Liberal Studies

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The Emphasis Pattern



Emphasis pattern beyond the core--Students must complete one of the approved emphasis patterns. A minimum of twelve semester units must be taken, with at least six units at the upper division level. Students may also choose to complete a minor on advisement to satisfy the emphasis requirement. Consult a Liberal Studies Advisor for the courses that satisfy the approved emphasis patterns and the list of approved minors.

Students interested in becoming elementary school teachers should choose the Liberal Studies major with Teacher Preparation Emphasis described in the Liberal Studies section of the Bulletin, under "ELEMENTARY TEACHING PREPARATION EMPHASIS: Recommended major program and additional subject matter preparation for students pursuing the Multiple Subject Credential".

To learn more about the different options, refer to the "Advising:Emphasis Patterns" section of this website


How to choose an Emphasis Pattern?

Many people agonize over choosing an area to emphasize. But remember: the emphasis consists of just 12 units minimum- that's just 3 or 4 classes. Each area has specific rules on how to complete the emphasis correctly. Only you can decide which emphasis is best for you. It all depends on your interests, strengths and weaknesses.

For example, if your ultimate goal is to go to law school, it would make sense to emphasize any of the areas. If you want to improve your writing and presentation skills, Area I - Communication, Language and Literature would be an excellent choice. If your interest is in environmental law, you might want to emphasize Area II to learn more about the sciences. If you are business-oriented, you might emphasize Area III and study economics. If your interest is international law, you might choose Area III-International Relations. Perhaps you want to learn more about human behavior or political science Area III would be the area for you. Or maybe you want to study philosophy, which is good training for lawyers. In that case, you would choose Area IV - Humanities. Or you might just choose an Area because it looks interesting and fun!

If you've chosen Liberal Studies but know you want to go on to graduate school in a specific subject, you might choose to emphasize that subject, minor in it or pursue a double major. In some cases it's possible to use all of your emphasis courses to also meet the requirements of another major or a minor.

If you've chosen Liberal Studies because you want to be an elementary school teacher, choose the area that most interests you (what you would have majored in if Liberal Studies if people hadn’t told you that Liberal Studies was the best major for teachers) or choose the area in which you feel the weakest. This is your opportunity to get rid of fears and improve skills so that you will feel comfortable and confident when teaching many different subjects.

For example, you might choose Area I to improve your communication skills or to get a more concrete grounding in English grammar, since you'll be teaching that to kids. You might choose Area II so that you'll have more expertise in math and sciences - teachers with skills in these areas are in great demand. You might choose Area III to learn more about history, human behavior and interaction, or people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. You might choose Area IV-Creative Arts to learn more about appreciating AND participating in the arts or Area IV-Humanities to understand cultural experience through interdisciplinary study of social conduct, values, and artistic insights. As you can see, any of these areas would be both valuable and appropriate for future teachers.

To learn more about the different options, refer to the Bulletin.

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