department menu

Liberal Studies


The Department of Liberal Studies is an interdisciplinary unit of faculty who are dedicated to student-centered teaching in the areas of K-8 education, geography, and linguistics, and who are internationally recognized for our involvement in community-based research across four continents. Our research covers many areas including: language acquisition and documentation, linguistics in K-12 education, human-environment interactions, land use planning, wine and beer production in California, the social context of health, science education and policy, and the role of children in shaping their environment. We are always happy to talk to students and discuss our research, courses, programs, and career options, so come meet us! 


Liberal Studies Degrees and Programs:


Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies-Teaching Options

Elementary Subject Matter option for teachers (ESM)
This program prepares students seeking to enter the CSUSM School of Education's Credential Program.

Integrated Teacher Education Program option (ITEP). This program offers students an accelerated pathway to becoming a California teacher.

Fieldwork in Jordan

Minor in Geography

The Geography Minor provides a broad preparation in geography and geographic information systems with an emphasis on systems thinking.


boarder studies option

Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies - Border Studies Option

This option allows students to emphasize the unique dimensions of teaching in a border region.  

We also offer a Minor in Border Studies.


Minor in Linguistics

The Minor in Linguistics provides a strong foundation in linguistics and a unique undergraduate opportunity to conduct field work. 



Our department manages a state-of-the-art G.I.S. teaching and learning laboratory with 35 workstations, breakout tables for discussion and group work, and a new augmented reality sand table for studying physical geographical processes.

GIS lab

Geography Information Systems Open Lab Schedule (GIS Lab)Social and Behavioral Sciences Bldg (SBSB 1108)

Fall 2019 GIS Open Lab Hours are Monday and Friday from 8:00 - 10:00 am.  Also, Wednesday and Friday from 12:30 - 2:00 pm.  To book the GIS lab, email Carrie Dyal.


Sustainable Food Project

Dr. Greig Guthey in the garden

Department faculty coordinate a growing Gardening Club on the campus that farms portions of the department's organic garden and food justice project, known as the Sustainable Food Project.

For more information, vist the Sustainable Food Project website.


News & Events

We are hiring a linguist!  Read position description and apply.

Join our new CSUSM student organization, the Future Educators Association.

Elementary Multiple Subject CSET I-III Waiver Information.

Lecturer Positions available in our Department.

Attend Actions for Climate Change Event on Nov. 19, 2019 from 5-7 pm at USU Ballroom BD.


Faculty Highlights

Greig Guthey's Living Laboratory featured on Edible San Diego.

Nicoleta Bateman's Panel Presentation at the NCTE Convention.

Kimberly Knowles-Yanez attending UC/CSU Environmental Literacy & Climate Change Summit.

Elizabeth Ridder awarded National Science Foundation Grant.  Congratulations!

Archived Faculty Highlight Information