Program of Study
The Liberal Studies Department offers three Options, all leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree. All three Options are suitable for students who start their undergraduate careers at Cal State San Marcos as well as for transfer students; some coursework taken at California community colleges may be applied to Liberal Studies requirements for all three Options.
The Border Studies Option (BRS) is designed for students who want to acquire knowledge and skills regarding the dynamics that occur in regions where multiple communities come into overlapping contact and where borders of all sorts both divide and create communities. The BRS Option is particularly suited for students who want to become service professionals working within border regions in careers such as city planning, public policy, health professions, border patrol, education, and public administration. The BRS curriculum provides an interdisciplinary exploration of the geopolitical, linguistic, cultural, and social frontiers that shape the development of border communities. To learn more about the BRS Option, please read the requirements on the following pages; if you have questions, contact the Liberal Studies Department Chair.
The Elementary Subject Matter Preparation and Integrated Credential Program options both offer excellent curricular pathways to students interested in a career in elementary school teaching. Both are based on the California Standards for Multiple Subject Preparation for future K-8 teachers. Coursework is selected to address the seven core subject matter areas of the K-8 curriculum: Reading, Language & Literature; History & Social Science; Mathematics; Science; Visual & Performance Arts; Human Development; and Physical Education. In addition, students in both options choose a Depth of Study module that explores one of these subject matter areas in great depth.
The B.A. in Liberal Studies (both ESM and ICP options) prepares students for the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET). The CSET is a test of the future teacher’s mastery of the subject matter delivered in K-8 curricula; passing the CSET is a prerequisite for entry into most post-baccalaureate credential programs (including CSUSM’s) and is currently required for recommendation of a California credential. The ESM and ICP Options specifically aim to prepare graduates for entry into the next stages of teacher training and to ensure that as future teachers they will have a command of the subjects they teach.
Student Learning Outcomes
The goals of the Liberal Studies Program are that of all our graduates:
- Learn to engage in reasoned thinking.
- Maintain open, inquiring, and skeptical minds.
- Know how to access and evaluate information.
- Develop cultural sensitivity and tolerance for cultural differences.
- Acquire environmental awareness.
- Establish a foundation for understanding social issues.
- Take responsibility for their thinking, actions, and impact on the world.
Students graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies will
- In the area of interdisciplinary knowledge: a. Identify the approaches of multiple disciplines including their different questions and methods; b. Be able to frame questions about social problems from different disciplinary perspectives.
- In the area of multidisciplinary knowledge: a. Identify the interdisciplinary approach, its questions and methods; b. Be able to frame questions about social problems from an interdiscipinary perspective.
- Critically examine their role(s) in the communities with which they interact.
- Demonstrate skills needed to collaborate to achieve a goal.
- Collect, critically evaluate, and analyze primary and secondary data.
- Formulate an argument and present it effectively both orally and in writing.
In addition, students in the BRS Option will:
- Comprehend theories and key issues in the study of borders and border communities.
- Design and implement border research projects using appropriate methodologies
Students in the ESM and ICP Options will:
- Acquire a breadth of knowledge across the range of subjects included in the State’s requirements for future teachers, and depth of knowledge in one of the subject areas, as preparation for passing the CSET and applying to a credential program.
- Explain some of the ways in which this acquired knowledge will inform their teaching of K-8 students in California’s school system.
For students in the BRS Option, the B.A. in Liberal Studies serves as preparation for a wide range of careers in the public and private sector where knowledge of border dynamics matters. Examples include planning, public policy, health professions, border patrol, education, public administration, and community liaison officers for private sector firms.
For students in the ESM and ICP Options, the B.A. in Liberal Studies is the first step in becoming a K-8 teacher. For students in the ESM Option who do not want to be teachers, the B.A. in Liberal Studies serves as a liberal arts foundation for high school, community college, and university student services jobs, NGOs focused on education issues, most graduate programs in the humanities and social sciences, and law school.
Graduates of Liberal Studies programs are well-positioned for entry into CSUSM’s Multiple Subject Credential Program. For complete and up-to-date information, please contact the College of Education or visit their website.
Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies
In all three Options, all courses counted toward the Major, including Preparation for the Major, must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better.
Special Conditions for the Border Studies Option
A minimum of eighteen (18) units counted toward the BRS Option must be completed at Cal State San Marcos.
No more than six (6) units of independent study and independent research (BRS 498 and BRS 499) may be applied toward the BRS Option.