Concentrations & Introductory Subject Matter Authorizations (ISMA)
The purpose of selecting a concentration (20 units) or an emphasis (16 units) within Liberal Studies is to "develop a strong understanding of the conceptual foundations of the subject as well as an understanding of how knowledge is created and organized in the subject."
Please note: You are required to select a concentration for your degree for students following the 2013-15 and later catalog years, and an emphasis for older catalog years.
How do I declare a concentration? Students selecting a concentration need to complete this Adobe Sign form using your Cal Poly e-mail account with your full name, major, catalog year, and concentration. Students will need to select 20 units for their concentration, at least four of which need to be upper division 300-400 level. Please check catalog for prerequisites before making a plan.
Liberal Studies Concentrations:
- Biology (for 2020-21 and earlier catalogs)
Courses in the Biology concentration may count toward a minor in Biology. Please consult with an academic advisor to find out more information.
- Child Development (for 2020-21 and earlier catalogs)
- Environmental Education
- History/Social Sciences
- Human Development
- Spanish (for 2020-21 and earlier catalogs)
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
- Individualized Course of Study (ICS)
With department chair approval, students may pursue a course of study which meets their individual needs and interests. This must be initiated early and all courses must be pre-approved. The individualized course of study consists of 18-20 units with at least one course at the 300-400 level. Courses are selected by the student in consultation with an advising faculty member. The list of courses is a contract between the student and the department.
Minors that can be taken to create an Individualized Course of Study (2021-22 catalog or later)
When selecting one of these minors to create an ICS, students should be advised the concentration will appear on their official transcript as Individualized Course of Study. The minor must be declared separately with the minor department in order for it to appear on the official transcript.
What is the ISMA and what does it allow you to do?
An Introductory Subject Matter Authorization (ISMA) may be added to a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. An ISMA authorizes the holder to teach the subject matter content typically included in grades 9 and below.