Major Emphases

As a Liberal Studies student, you will follow one of the several emphasis pathways toward the degree. Each emphasis involves specific coursework and is geared to a specific professional purpose.

The Elementary Education emphasis is designed primarily for students who wish to teach at the elementary school level or pursue a career that requires an interdisciplinary liberal arts degree. Within this emphasis, you complete one of three foci and one of three options. The focus provides an opportunity for you to explore the habits of mind and methods used in a chosen subject area as you develop both depth and breadth of knowledge and experience. Three foci are available to select: literacy, mathematics, and science. With regard to the option, you (a) earn the Basic Certificate in Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language (when paired with a literacy), (b) begin preparation for the SDSU bilingual or special education credential programs, or (c) further explore the performing arts.

Students who choose the literacy focus develop depth in linguistics, literature, and theatre. The focus is designed so that you also complete specific coursework required to earn a Middle School Subject Matter Authorization in English (provided you earn a grade of C (2.0) or better in each course). When coupled with a multiple subject credential, this authorization allows you to teach English in middle school if you so desire.

Students who choose the mathematics or science foci learn to think like mathematicians or scientists. Once you have completed some of the coursework in one of these foci (mathematics or science), you will need to choose whether to take additional math or science courses or to complete one of the options described above. If you choose to take additional mathematics or science courses, you can qualify to teach middle school as described below under the mathematics or science foci.

Coursework for Emphasis in Elementary Education

The liberal studies major with an emphasis in integrated teacher education program is designed primarily for students who wish to earn a teaching credential as well as a bachelors in Liberal Studies. The Liberal Studies major offers four Integrated Teacher Education Program pathways: Bilingual ITEP, Multiple-Subjects ITEP, and two Special Education ITEPs (mild moderate and extensive support needs). These programs integrate the study of interdisciplinary liberal arts courses with professional preparation courses and field experiences leading to a Preliminary Teaching Credential. Successful completion of the liberal studies major with an emphasis in Integrated Teacher Education Program (ITEP-MS) includes both a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Arts and Sciences and a Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.

Coursework for ITEP Emphasis

The demand for mathematics teachers continues to be high, especially if you are a teacher of color. When coupled with a multiple subject credential, this authorization allows you to teach mathematics in middle school if you so desire.

Smart Tip:

If you wish to further enhance your employability, you may attempt to pass the two CSET examinations (110 on algebra and 111 on geometry) that are required for a Foundational Level Mathematics certification. Graduates who pass these tests and earn a multiple subject credential may add a single subject authorization by taking the extra, single subject mathematics methods course, Teacher Education 914. Those whose sole goal is to teach middle school, however, may choose to do the regular single subject credential program, which gives them the advantage of doing their student teaching in a middle school or high school class. A single subject credential in Foundational Level Mathematics qualifies individuals to teach general mathematics, algebra, geometry, probability

Coursework for Mathematics Emphasis

The demand for middle school science teachers also continues to be high, especially so for teachers of color. With this emphasis, you complete the focus in science described above and specific coursework required to earn a Middle School Subject Matter Authorization in science.  You must earn a C or better in these courses. When coupled with a multiple subject credential, this authorization allows you to teach science in middle school if you so desire.

With proper selection of courses (BIOL 101, BIOL 101L, CHEM 200, PHYS 180A, and PHYS 182A) and completion of a portfolio, this emphasis also leads to a Foundational Level General Science certification. This program was approved by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing in October 2011. Thus, you satisfy subject matter competency. For maximum employability, you may choose to earn a multiple subject credential and add a single subject authorization by taking the extra single subject science methods course, Teacher Education 914. If your sole goal is to teach middle school, however, you may choose to do the regular single subject credential program, which gives you the advantage of doing your student teaching in a sixth, seventh, or eighth grade classroom.

Coursework for Science Emphasis

This emphasis is available only for transfer students who complete the California Community College Associate in Arts in Elementary Teacher Education (AAT) degree and complete the Transfer Model Curriculum (TMC) for Liberal Studies/Integrated Teacher Education. Students choose a literacy, mathematics, or science focus; no option is required.  

The purpose of this emphasis is for students who may not be committed to becoming an elementary school teacher and would appreciate some flexibility in their Liberal Studies coursework. With that in mind, it is important to know that the Education Generalist emphasis is not compatible with certain opportunities within the Liberal Studies major, such as ITEP pathways or qualifying for Multiple Subjects CSET Waiver, due to the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) limit on units. Please talk to your advisor to ensure that this emphasis is compatible with your career goals.

Students intending to transfer to liberal studies from local community colleges are strongly encouraged to use electives to complete courses equivalent to ENS 241A, ENS 241B, MATH 211, MTHED 212, and MUSIC 102, so that they will have elective units available if they wish to pursue a career option that requires additional coursework or prerequisites. Transfer students should not take focus or option courses prior to matriculating at San Diego State University.

Coursework for Emphasis in Education-Generalist