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School of Teacher Education

School of Teacher Education

Liberal Studies
SDSU Liberal Studies

Required Units

On this page: Academic preparation for the Liberal Studies major for future teachers consists of approximately 60 lower-division units. Learn about the suggested sequence of courses, advising sheet, timing of courses, and restriction of upper-division courses.


60 Lower-Division Units

Lower-division preparation for the Liberal Studies major consists of approximately 60 units including:

  • Math
  • Science
  • Language arts
  • Social science
  • Visual and performing arts
  • PE/ human development
  • The humanities

Note: Students should make every effort to complete at least 60 units by the end of the sophomore year.

Codes used below:

  • CODE C = Students must earn a grade of "C" or better to clear the requirement
  • CODE L = Must be taken for a letter grade (no CR/NC allowed)

Core knowledge areas

Required courses comprise several core knowledge areas:

  • Area I: Communication and Critical Thinking (9 units) 
    • Includes Oral Communication (C, L); Composition (C, L); Intermediate Composition/ Critical Thinking (C, L)
  • Area II: Foundations of Learning (28-32 units)
    • Includes Life Science; Earth Science; Numbers and Operations (C, L); Geography; Psychology; Literature; History; Visual and Performing Arts; General Education Humanities
  • Area III: American Institutions (6 units)
    • Includes Africana Studies, American Indian Studies, Chicano/a Studies, History, Political Science
  • Area IV: Liberal Studies (3 units)
  • Additional Preparation (9.5 units)
    • Physical Education (2 units)
      • Exercise and Nutritional Sciences 241A and ENS 241B (1 unit each) (C, L) [must be taken concurrently]
    • Children's Mathematical Thinking
      • Math Education 212 (1 to 1.5 units) Field experience required. [Recommended: Take concurrently with Math 210.]
    • Geometry
    • Fundamentals of Music

Suggested Sequence of Courses

Download the Liberal Studies Advising Sheet to see a suggested sequence of courses in preparation for the major. This advising sheet is for those who entered in the 2016-2017 catalog year. (Consult the Liberal Studies advisor to see advising sheets from previous years.)

Table 1: Suggested Sequence of Courses in Preparation for the Major, Freshman Year
 Freshman Semester 1UnitsFreshman Semester 2Units

*Oral Communication

3***Intermediate Composition / Critical Thinking
 **Freshman Composition3 Earth Science: Geology 1043
 Numbers & Operations: Math 210 and MathEd 2124 World Regional Geography: GEOG 1063
Dev. Psych.: Teacher Education 170 or CFD 170 ****American Institutions I
 Fundamentals of Music: Music 1023 Geometry: Math 2113
 16 15

*Oral Communication Choose 1 class: Africana Studies 140, Chicana/o Studies 111A, Communication 103, Transf. Oral Comm. course (A-1)

**Freshman Composition Choose 1 class: Africana Studies 120, American Indian Studies 120, Chicana/o Studies 111B, Linguistics 100 (intl. students), English 100, Rhetoric and Writing 100, Rhetoric and Writing 101, Transf. Composition course (A-2)

***Intermediate Composition/ Critical Thinking Choose 1 class: Africana Studies 200, Chicana/o Studies 200, Linguistics 200 (intl. students), English 200, Philosophy 110, Rhetoric and Writing 200, Transferred Critical Thinking course (A-3)

****American Institutions I Choose 1 class: Africana Studies 170A, American Indian Studies 140, Chicana/o Studies 141A, History 109

Table 2: Suggested Sequence of Courses in Preparation for the Major, Sophomore Year
Sophomore Semester 1Units  Sophomore Semester 2Units 

Life Science: Biology 100

3***Literature
Lab: Biology 100L1World History: History 1003
*Visual & Performing Arts3****GE Humanities3
**American Institutions IIPhysical Science: Natural Science 100 (see upper division advising sheet)
Education as a Profession: Education 200 (field experience)3Elective or Focus course (see upper division advising sheet)3
PE: Exercise & Nutritional Science 241A and 241 B (Fall only)2 
Elective (recommended: Teacher Education 280) 1  
  16  15

*Visual & Performing Arts  Choose 1 class: Art 157 or Art 259 or Theatre 120

**American Institutions II Choose 1 class: Africana Studies 170B, American Indian Studies 141, Chicana/o Studies 141B, History 110, Political Science 102 (with AP Credit or out-of-state transfer course, CA government is required)

***Literature Choose 1 class: Comparative Literature 270A or Comparative Literature 270B or English 220

****GE Humanities Choose 1 class: A) Foreign Language or B) Philosophy 101 or Religious Studies 101 or Religious Studies 103

Timing of Courses

If you have commitments that limit the times when you can take courses, think carefully about the typical times courses are offered.  (If a course is offered only once each year, you don't want to miss it!) Check the Class Schedule for current information on course availability. See below for "timing" information about focus and option courses.

Focus area courses

Literacy focus:  Sections are offered every semester at various times.

Math focus: Daytime courses are required. These 2 courses are offered only once per year:

  • MATH 413
  • TE 211A

Science focus: Daytime courses with labs are required. These 2 courses are offered only once per year (spring semester):

  • GEOL 412
  • TE 211B

Option courses

  • Linguistics: LING 555 and 556 are usually offered in alternating semesters.
  • Special Ed: SPED 500, 501, and 502 are offered afternoons or evenings each semester.
  • Bilingual: DLE 415 is offered spring semester only.
  • Performing Arts: THEA 510 is offered once every 2 years (you may substitute another course).
  • Math (coupled with Math Emphasis): Math 303 is offered only once per year.
  • Science (coupled with Science Emphasis): CHEM 130 is offered only once per year.

Enrollment Restrictions

Upper-division courses are not open to Liberal Studies pre-majors. Footnotes in the Class Schedule contain information on enrollment restrictions for courses. Please read them carefully when searching for classes.

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