Cycle Makers and Cycle Breakers: Transitional Studies

Fall 2019
Winter 2020
Spring 2020
Daytime Evening
Day and Evening
Class Size: 200
Credits per quarter

Compare offerings and share your lists with others.

Taught by

law, creative writing, literature
political economy, political science
sociology, cultural and media studies
Smith square
environmental studies, public policy
computer studies
Anthony Zaragoza square portrait
political economy
Mingxia Li
biology, Chinese cultural studies, molecular pharmacology

This upper division program will examine cyclical patterns across a wide spectrum, ranging from the existence of these patterns in the natural world to their presence in human activities and institutions. We will emphasize creation of new cycles that facilitate social justice practices, in local to global contexts. We will further explore how businesses founded on tenets of cooperative social entrepreneurship can address issues of social justice and be a force for positive social change.  The goal of this interdisciplinary program is to engage students in extensive research and in-depth textual analysis of individuals, institutions and communities in transition. Thus, students are expected to use their research and analysis to respond to the changing needs of communities, environments, and society.

Each quarter, students participate in the weekly lecture/seminar series and attend two additional courses of their choice. These courses are taught by two or one faculty in their field of disciplines and academic interest. Additionally, the courses are designed to contribute to the program’s overall theme and further students’ in-depth learning.

In fall quarter, students study the prevalence of cyclical patterns and research situations with such patterns. Students also have an opportunity to examine recurring cycles in their own lives – and their decisions to maintain them or to create a new paradigm.

In winter quarter, students research possible causes and potential solutions to identified problems. This includes collaboratively researching and examining the pros and cons of a specific action. The major focus is to develop the skills and knowledge to renew and sustain self, family, community and humans as a species in harmony with the environment.

Finally, in spring quarter, students present their community projects, based on their winter research, to the public at our annual Community Fair. These projects are developed throughout the year and build upon the knowledge and skills gained in each quarter. Typically, students identify a topic connected to their areas of interest in fall quarter and begin enhancing their understanding of this subject through in-depth research and analysis. Their study and research in winter quarter explore strategies to remedy or address pressing social, economic, or environmental problems. They carry out their research and action plan in spring quarter, presenting their work at the Community Fair and evaluating the process of their project before we celebrate the graduating class.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

law and public policy, political economy, history, literature, writing, community and environmental studies, human development and biology, public health, bioethics, social science research, research methodology, statistics, quantitative reasoning, media literacy, computer studies, education, instructional technology, social work, and project management.


Credits per quarter


To be formally admitted to the Tacoma Program, prospective students must meet the following criteria: 1) Complete a minimum of 90 transferable college credits or a transferable associate degree. You will start at the Tacoma Program as a junior or senior. 2) Complete an in-person intake interview at the Tacoma location. You can interview either before or after you begin the online application, but your application will not be processed until after your interview. To schedule an interview, call the Student Services Coordinator at (253) 680-3005 or send an email to .

Online learning:
  • Fall and Winter: Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
  • Spring Complete Online Learning - This offering delivers all of its instruction online.

$10 per quarter for entrance fees.

Internship Opportunities:

Students can elect to do internships. Credit range is 2-14 credits per quarter. Though internships will normally be related to students' academic studies, all internships will be registered separately from the program.

Class Standing: Junior–Senior
Class Size: 200
Daytime Evening

Scheduled for: Day and Evening

Final schedule and room assignments:


Located in: Tacoma