Liberal Studies

A teacher stands in front of an elementary classroom whiteboard holding up a flashcard.


Liberal studies is the major that prepares students for elementary school teaching in California. The liberal studies major is among the oldest and largest majors on campus and continues the longstanding historical tradition of preparing future teachers and teacher leaders for educational careers.

As an interdisciplinary major, liberal studies students have a strong knowledge base of multiple disciplines (English, math, science, history/social science, art, music, theatre, physical education, and psychology). Students who complete their BA in liberal studies are well prepared to enter multiple subjects credential programs with the goal of teaching in elementary, bilingual Spanish elementary, self-contained classrooms, and special education K-12 school settings.


There are many reasons to choose liberal studies at California State University, Chico. Our program is built upon four cornerstones (1) social and ecological justice, (2) best practices in teaching, (3) critical thinking and integrative reasoning skills, and 4) field experiences in local public school settings. We offer

  • An award-winning online BA degree completion program.
  • A blended multiple subjects/credential/BA option (ideal for incoming freshman students).
  • A bilingual/Spanish BA option preparing students for the bilingual credential program.
  • Multiple opportunities for hands-on learning in coursework across disciplines.
  • An approved CCTC elementary subject matter waiver program.
  • Opportunities to join student clubs and educationally focused organizations.
  • Opportunities for minors, study abroad, or adding a second major.

We pride ourselves on offering rigorous coursework with dedicated faculty, early clinical experiences in local elementary schools, and one-on-one advising support throughout the program. 

As a unique interdisciplinary program, students take courses from 14 different departments across the University with faculty who have expertise in all the subject matter disciplines, many of whom have been recognized for their outstanding teaching abilities. Students have opportunities to experience learning in a variety of settings including hands-on learning labs, state-of-the-art classroom and lab facilities, working with local community-based organizations (local Boys and Girls Club, Gateway Science Museum, after school programs, etc.), and observations in public elementary schools.

Liberal studies students participate in many campus student organizations including the most popular student organization for future teachers, the Student California Teachers Association (SCTA). Opportunities for student involvement across campus include Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE), which provides meaningful volunteer opportunities to develop student leaders and serves a broad base of community needs.


Currently, there is high need for teachers nationwide. The profession is experiencing rapid retirements and a shortage of high-quality, innovative, well-prepared educators who are committed to working in diverse educational settings. The profession is looking for new teachers who bring innovative pedagogies, a strong foundation of social and ecological justice, a critical understanding of curriculum, educational policy, and school leadership. In addition to being prepared as teachers, our majors have a variety of education-related and other career options.

Liberal studies students are highly prepared for successful admission to multiple subjects, bilingual, and education specialist credential programs. Most of our students apply and are accepted to Chico State’s highly regarded credential programs. Chico State’s School of Education in partnership with the Career Center hosts a well-attended hiring fair featuring 100+ districts across the state every spring. Many of our graduates are offered teaching positions at this event.