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Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies - Teaching

The B.A. in Liberal Studies (Elementary Subject Matter, or ESM) best prepares students who want to become K-8 teachers (most of our students want to teach elementary school). Students graduating with a Liberal Studies degree automatically satisfy the subject matter requirements necessary to be admitted into a Multiple Subject Teacher Credential Program (a 5th year, post-baccalaureate program), and do not need to take the three-part California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET I-III). Furthermore, our program offers a CSET I-III Waiver to eligible graduates, which is considered the ‘gold standard’ for elementary subject matter preparation in California. For Liberal Studies graduates who decide to pursue a career other than teaching, our broad-based liberal arts education prepares them for a wide range of satisfying careers.
classroom with teacher and students

Liberal Studies graduates are working in careers including:

  • K-8 teaching
  • high school, community college, and university student services
  • non-governmental organizations (NGOs) focused on education issues
  • graduate programs in the humanities and social sciences
  • law

What should you do as a new Liberal Studies student?

  • Regularly consult with one of our Liberal Studies advisors to make sure you take the right courses
  • Make sure you take the correct general education (GE) courses. Unlike in most other majors, the GE courses in Liberal Studies are major-specific, as they address content required by the State. Check the Approved Course Lists
  • Declare your Area of Focus as soon as you decide what that is (certainly by your Junior year). 
  • Make friends in your classes and join the Future Educators Association (FEA). As a future educator, you will be learning a lot about the process of becoming an educator in California, and this will take time. FEA is a wonderful student-run organization that will serve as a resource for you throughout your years here at CSUSM.
We used to offer an Integrated Teacher Education Preparation program (ITEP). Due to recently-clarified federal financial aid regulations, we are in the process of discontinuing this program and we are therefore not accepting any new ITEP students.