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Liberal Studies


**NEW:  see CSET I-III Waiver Information**


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

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.  

Minor in Border Studies


trucks in a field

Geography Minor

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



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


Integrated Teacher Education Program

This program will be launched soon.  It provides future teachers with an accelerated pathway to becoming a California teacher.


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)

In Fall 2018, the GIS Lab has open lab hours on Monday from 4-6 pm and on Friday from 8-10 am.  If you would like to reserve this lab, please email Carrie Dyal at


Sustainable Food Project


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

More information will be available soon.


In the News:

  • Prof. Jule Gomez de Garcia (Liberal Studies) and Prof. Michael Hughes (Modern Language Studies) directed a group of CSUSM students in linguistic fieldwork in Guatemala. - Linguists in Guatemala Story
  • Prof. Jocelyn Ahlers works with Native California communities who are striving to document and revitalize their languages of heritage. - Native California Communities Story
  • Prof. Greig Guthey featured in San Diego Magazine: The Garden is His Classroom. Congratulations!
  • Prof. Greig Guthey's Living Laboratory featured on Edible San Diego. Congratulations!
Dr. Greig Guthey in the garden

New Faculty

The Liberal Studies Department is excited to welcome Dr. Tihomir Kostadinov as our newest colleague starting in Fall 2018 as Assistant Professor in Environmental Geography. 

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