About Us

Our programs serve a variety of personal and career objectives, including preparation for teaching, graduate school and careers in business, law, public service and the arts.


To apply to the Humanities, Liberal Studies, American Studies or California Studies programs, visit Application Central.

We strongly recommend that you consult any faculty member in the School for more details.

Humanities undergraduate and graduate students develop methods of bringing the various humanities, such as literature, music, visual forms and architecture, into an integrative view of the world's cultural diversity. Our inquiry focuses on expressive forms, social conduct, values and artistic insights across human communities.

This goal is accomplished through a two-pronged approach:

  • a core curriculum that develops sound writing skills and introduces humanistic methods of critical analysis;
  • a series of required courses and electives on different world regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. These courses include biographies of cities across the globe, introductions to major world cultures and comparative and theoretical studies of culture.

Students who wish to base their careers on a broad knowledge of American and world cultures will find the Humanities B.A. major useful for positions in government, business, education and the arts. This program offers invaluable training for students who wish to pursue an M.A. or a Ph.D. in any Humanities discipline. Further practical training in a specific professional field (library work, overseas teaching or public service, journalism, museum work, etc.) may well be taken in conjunction with the major or the minor in Humanities. Students earning the B.A. in Humanities may also wish to pursue a TESOL certification or a single subject teaching credential in English or History through the Teaching Credential Program. The M.A. program serves a variety of personal and career objectives, including preparation for teaching, doctoral study, business, public service and the arts.

Liberal Studies is an interdisciplinary major that encompasses areas of knowledge in the arts, sciences, social sciences and language.

It provides the broad academic background necessary for future teachers as well as excellent preparation for advanced studies in a number of different fields. The major can be planned to prepare students for particular career paths, such as government or public service, business, counseling, law, librarianship, teaching, medicine and health, nonprofit service, management or work in multicultural communities.

American Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of American culture and society that draws upon courses from departments and programs in the humanities and social sciences.

The core curriculum includes courses in U.S. history, literary and cultural studies, geography and California studies, while electives, chosen on advisement, may be drawn from any department or program with courses that focus on the U.S. (including History, English, Music, Humanities, Political Science and Ethnic Studies). Majors who achieve a 3.0 or higher are encouraged to complete their program with an independent study (699) in which they write an interdisciplinary senior thesis.

American Studies majors are prepared for a number of different career paths that value interdisciplinary knowledge, critical and creative thinking and effective writing skills. Our majors have gone on to graduate school, law and business school, education, public policy, nonprofits and museum work. We are working to build an alumni network to help students navigate their next steps after graduation.

To become an American Studies major or minor, or to find out more about it, please email the American Studies coordinator, Peter Richardson (pkr@sfsu.edu), to make an appointment.

California Studies is a multidisciplinary program whose purpose is to study the consensus and conflict, unity and diversity, and continuity and change that characterize the many cultures, social structures and artistic and creative expressions, as well as the Earth and geosciences, of past and present California.

Students pursuing this minor may draw upon the strengths of many departments offering courses on the various dimensions of California — in particular, Africana Studies, American Indian Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Asian American Studies, Biology, Economics, English, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, History, Hospitality Management, Humanities, Meteorology, Political Science, Latina/Latino Studies and Recreation, Parks and Tourism. Certain core courses are required to obtain the minor, with additional elective courses to be chosen by the student.

Each student should emerge from the minor with a grasp of California history and political processes, a knowledge and appreciation of the rich diversity of California cultures, creative arts and literatures, an informed view of California’s environmental richness and ecological relationships and a continuing interest in the dynamic California landscape.

To become California Studies minor, or to find out more about it, please email the California Studies coordinator, Peter Richardson (pkr@sfsu.edu), to make an appointment.