Dec 05, 2022  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Liberal Studies, Teaching - Elementary Subject Matter Preparation Option (ESM), B.A.


SBSB 4-222


(760) 750-4104

Web sites:


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Program of Study

The Elementary Subject Matter Preparation Option offers an excellent curricular pathway to students interested in a career in elementary or middle school teaching (grades K-8). Coursework is selected to address the seven core subject matter areas of the K-8 curriculum (Reading, Language & Literature; History & Social Sciences; Mathematics; Science; Visual & Performance Arts; Human Development; and Physical Education), including all general education and breadth of study requirements. In addition, students choose an Area of Focus module that explores one of these subject matter areas in greater depth.

Also see the other option in Liberal Studies
Liberal Studies, B.A.– Integrated Teacher Education Program Option   (ITEP)   

CSET Waiver

The curriculum for the ESM and ITEP options has been approved as a Multiple Subject California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSETs) I-III Waiver Program by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. This means that students who finish all degree requirements for the ESM and ITEP options, earn a cumulative GPA of 2.67 or higher, and graduate, will not need to take the CSETs I-III.

Program Goals

The goals of the Liberal Studies Program are that all of 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.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies in the Elementary Subject Matter Option will:

  1. Earn the Multiple Subject CSET I-III Waiver.
  2. Articulate their role in the community, with an emphasis on how their educational experience informs their K-8 teaching.
  3. Collaborate with diverse groups and in multiple settings to achieve a goal.
  4. Collect, evaluate, and analyze primary and secondary data/resources.

Career Opportunities

For students in the ESM Option, 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 are well-positioned for entry into CSUSM’s Multiple Subject (K-8 teaching) Credential Program. For complete and up-to-date information, please contact the School of Education .

Special Conditions for the Liberal Studies Major

All courses counted toward the Major, including general education, must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. No course counting for Major requirements may be taken for a grade of Credit/No Credit. Note that a 2.67 GPA is required for the CSET I-III Waiver.

Lower-Division Requirements (including GE) (60 Units)

Introduction to LBST (3 Units)

  • LBST 100  – An Introduction to Critical Education Units: 3 (LDGE D7)


  • LBST 300   – An Introduction to Critical Education Units: 3

(first-year students take LBST 100 ; transfer students take LBST 300 )


The courses listed below satisfy General Education  requirements as indicated at the time of publication. Check the Class Schedule for the most up-to-date list of courses satisfying these requirements.

History and Social Science (HSS) (12 Units)

Reading, Language, and Literature (RLL) (15 Units)

Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) (6 Units)

Human Development (HD) (3 Units)

Physical Education (PE) (3 Units)

Critical Thinking (3 Units)

  • Any LDGE A3 (PHIL 110   recommended) Units: 3

Breadth of Study Requirements (27 Units)


Courses must be taken in the following areas in order to fulfill the Breadth of Study requirement.

California History (3 Units)

Multicultural Studies (3 Units)

One of the following courses:

Science (3 Units)

Linguistics (3 Units)

Arts (3 Units)

Integrative Studies (3 Units)

One of the following courses:

Area of Focus Requirements for the ESM Option (15-16 Units)

All students must fulfill the Area of Focus requirement by selecting and completing a 15-16 unit module of coursework clustered around one of the seven K-8 subject areas. The Area of Focus 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.

Courses taken to satisfy the Area of Focus requirement may not be used to satisfy the Integrative, Arts, or Multicultural Studies requirements; however, Area of Focus coursework may also be applied toward completion of a minor (an official declaration of the minor must be filed with Registration and Records). 

Students must complete an Area of Focus in one of the following content areas (shown in alphabetical order). Consult the Approved Course Lists and talk to your academic advisor if you have questions.

Bilingual Spanish (15 Units)

Students seeking to complete this concentration must ensure they are sufficiently proficient in Spanish by completing any preparatory coursework. Note: if you test out of SPAN 202 , please see advisor to ensure that you complete the appropriate number of upper-division units for progress to graduation.

Mathematics (15 Units)

Physical Education (15 Units)

Visual and Performing Arts (15 Units)

  • Any five Upper-Division arts course in Art, Media, and Design (AMD), Dance Studies (DNCE), Music (MUSC), and Theater Arts (TA)

ESM Total (102-103 Units)

Minimum Total (120 Units)

Graduation Requirement: Students must take a sufficient number of elective units to bring the total number of units to a minimum of 120, including at least 40 at the upper-division level.