B.A. in Liberal Studies

The Liberal Studies (LS) major has a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary curriculum that encompasses many areas of knowledge in the arts and sciences. This richly diversified major gives students skills and knowledge that will serve them well for work and life in our increasingly complex and interconnected world.  It is specifically recommended for students who want to become elementary school teachers.

Liberal Studies Mission Statement

Students in the Liberal Studies program will emerge with knowledge and skills to negotiate complex spaces and situations in an increasingly globalizing world.

Our students:

  • learn to think critically, create and express thoughts in speech, writing, the arts, and other media;
  • actively examine and engage complex contemporary issues such as education, sustainability, inequality, health and human rights, global and interpersonal conflicts, and social justice;
  • explore how different kinds of learning and ways of knowing expand the capacity to read and change the world;
  • gain experience with the processes of learning and producing new knowledge, including collaborative integration and customized, intensive individual interdisciplinary research projects.

The program consists of innovative courses in the areas of literature; communication; performance; education; environmental studies; science and technology studies; social sciences, humanities, the creative arts, and medical anthropology.  Its well-rounded curriculum provides robust preparation for future teachers. Our graduates have also pursued advanced degrees in counseling, education, public health, gerontology, law, health fields, environmental studies, mathematics, English, psychology, film studies, library science, theology, and more.  Many of our alumni work in public service, resource policy, technology and innovation, library studies, creativity and communication, social media, education, health, and criminal justice fields.

The elementary subject matter emphasis provides the broad academic background necessary for teaching in an elementary classroom and, when completed along with a set of additional courses, allows future teachers to waive the CSET exam.

View the Liberal Studies bulletin information.

Advising worksheets: 

General Requirements for the Liberal Studies Major

All Liberal Studies majors must complete 27-8 units of core courses and 15 additional units of emphasis. Many of our students choose the Elementary Subject Matter emphasis, which includes courses that will count towards a waiver of the CSET exam (required for a credential). While we have several recommended emphasis patterns, most LS majors complete a minor (in a discipline of their choice), which can double-count for the Liberal Studies emphasis requirement.

Each student should consult with an adviser to discuss the Liberal Studies major, selection of courses and preparation of a planning worksheet (available in the LS office).

Core Courses (27-8 units)

The Liberal Studies core includes a lower-division introductory course, two interdisciplinary seminars (the GWAR and capstone) and six courses drawn from different academic disciplines. For some of these disciplines, students choose from a menu of courses (from which Elementary Subject Matter students should chose certain courses). Before beginning the core courses, students should have completed ENG 214 or equivalent (e.g., AFRS 214, or ENG 1B at a community college). 

  • LS 200: An introduction to interdisciplinary inquiry
  • LS 300 (GWAR): An intensive-writing seminar focused on interdisciplinary topics
  • Literature
  • Communication Studies
  • Life or Physical Sciences
  • Social Sciences 
  • Global Humanities
  • Visual Studies
  • LS 690: Senior Seminar, taken in the final semester of the Liberal Studies major.

Emphasis Patterns (15 units)

  • Elementary Subject Matter (includes entire ESM/CSET waiver program on back of worksheet)
  • Minor or emphasis pattern on advisement