Curriculum

Students in the BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (BAIS) program complete 24 credits from the following designated list of electives, including up to one on-campus residency.

On-Campus Residency Option

BAIS students have the option to complete one of the following on-campus residencies:

Communication & Culture

COMM 300 Foundations of Professional Communication

Provides a foundation in professional and practical communication through examination of the goals, norms, values and ethics that characterize individuals and the discourse communities to which they belong. Offers a strengths-based approach that allows students to develop teamwork skills, to document their personal, academic and professional achievement, and to identify appropriate career/education goals based in positive awareness of self and others. Serves as the basis for students’ intentional formation of their professional identity and for portfolio development in COMM490: Professional Portfolio.

COMM310 Theoretical Foundations in Communication

Introduces the fundamentals of human communication: its physical, linguistic, psychological, and sociological bases and examines some of the major perspectives in communication theory. Surveys the evolution of human communication and the development of communication theories. Includes a practical, case-based study of contemporary approaches and applications in communication studies. Concludes with a critical examination of the impact new technologies have on the way we communicate with each other.

COMM320 Fundamentals of Professional Writing

Examines the elements of skillful professional writing, including grammar and punctuation. Introduces students to efficient research, organization, composition, and persuasive, logical argumentation, and the fundamental principles of business, scientific, technical, and scholarly writing. A series of writing projects enable students to develop a rhetorically grounded approach for analyzing communication situations and then designing and writing documents

COMM325 Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

Provides an intensive introduction to public speaking theories and techniques relating to effective speaking and presentation skills. Combines classroom instruction with the opportunity for development and practice in different types of speeches, audience analysis, vocal mastery and non-verbal communication. Explores use of audiovisual aids through individual and group learning activities and lab-based instruction in multimedia presentation.

Humanitarian Studies

JUST300 Human Service Skills in the Justice Field

Focuses on theory, key legal regulations and practices of professional ethical conduct with respect to clients, colleagues, and supervisors, and professional ethical codes and their limitations. Students are taught communication, leadership, basic negotiating, mediating, interviewing and presentation skills. Students identify and address inter-group conflict and on-the-job life skills, such as avoiding burnout and undue stress. Includes theoretical instruction and practical exercises based on scenarios in the justice field.

JUST301 Canadian Criminal Justice System: Part 1

Looks at the phenomenon of and the response to crime in Canadian society. Examines crime in Canada as compared with other countries, and criminological theories and their applicability. Students examine traditional and new judicial approaches (restorative justice) and the role of the police, Crown, courts, sentencing, and the organization of criminal and quasi-criminal law in Canada. Explores the role of the victim within the Canadian Justice System and the special status of young offenders.

Interdisciplinary Studies

INDS311 Leadership for Sustainability

Introduces all competency areas and provides an overview to key concepts and applications of leadership and sustainability theory ensuring that participants have similar foundational knowledge. Builds relationships during residency and introduces the concept of leading in place, which involves connecting to the campus and learning from, with, and in nature. Experiences will involve developing an understanding of self in relation to multiple others and in relation to the systems one hopes to transform. Encourages learners to develop a learning and leadership action plan that includes awareness of how to harness one’s passions, align them with one’s vision and values, and a plan for enacting them in the world. Leads learners to developing their own personal leadership practice, i.e., a means of self-reflection for gaining personal insight into relationships and challenges. Fostering innovation and generating creative, outside-the-box ideas individually and in teams will be an important theme.

Online Electives

Business

ENMN325 Business and Society

Explores a diversity of views on various forces (economic, social, cultural, etc.) impacting business and society. Students will engage in critical reflection and dialogue on the context and consequence of business and management practice as well as the factors that influence understanding of, and response to, ideas and developments shaping the direction of business and society.

ENMN327 Strategy

Explores new mental models that foster the strategic perspectives required by small and midsized business practitioners responsible for crafting and executing their organizations’ strategies. Students will explore and think critically about the core strategic notions, concepts, tools, models and theories required by managers to manage and lead their organizations in today’s challenging, turbulent business ecosystem.

ENMN329 Leadership

Examines the models, frameworks and practices associated with effective leadership, allowing students to apply their learning to their personal leadership development. The course will deal with recognizing and developing core competencies for leadership with emphasis placed on modern thought and practice related to the alignment of leadership with an organization’s strategic mandate.

ENMN330 Marketing

Provides the theoretical and practical skills needed to analyze a marketing opportunity and develop a marketing plan. The course focuses on the strategic decisions that entrepreneurs and managers make as they seek to create value for and capture value from customers.

ENMN331 Doing Business in a Global Economy

Discusses the global economy and essential elements of international business development. Examines the primary mechanisms of the international economy through the exploration of topics such as export/import, licensing, franchising, contract manufacturing and outsourcing, joint venturing and foreign direct investment.

ENMN428 The Human Side of Business

Examines the concepts associated with the study of organizational behaviour and provides insight at the personal, group and organizational levels. Also addresses the discipline of human resource management and provides systems and processes to maximize knowledge about organizational behaviour.

Communication & Culture

COMM330 Digital Communication

Introduces students to the canon of primary research in digital communication, and helps learners to become competent readers and interpreters of research literature. Enables students to think about primary research in terms of practical problems by allowing them to apply the solutions and understandings developed in the research canon to newer systems. Equips students to interpret primary research and, in a structured way, apply their interpretations to their own experience of more current systems to develop an understanding of what sort of systems will help support what sorts of goals.

COMM365 Media and Cultural Studies

Introduces the major theories of mass communication and the structure of mass communication, popular culture systems, and their economic, technological and institutional dimensions. Students learn to recognize that the meaning, form, and value of cultural products cannot be separated from the social context in which they are produced and received.

COMM375 Visual Communication

Considers the role and significance of Visual Communication in shaping contemporary communications practice. Visual Communication is considered from various perspectives, including, but not limited to, the relationship between different media and visual communication, visual narrative, visual rhetoric, and visual design. Emphasis is placed on developing effective visual communicative practice through a strategic understanding of visual communication theory. 

COMM380 Writing for Business and Government

Develops the techniques of research, organization, and writing that produce professional material for the contemporary workplace. Students practice writing based on real work situations, learning the critical thinking skills required to write effectively in a variety of circumstances. Situation-based assignments.

COMM415 Global Communication

Provide insights into and an analytical framework for understanding the growth and role of communication technologies in the international arena. In the past few decades, quite dramatic changes to the nature of social, cultural and political interactions have taken place. These changes stem from many sources – some at the level of policy, some rooted in technology, other still in economics. This course explores these changes and positions communication technologies and their use within this altered landscape.

COMM435 Research Methods

COMM 435 is a 3-credit course in the BA Professional Communication program. This course offers students an introduction to research methods in communication. It is designed to assist students in developing the necessary skills to: a) understand methods that support professional practice in the field of professional communication; b) critically evaluate research conducted and reported by others; c) plan appropriate research projects to address a question within an organizational context; and d) identify methodological issues and practices relevant to various research environments and inquiries. Students will learn the benefits and limitations of both quantitative and qualitative methods used in a professional context, and will learn how to apply different methods to answer a focused research question.

COMM440 Organizational Communication

Considers the communication issues of deliberate, purposeful organizations: those intentionally created and maintained to achieve particular outcomes. This approach will be relevant to understanding organizations in the public, private and non-profit sectors and examples will be used from all three sectors. There will be an emphasis upon the culture and strategy of leadership and governance. Provides a fuller, richer understanding of what organizations are, how they work and how, through your communication practices, to successfully contribute to sustaining or changing the organizations in your own life.

COMM445 Crisis Communication Management

Introduces and examines the strategic, theoretical and practical underpinning for global issues and crisis communication management within the public and private sectors, focusing on issues, risk and crisis communication in a contemporary organizational context. 

COMM450 Writing for the Media

Introduces writing for newspapers, in-house newsletters, and general interest and consumer-specific magazines and journals, covering topics such as investigation, interviewing, reporting, and feature writing. Students develop interviewing techniques, note-taking methods, editing news and feature articles, and the importance of accuracy, fairness, voice, precision, and style, as well as speed. Students master how to tighten writing, sharpen leads, apply Canadian Press style, write headlines, and apply the principles of layout.

COMM460 Communication Ethics

Explores the moral and ethical challenges of professionals working in the communication and media industries. Provides strategies for the student to assess ethical dilemmas in the everyday working life of professional communicators. The course weaves together case studies, the theoretical foundations of ethics, professional ethical codes, and the demands of thinking ethically. The course complements and enriches materials from previous course offerings in the BA in Professional Communication.

COMM470 Advertising and Public Relations

Explores some of the applications of good communication practice in advertising, marketing, and public relations. Reviews the importance of effective communication strategies in successful business ventures, and introduces the new field of e-commerce. Students are encouraged to put their knowledge to work through case studies and simulations.

Environment & Sustainability

ENVM321 Tools for Business Decision Making

Through a highly pragmatic introduction to the business planning process, students explore the challenges and opportunities faced by business owners. Emphasis is placed on the importance of integrating personal objectives, organizational goals, and market opportunities during the planning process.

ENVM427 Public Policy Formulation

Examines how government policy is generated, what purpose it serves, and some of the instruments used in its application.

ENVP303 Statistical Literacy and Critical Thinking

Focuses on how data can be transformed into reliable information. Statistical tests are employed using first principles, real examples, and the technology commonly employed by environmental scientists and managers. Learners are introduced to statistical concepts and techniques through relevant examples and expected to demonstrate their understanding of statistics through the appropriate application of technology to real data and group discussions.

ENVP313 Introduction to Environmental Law

Introduces a wide range of topics and concepts relating to the legal system in Canada generally, and the operation of public welfare or environmental statutes, law and regulations within that system. Develops the ability to understand legal terms and concepts concurrently with developing basic legal research skills. Key court decisions and statutes that have directed the development of environmental law in Canada are discussed together with an introduction to the principles of statutory interpretation, regulatory and administrative law, and the effect of international treaties on Canada’s internal environmental regulation.

ENVP322 Sustainable Development: Ideas and Applications

Examine some of the theory of sustainable development, and explore the links between these theories. This is accompanied by the development and analysis of case studies describing ways that practical sustainable development options can be implemented, and discussion of alternative approaches to sustainability.

ENVP323 Communication Skills: Writing in the Workplace

The focus is on developing rhetorical strategies used in professional writing. In particular, the course will look at how the audience, context, and purpose of a piece of writing determine the content, voice, style and form of a text. The course will include discussions of basic professional writing forms such as resumes, cover letters, memos, email, and reports.

ENVP426 Leadership and Management for Environmental Practitioners

The fundamentals of modern supervision, management, and ethics are explored. Emphasis is placed on the manager as the "leader" who sets broad organizational objectives, as well as the environmental manager’s role in strategic planning, decision making, setting goals, and establishing organization norms.

ENVP429 Ethics and Environment

Explores some of the key ethical issues concerning humanity’s relationship to the environment. Dominant themes include deciding what has value, criteria for making good decisions, and moral principles for human behaviour toward the environment. Become familiar with a range of perspectives and positions commonly found in Western environmental debates as well as alternative ways to consider the issues. Emphasis is kept on how theory relates to the practice of environmental ethics. Cultivate the skills necessary to analyze arguments, assess lines of reasoning, and learn to articulate clearly and defend one’s own ethics.

ENSC423 Environmental Economics

Economics is usually described as the analysis of the rational development and use of scarce resources. Students learn the principles of efficient allocations of all resources regardless of how well markets ration this development and use. Examines the pervasiveness of market failures for environmental goods and the effectiveness of different techniques and policies attempting to correct these failures or to mitigate their negative consequences. Illustrating examples are chosen as much as possible from the experience of British Columbia and other regions of Canada.

ENSC414 Global Processes

Large-scale physical and chemical processes are linked with the natural system to explore the implications to society. Provides a broad context for linking economic, social, legal, engineering, scientific, and communication skills and a view of the policy implications from both national and international perspectives. Explores the effects of internal decisions on such aspects as international trade and competitiveness. 

ENSC415 Environmental Management Tools

Introduces the concepts behind the integration of business and environmental management, with emphasis on the analysis and comparison of several environmental management systems (EMS). Covers the background of, and the basic rationale for, the concepts of pollution prevention (P2). A process for arriving at a publicly accepted Pollution Prevention Plan is presented and discussed, including a recently released report on the BC plan. 

Humanitarian Studies

JUST302 Logical and Analytical Thinking in the Justice Context

Acquaints the student with logical argumentation in legal reasoning. Special emphasis placed on informal logic with exercises dealing in a justice context designed to identify fallacious reasoning. Includes analysis of legal and justice arguments and the creation of sound conclusions in the justice discourse.

JUST303 History and Philosophy of Law in the Canadian Context until 1867

Introduces important philosophical thought and concepts of justice in the Western tradition. Examines the historical evolution of law in Canada and how it has been influenced by philosophy. Students analyze how the norm appeal of law can be understood in different ways. Special emphasis is placed on the present Canadian context, which is, liberalism, multiculturalism and Aboriginal concepts of justice.

JUST304 Canadian Constitution

Focuses on the constitutional framework of Canadian society with special emphasis on justice topics, including Canadian federalism, Charter rights, the mechanisms of the Oakes test and the theory and practice of Aboriginal self-government. Explores the impact of the Charter on justice service workers. Includes extensive use of case studies to acquaint students with the concept of balancing interests within the Canadian justice discourse.

JUST305 Civil and Administrative Law

Examines the structure of civil and administrative law as it is relevant for justice service workers, as well as conflict resolution mechanisms of contract law, tort law and administrative law. Includes case studies and administrative tribunal exercises.

JUST306 Canadian Criminal Justice System: Part 2

Looks at the phenomenon of and the response to crime in Canadian society. Examines crime in Canada as compared with other countries, and criminological theories and their applicability. Students examine traditional and new judicial approaches (restorative justice) and the role of the police, Crown, courts, sentencing, and the organization of criminal and quasi-criminal law in Canada. Explores the role of the victim within the Canadian Justice System and the special status of young offenders. Pre-requisites: JUST301

JUST308 The Family

Explores the pivotal role of the family in society, including the legal position of individuals within the family. Includes theories of child development and dysfunctional families. Students evaluate the impact of public and social policy on legal regulations regarding the family.

JUST401 History and Philosophy of Law in the Canadian Context from 1867

Introduces the student to important philosophical thought and concepts of justice in the Western tradition. The course examines the historical evolution of law in Canada and how it has been influenced by philosophy. JUST 401 examines philosophical thinking regarding society, politics, law and justice and historical phenomena after 1867. Special emphasis is on the present Canadian context that is liberalism, multiculturalism and Aboriginal concepts of justice. Pre-requisites: JUST303

JUST403 Comparative Global Legal Approaches and Philosophies

Focuses on the fundamental characteristics of other legal systems in the world. Explores the Canadian legal system in the context of European and non-Western systems highlighting important philosophical and cultural approaches. Examines important Indigenous self-government models in other countries.

JUST404 Justice Studies in International Law and International Organizations

Provides an overview of the working principles and the philosophy underlying international law and international agencies. Examines key international conventions and their impact on Canadian justice services. Special emphasis is placed on methods of international conflict resolution. Examines recent developments in international law and organizations.

JUST406 Human Resources and Regulatory Environments

Builds on the understanding of administrative law principles and fundamentals of natural justice through practical examples. Examines workplace issues and the government agencies dealing with them, such as human rights commissions, ombudsmen's offices and the Residential Tenancy offices. Looks at labour standards, equity rules, harassment prevention guidelines, principles of taxation, and principles of an ethical workplace, as well as Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation and other tribunals of current interest to learners.

Interdisciplinary Studies

INDS400 Global Perspective on Indigenous Ways of Knowing

Brings Indigenous perspectives to the analysis of contemporary global problems that affect the environment and humanity. Critiques definitions of progress. Studies the implications of contemporary industrial and consumer culture for the future of human societies within the framework of the insights, values, and definitions of community offered by Indigenous peoples worldwide. Examines the potential relevance of Indigenous bodies of knowledge and wisdom to the search for solutions to contemporary environmental problems and survival issues is examined.

Vancouver Island University Agreement

Royal Roads University and Vancouver Island University are pleased to collaborate on the province's first interdisciplinary, professionally oriented bachelor's program. Under this partnership, students in the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program at RRU may specialize in one of several areas at VIU as part of their studies. Read more...

External Electives

As a part of the BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, students must select 12 credits at the 300/400 level from other post-secondary institutions. Here are four sites where students can find potential courses; however, students are welcome to suggest online, blended, or face to face courses from any recognized university.