedia as a critical and creative tool, supplementing traditional forms of academic work. Graded CR/NC.

MDA 155g Cultural Forms and Values II (4, FaSp) Cultural norms and patterns of civilizations associated with Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Native America, and elsewhere, alternative to those of the Greco-Roman and European traditions.

MDA 165g Social Inquiry (4, FaSp) Analyses of compelling local, national, and/or international issues; analytical tools examined systematically in a broad range of social phenomena. Concurrent enrollment: WRIT 140.

MDA 167g Marginal Groups in America (4, Fa) Sociological and historical analysis of marginal populations in American society, including racial and ethnic minorities, teenage mothers, drug abusers, criminals, and the mentally ill. Concurrent enrollment: WRIT 140.

MDA 170g La Frontera: The U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (4) Provides student with a multidisciplinary understanding of the U.S./Mexico border region. Topics to be covered include: space and place, internationalization, physical environment, gender relations and culture. Concurrent enrollment: WRIT 140.

MDA 175Lg Science and Technology (4, FaSp) The nature of science and technology, based on a focused study of a single area of research; scientific principles, their technological applications, and social significance.

MDA 200Lg The Cutting Edge: From Basic Science to the Marketplace (4, Sp) An introduction to the basic sciences of physics, chemistry, biology, and geology, examining the fundamental concepts, experimental approaches, and technological applications. Course will show the interrelationships among the fields and societal ramifications of these cutting edge technologies. (Duplicates credit in MDA 125.)

MDA 205g Cities and Civilization (4, FaSp) Origins of cities, patterns of migration and resettlement, civic identities and the invention of public culture, from ancient Rome to contemporary Los Angeles.

MDA 250 Internship for Liberal Arts: Work and Career – Theory and Practice (1-2, max 4, FaSpSm) Students explore different understandings of work and career in American society while testing theories in an actual work setting.

MDA 310 Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies (4, Sp) (Enroll in IR 310)

MDA 325 Case Studies in Modern Leadership (4, FaSp) Study of a single leader or small set of leaders, including the strengths and weaknesses that distinguish them and the cultural forces that nurture them.

MDA 330 The Armenian Heritage: History, Arts, and Culture (4, FaSp) A multidisciplinary exploration of the Armenian cultural heritage through the ages – folklore, traditions, religious practices, literature, architecture, painting, sculpture, music, theatre, film and dance.

MDA 333 Colloquium in Armenian Studies: Social and Cultural Issues (2, max 4, FaSpSm) Analysis of political, social, and cultural issues by the instructor and visiting lecturers with expertise in specific areas of the Armenian Republic and Diaspora community.

MDA 365 The Art and Adventure of Leadership (4, Sp) Areas of knowledge and kinds of competencies that are fundamental to the study and practice of leadership in a variety of settings.

MDA 399ab Team Research Communities (4-4, FaSp) Cross-disciplinary inquiry in the liberal arts. a: Research methodologies. b: Individual student and group projects contributing to the team’s collaborative report.

MDA 450 Individual Program of Study (4-18, max 18, FaSpSm) An individual educational project approved by a faculty committee, combining directed research with internships, service learning, artistic or literary production, and/or other relevant educational activities. Open only to students with sophomore, junior or senior standing.

MDA 460 Collaborative Learning Project (4-8, max 8, FaSpSm) A project approved by a faculty committee, requiring students to collaborate on research or an original work in the literary, plastic, or performing arts. Open only to students with sophomore, junior or senior standing. Graded CR/NC.

MDA 475 The Future of California (4, FaSp) Challenges facing California; options for governmental and constitutional reform; opportunities for economic growth; demographic and cultural changes; education, environment, and other policy issues. Recommended preparation: junior or senior standing.

MDA 476 Policy Research on California (4, Sp) Research and proposed solutions concerning problems, policies, structural and constitutional challenges facing California. Open only to upper division and master’s students. Prerequisite: MDA 475.

MDA 490 Directed Research (2-8, max 8, FaSpSm) Individual research, reading, writing and project development.

MDA 494 Directed Creative Project (2-4, max 4, FaSpSm) Individual research, reading, writing and project development, guided by a faculty member with expertise in the area, who may be tenure-track or non-tenure-track. Open only to juniors and seniors.

MDA 495 Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar (2-4, max 4, Fa) The first part of an eight-unit sequence intended to award academic honors in a thematic area comparable to departmental honors in a single discipline. Open only to juniors and seniors.

MDA 496 Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis (4, Sp) The second part of an eight-unit sequence intended to award academic honors in a thematic area comparable to departmental honors in a single discipline. Open only to juniors and seniors. Prerequisite: MDA 495.

MDA 501 Introduction to Visual Studies: Methods and Debates (4) A critical introduction to the field of visual studies focusing on interdisciplinary approaches to images, objects, and visual technologies as well as key texts and interpretive debates. Students must be enrolled in a Ph.D. program at USC.

MDA 593 Practicum in Teaching the Liberal Arts (2, FaSp) Practical principles for the long-term development of effective teaching within college disciplines. Intended for teaching assistants in Dornsife College. Graded CR/NC.

MDA 599 Special Topics (2-4, max 8, Fa) The multidisciplinary, team-taught seminar addresses issues at the intersection of literary, visual, and material culture. The faculty team and specific topics studied will change each time the course is offered.