Integration at USD is multifaceted and includes courses and experiences that provide students with opportunities to make connections between disciplines, apply knowledge in a variety of contexts, make connections between curricular and co-curricular activities, and to synthesize Core competencies. Integrative learning is a distinctive component of USD's Core Curriculum and is embedded in both core and major courses.

Students and faculty are asked to connect across disciplines, to synthesize disparate areas of knowledge, and to pose the “big questions.” Core Curriculum components connect and build on one another, the latest advances in research are integrated into the quest for understanding, and a continuous engagement with the complex problems of our world inform the questions we ask and the answers we seek. Integrative learning is an approach that creates an opportunity for students to make connections among ideas and experiences to synthesize knowledge.

At the end of their coursework at USD, students should be able to do the following:

  • Recognize broad connections between multiple disciplines, perspectives, and/or approaches to learning.

  • Articulate how the integration of different disciplines, perspectives, and approaches to learning can enhance one’s understanding of practical issues and problems.

  • Synthesize knowledge and/or skills from multiple disciplines or perspectives.

  • Transfer and apply knowledge and/or skills from multiple disciplines or perspectives.


First-Year Integration

LLC and TLC Programs

Students are introduced to the integrative nature of learning through courses in the Living Learning Communities (LLC) and Transfer Learning Communities (TLC) programs.  Upon completing one of these programs, students satisfy the Core requirement for first-year integration.  They learn how to recognize broad connections between their classes and are able to articulate how different disciplines approach problem-solving related to the LC theme.

Through the LLCs and TLCs, students will be introduced to the integrated nature of learning. We expect them to be able to:

  1. recognize that people bring different perspectives to scholarly inquiry;
  2. discuss how real-world problem solving is inherently integrated; and,
  3. describe the value of multiple perspectives to scholarly inquiry and/or problem solving.


Students Practice Integration

Students practice integration in each of their classes through various activities.

Open Classroom


Students Demonstrate Integration

Integrations Showcases

The first-year integration experience culminates with an Integration Showcase, a collaborative event that invites students to present projects that demonstrate interdisciplinary learning, reinforcing the inter-connectivity of perspectives across disciplines as it relates to real-world problems associated with their LLC/TLC theme.

For more information about First-Year Integration and for a list of courses being offered for the current academic year, please visit our Learning Communities page.


Advanced Integration

Students are expected to draw meaningful connections between diverse perspectives in a way that enhances the overall body of knowledge presented.  We want them to be able to demonstrate that the whole (an integrated body of knowledge) is greater than the sum of its parts.  Students are expected to apply an integrated body of knowledge that they have developed by synthesizing diverse perspectives and/or skills to address a carefully formulated issue, problem, hypothesis, question, activity, or practice relevant to any mode of inquiry, executed in a form appropriate to any particular academic discipline.


Core Project



Class Formats