Program Overview

The Liberal Studies major prepares individuals for careers that require an interdisciplinary background such as elementary school teaching, school counseling, library and information sciences, curriculum design, and other careers in education.

The Major

The Liberal Studies major is interdisciplinary which allows students to develop a broad understanding of a variety of subject matters and ways of thinking from courses such as children’s literature, linguistics, ethnic studies, mathematics, science, visual and performing arts, physical education of children, and child development. The content within these courses closely matches the content that elementary teachers will ultimately have to teach in the schools as well as the content assessed by the California Subject Examination for Teachers Multiple Subject (CSET-MS) examination.

Throughout the first three years as a Liberal Studies student, you will work on critical thinking, research, and writing skills. For example, through hands-on activities such as tutoring and school-based observations, you will learn from the Human Development course (TE170) about children’s development in and out of the K-8 schools.  In Teaching as a Profession (ED 200) you will critically assess issues related to teaching in culturally and linguistically diverse school settings, learn about career paths, and evaluate your occupational fitness for the teaching profession. In Introduction to Liberal Studies (LIB S 300) you will focus on the nature of the discipline’s goals, processes, and evaluation, as well as how to use the knowledge being learned in the classroom. In Assessment in Liberal Studies (LIB S 498) you will collaborate with your peers to demonstrate your knowledge of students, curricula, and pedagogy in a capstone project.

Pre-Major Requirements (Impaction Criteria)

The Liberal Studies major is an impacted program.* To be admitted to the Liberal Studies major with an emphasis in elementary education, mathematics, or science (generalist emphasis, see below), students must fulfill a number of preliminary requirements, called impaction criteria. Until you have completed these requirements, you remain in pre-major status and cannot yet declare the Liberal Studies major.

*Impacted Program: An undergraduate major is designated as impacted when the number of applications received from fully qualified applicants during the initial filing period exceeds the number of available spaces. Such majors are authorized to use supplementary admission criteria to screen applications.

Impaction Criteria:

  • Complete a minimum of 60 transferable semester units
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 2.70 or better
  • Complete all courses listed in Preparation for the Major (see coursework by emphasis)
  • Complete with a grade of C (2.0) or better the following courses (these cannot be taken for credit/no credit):
    • A certified Area Al Oral Communication course
    • A certified Area A3 Intermediate Composition and Critical Thinking course
    • Exercise and Nutritional Sciences 241A and 241B 
    • Mathematics 210 and 211 
  • Declare (advance to) the Liberal Studies major

Completing the Major - Catalog Year

To complete the major, you must fulfill the degree requirements for the major and emphasis described in the catalog at the time you are accepted into the pre-major at SDSU (assuming continuous enrollment).

Major Emphases

Students in the Liberal Studies major will follow one of the several emphasis pathways toward the degree. Each emphasis involves specific coursework and is geared to a specific professional purpose.

Learn more about the major emphasis

Liberal Studies Career Pathways

A Liberal Studies undergraduate degree can set you on a path toward a variety of professions within the field of education.

Learn more about pathways to education careers

children with flowers abroadInternational Experience Opportunities

SDSU and the Liberal Studies Program recognize that student participation in approved international experiences is transformational. Toward that goal, the Liberal Studies program provides international experience opportunities and has designed trips especially for you.

Learn more about International Experience options specifically for Liberal Studies majors