Liberal Studies Overview

In the state of California, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) awards credentials to teachers upon the recommendation of colleges and universities with approved teacher education programs. The Liberal Studies major is USD’s approved undergraduate teacher education program for elementary and special education teachers.

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2015-2016, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on October 1, 2015. Access the catalog of record at

The Liberal Studies major is specifically for students who are interested in earning either the Preliminary Multiple Subjects credential for elementary teaching, or the Level I Education Specialist credential for teaching special education (mild-moderate), grades K-12. This major is designed as a nine-semester program: 8 semesters of coursework plus one additional semester for student teaching. With careful planning, it is possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree and a preliminary teaching credential in four years if they carry 18 units per semester and/or take courses during the summer and/or intersession.

This major fosters a holistic experience in the required multiple subjects and provides students with a strong foundational understanding of these subjects. It is a program of study designed to graduate well-educated teachers who understand significant ideas, structures, and values in a wide range of the liberal arts and sciences; teachers who can critically analyze and synthesize information from diverse disciplines, and who appreciate diverse perspectives.

The required coursework is divided into 3 distinct categories: core courses, concentration courses, and credential preparation courses. The core courses provide instruction in the content that is tested on the CSET (California Subject Matter Competency) exam. Within the core requirements, there are 10 specialized courses designed specifically for educators; many of these courses also introduce the content standards for that particular subject. Only grades of C or higher satisfy core and concentration course requirements. Only grades of B– or higher satisfy credential preparation course requirements. No courses can be taken pass/fail. The CBEST must be passed before a student can complete their admission to the credential program (SOLES). The LBST 400 course includes the capstone requirement for the program and should be taken within the last 30 units and after completion of the advanced writing course ENGL 304W. The CSET must be passed prior to student teaching.

Students are urged to declare the Liberal Studies major as soon as possible to ensure rapid and efficient progress through the degree. It is important to complete these courses in the freshman year, or as soon as possible: LBST 200, ENGL 122 and MATH 115. In order to complete credential requirements successfully, students should apply to the teacher credential program in the second semester of the sophomore year.

It is important for all Liberal Studies majors to meet regularly with their academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences to ensure that all graduation requirements are met in a timely manner. Upon admission to the teacher credential program, students should meet regularly with their Credential Program Advisor in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences.

A Liberal Studies major can graduate without completing the credential coursework, as long as they meet all Liberal Studies core and concentration requirements as well as all other university graduation requirements.

Liberal studies majors are encouraged to save all major assignments and exams completed in core, concentration and credential courses for possible inclusion in their capstone project and credential portfolios.

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