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 ESM and ICP Options
No course used for Preparation for the Major, Breadth of Study, or Depth of Study may be taken for a grade of Credit/No Credit.
The ESM and ICP 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 & Performing 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 greater depth.
ESM and ICP students are prepared 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.
Elementary Subject Matter Preparation Certificate (ESMPC)
A different pathway to careers in elementary school teaching is provided by the Elementary Subject Matter Preparation Certificate (ESMPC). This is a “stand-alone” certificate program that can be combined with any major in the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences, in the College of Science and Mathematics, or with undergraduate majors in the College of Education, Health and Human Services. The ESMPC provides preparation for Post-Baccalaureate Multiple-Subject Credential programs. See Full Time Multiple-Subject Credential Program/English Learner Authorization , Part-Time Multiple-Subject Credential Program/English Learner Authorization , Concurrent Multiple-Subject and Preliminary Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe Disabilities Education Specialist Program with a Master of Arts Education Option , Internship Partnership with Service Area School Districts Preliminary Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe Disabilities Education Specialist Program with Multiple-Subject Credential Option , and Multiple-Subject Credential Program/English Learner Authorization with Middle Level Certificate for more information.
Like the ESM and ICP Options in the Liberal Studies Major, the ESMPC prescribes a particular pathway through the General Education requirements of the baccalaureate degree; completion of the certificate curriculum ensures the student’s preparedness in the subject areas of the K-8 curriculum. The ESMPC is a package of coursework that the student combines with the required curriculum of an undergraduate Major, leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree (students interested in the Certificate should consult their Major advisors; some Majors are less suitable for combination with the Certificate, leading to additional units of study beyond the 120 units typically required for the Bachelor of Arts degree).
Overall Requirements for ESM
Preparation for the ESM Option (54-57 Units)
(See below for further information on the ESM)
The courses listed below satisfy the General Education requirements at the time the catalog was printed. Check the Class Schedule for the most up-to-date list of courses satisfying these requirements.
Liberal Studies (LBST) (3 Units)
LBST 100 (LDGE D7) (transfer students should take LBST 300 instead) Units: 3
History and Social Science (HSS) (12 Units)
Mathematics (MATH) (6 Units)
Reading, Language, and Literature (RLL) (12 Units)
One of the Following Courses: (3 Units)
Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) (6 Units)
One of the Following Courses: (3 Units)
Any VPA Studio Course** (3 Units)
**Must be taken in a different subject area than the LDGE C1 course. See an advisor for recommended studio courses.
Human Development (HD) (3 Units)
Physical Education (PE) (3 Units)
Critical Thinking (3 Units)
- Any LDGE A3 (PHIL 110 recommended) Units: 3
Total Additional Lower-Division (12 Units)
Breadth of Study Requirements (24-27 Units)
Courses must be taken in the following areas in order to fulfill the Breadth of Study requirement. In some areas, only a single course can fulfill this requirement; in others, a choice of courses is available. Additional courses may be approved to satisfy these requirements as courses are added to the college curriculum. Students should consult a Liberal Studies advisor in order to obtain an up-to-date list of approved courses.
*Cannot be taken for credit in the major if student has taken LBST 100.
**Cannot be taken for Integrative Studies credit in the major if student has taken LBST 307 to fulfill the Field Experience requirement.
Total Breadth of Study (24-27 Units)
Depth of Study Requirements for the ESM Option (15-17 Units)
All students must fulfill the Depth of Study requirement by selecting and completing a 15-17 unit module of coursework clustered around one of the seven K-8 subject areas. Various modules are offered by faculty in related academic fields. Each module is designed to provide the student with a more focused and sustained study of a particular subject matter area.
The depth of study allows students to gain greater appreciation of the development of a given academic field, from basic concepts and methods to more advanced applications and theoretical horizons. Prospective teachers may select a module in a given subject area in order to develop a particular classroom specialty, or to pursue an intellectual or creative interest. As a final graduation requirement, each module includes an overall assessment of the student’s grasp of the field.
Depth of Study coursework may also be applied toward completion of a minor (an official declaration of the minor must be filed with Registration and Records).
Depth of Study modules in one of six content areas are available. Complete descriptions, including current course requirements for each depth of study module, are available from the Liberal Studies Advisors and are posted on the Liberal Studies website.
READING, LANGUAGE, AND LITERATURE (RLL)
HISTORY AND SOCIAL SCIENCES (HSS)
VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS (VPA)
PHYSICAL EDUCATION and HEALTH (PEH)
Minimum Total (120 Units)
Students must take a sufficient number of elective units to bring the total number of units to a minimum of 120
Please consult a Liberal Studies Advisor for recommended teacher preparation electives.