Philosophy Statement

University values, as embodied in the California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) Mission statement, form the basis for the General Education program of study.  The Mission Statement addresses this curricular component as follows:

"Consistent with its global orientation, the comprehensive University exposes students to the study of languages, to world literature and the fine arts, and to issues and traditions of the United States and other countries.   The University's definition of the liberal arts and sciences...includes basic skill in writing, critical and creative thinking, mathematics, fundamental computer competence and an interdisciplinary approach. The University encourages students to examine moral and ethical issues... the historical past and its relationship to the present...human behavior, culture, values and institutions...modern sciences and technology...race, gender and cultural diversity."

Within this framework, value is placed on an understanding of, and appreciation for the unity of knowledge, the centrality of effective communication and language facility, the community of scholarship and the ethical and moral bases for human interaction as part of, and with the global environment.  The General Education program recognizes the need to build upon students' prior knowledge and experience and to foster in its students, a commitment to the development of community as well as self-interest.

CSUSM values affirm that the integration of knowledge and a commitment to learning are processes which transcend the University experience.  Within the University process, and among the community of scholars, value is placed on an understanding of, empathy for, and responsiveness to:

  • global issues and perspectives;
  • multiculturalism, gender construction and difference, and human diversity;
  • technological and ecological continuity and change;
  • and ethical and moral questions affecting the present and shaping the future.

In addition to the specializations developed by its graduates in major fields of study, the University celebrates the development of intellectual inquiry and creative self expression.  To advance these goals, all who earn undergraduate degrees should have university level competency in the following general areas.

  • Critical thinking, logic and effective reasoning
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Understanding science and the natural world Mathematical concepts and computational skills
  • Accessing, analyzing and using information
  • Knowledge of and experience in diverse modes of thought and creativity
  • Living in and contributing to an increasingly diverse and interdependent world
  • Understanding the responsibilities of citizenship in a global environment

 The guiding principles which support the philosophical context of the General Education program include the following:

  • Transfer students will be exposed to and incorporate CSUSM values through the Upper Division General Education requirement.
  • The CSUSM General Education program will be user-friendly: it will be integrated in a way that will not present barriers to, but will facilitate completion of, the GE program. The University will allow the greatest latitude in accepting prior undergraduate credit consistent with law, and the philosophy and mission of the University. 
  • CSUSM values will be integrated into all lower and upper division courses, allowing for student exposure to the unique University character, regardless of level of entry or source of previous education. 
  • CSUSM values will be integrated into major course work in all disciplines, thereby reinforcing those infused into the General Education program. 

True academic freedom and the development of open academic discourse requires respectful attitudes and behaviors toward all members of the academic community in the free expression, interchange and consideration of a variety of viewpoints.  All courses shall reinforce the ethical and legal responsibility of all members of the University community to respectfully acknowledge and celebrate the diverse ways of knowing, teaching and learning styles, and forms of expres­sion of all members of society.  In so doing, the University may move toward the fulfillment of its goal, as articulated in the Mission Statement:

The aim of CSU, San Marcos is to instill in its students the enthusiasm and curiosity, the healthy skepticism, and the habit of continuing inquiry that are central to all truly educated men and women.  The goal is to enable them to realize their potentialities as enlightened individuals and productive members of society in a world of change.

This statement is consistent with the letter and intent of Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 40405, General Education-Breadth Requirements; Executive Order No. 595, General Education-Breadth Requirements; and the constitutional framework of the California State University Systemwide Administration and the California State University San Marcos.

For more information, see the complete Philosophy Statement:

Original Philosophy Statement (May 1994)

Most recent Philosophy Statement (as amended through February 2003)