California State University To Offer Liberal Studies Degree Online To Help Address Teacher Shortage

July 18, 2001

The California State University is now offering a unique opportunity for

undergraduates to earn their liberal studies degree through Liberal Studies

Online, an online degree completion program for individuals working toward a

California teaching credential. Administered through CSU Chico, online

courses will originate from the Chico campus and CSU Sacramento. The first

online courses will be available beginning fall 2001.

“Liberal Studies Online is part of a series of initiatives that reflect

California State University’s ongoing commitment in teacher education,” said

CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “The demand for quality teachers has

drastically increased, and we must find alternative ways to meet that demand

without forgoing our high standards of teacher education.”

The majority of the Liberal Studies Online courses will be presented live,

via streamed video over the Internet, allowing distance students to

interactively participate in regularly scheduled classes as they are taught

on campus. Many of the courses will also be digitally archived to allow

participants an opportunity to view classes asynchronously at their


“Liberal Studies Online provides a link to the CSU for those who are

restricted by work schedule, physical distance, or any other circumstance

that prevents them from attending class on campus at a regularly scheduled

time,” said Bill Martin, program professor and adviser.

“For example, a U.S. soldier from Bosnia, who is a California resident,

inquired about the program because he wanted to be an elementary school

teacher by the end of his service term. This program is specifically

designed for California residents to become California’s teachers.”

The program is designed for students who have two or more years of

transferable college coursework, including all lower division requirements.

Students wishing to participate must meet the same CSU Chico admissions

criteria, and pay the same fees as their fellow on-campus students. To

obtain the liberal studies degree, students must complete a total of 120

units, of which 57-60 units are specified lower division courses that can be

earned at a community college or other university. An additional 63-66 upper

division units are available online through the Liberal Studies Online

degree completion program.

In addition, the program provides the necessary coursework for students to

get their teaching credential. Students who complete the program and meet

the criteria for subject matter competence will not need to take the MSAT

exam (Multiple Subjects Assessment for Teachers) prior to student teaching.

The coordination of a system-wide Liberal Studies Online program continues a

26-year distance education tradition at CSU Chico. The degree completion

program is accessible directly from CSU Chico’s Distance & Online

Education’s Web site at, which hosts a

variety of established online certificate, baccalaureate and master’s degree


Through the Chico Distance & Online Education program, students have access

to Chico’s Meriam Library, interlibrary loan and document delivery program,

and online library services. CSU Chico will coordinate all academic

advising, maintain the academic record of the participants, and award the

baccalaureate degrees.

Due to increasing student enrollment, teacher retirements, and class size

reduction, California faces a crucial shortage of elementary school

teachers, which is expected to intensify over the next ten years. The CSU

educates about 60 percent of the state’s teachers, and Liberal Studies

Online is one of the many initiatives CSU has implemented in recent years to

meet the teacher shortage and to improve the quality and quantity of

California’s teachers. To learn more about this new program, visit the

Liberal Studies Online Web site at