College of Arts and Letters


College Overview

The programs within the College of Arts and Letters present a diverse array of disciplines, from art and music to history and communication studies, yet they share the common mission of teaching students to elucidate the human condition and the rich variety of human expression. The College is committed to:

  • enhancing students' awareness and aesthetic sensitivity through the study of literary and/or symbolic texts and engagement with the visual and performing arts;
  • using literature and the arts in order to promote understanding of cultures and historical movements; and
  • fostering critical thinking and effective oral and written communication skills.

The College includes the departments of Art, Communication Studies, Design, English, History, Humanities and Religious Studies, Music, Philosophy, Theatre and Dance, and World Languages and Literatures. The College offers 30 baccalaureate degrees, 24 minors, and 15 master’s degrees, and one joint doctorate.

Students in the College of Arts and Letters develop skills in reasoning, problem solving, finding information, and communicating in both oral and written form, as well as developing an understanding of creative accomplishment in many cultures, past and present. Students also have access to a variety of opportunities to perfect their skills outside of the classroom, including service learning connections to the community; internships; producing or performing in plays, concerts, readings, and recitals; and exhibiting their art and design works on and off campus.

The College offers many courses in the University's General Education program as well as approved single-subject pre-credential preparation programs for students interested in the teaching profession in art, English, history, and music.

Faculty members in the College are dedicated to creating a learning environment that is student-centered and that encourages inquiry into the development of concepts and the exploration of ideas. Many of the faculty are nationally known scholars and artists.

For more information about the College of Arts and Letters, please click here.


The Department of Art has a long-standing reputation for its quality and diversity. Courses in art education, art history, and art studio promote creativity, visual literacy, and critical thinking. Graduate and undergraduate artists have the opportunity to exhibit their work in the Else and Witt Galleries. Exhibitions of work by nationally and internationally-significant artists take place in the University Library Gallery. The department offers lectures and symposia featuring presentations by renowned art educators, art historians, and artists.

Communication Studies

One of the larger departments in the University, the Department of Communication Studies offers degrees in general communication, organizational communication, public relations, media communications, digital media, journalism, and government journalism. The department provides a television studio, dedicated computer labs, an audio-editing suite, and a high-end video editing lab. The Department supports a variety of student activities including a nationally respected debate program, Public Relations Student Society of America chapter and the University's weekly newspaper, the State Hornet. Five of the faculty have won the College Outstanding Teacher Award in the past ten years, and key faculty are leaders in the Film program.


The Department of Design prepares its students for a wide range of career opportunities in the fields of Graphic Design, Interior Design, and Photography. Our graduates are trained to work creatively and to explore new possibilities in their respective media while at the same time providing the highest quality of professional services to their clients.

The Department of Design recognizes that the environments in which we live and work are shaped by an ever-increasing quantity of visual information. This information, in the form of two and three dimensional images, comes to us from a variety of sources that utilize both traditional and technologically advanced modes of visual communication. To a greater extent than at any other point in our history, artists and designers are dissolving the boundaries between two and three dimensional visualization.

The Department of Design is well positioned to respond to the multifaceted nature of today’s visual arts. By offering degree programs in Graphic Design, Interior Design, and Photography we are able to train our students in a wide range of visual and design practices that play a part in creating our built environment. Students in the Department typically take a group of core courses that introduces them to a vocabulary of shared visual concepts and techniques before moving on to advanced study in their selected field.

The Department of Design offers Bachelor of Arts in Photography and Interior Design, and a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design. Programs in the Department are accredited by NASAD; the Interior Design Program is also accredited by CIDA, the professional organization that establishes standards for the practice of interior design.


The Department of English offers a wide variety of courses in composition, creative writing, film studies, language arts, literary studies, teacher preparation, and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). The faculty are dedicated to classroom excellence, and several of our faculty have received the College Outstanding Teacher Award and the Outstanding Service Award. The Department offers student assistantships, graduate teaching associateships, internships with companies like Intel, and a variety of endowed scholarships and writing contests. Many of the M.A. graduates teach in California community colleges, while others have been accepted into some of the country's top Ph.D. programs. Its undergraduate alumni work in a multitude of professional fields, including teaching, editing, journalism, law, literary agencies, and government.


The Department of History is a dynamic program, with over 500 undergraduate majors and graduate students. The department has a master’s program with options in standard and public history and offers a Ph.D. in public history in cooperation with the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Humanities and Religious Studies

The Department of Humanities and Religious Studies offers the Bachelor of Arts with two concentration options. The Humanities concentration explores cultural eras and themes through study of literature, philosophy, the visual arts, music, drama, and film. The Religious Studies concentration focuses on beliefs and practices of the world’s religions in their historical and cultural contexts. The department’s Humanities M.A. program offers graduate-level studies with areas of concentration in ancient, modern, and global humanities.

Learning Skills

The Educational Opportunity Program offer courses, workshops, and individual assistance to students at all university levels. Program areas include composition, reading, study skills, mathematics, English for multilingual speakers, and special services for students with learning disabilities.

Courses numbered Learning Skills (LS) 1 through 49 are precollege level courses. These courses carry workload credit and may be counted only toward establishing full-time enrollment status. Precollege level course units are not applicable to the bachelor's degree. Course  MLSK 199 carry regular bachelor's degree credits.

The following are specifically for Educational Opportunity Program students and are taught by Educational Opportunity Program faculty:

ALS 39ASpecial Problems for EOP Students1 - 3
ALS 70AStrategies of Learning for EOP Students1
ALS 79ADeveloping Student Leadership EOP1 - 3

Course Repeat Policy

A student may only repeat one time the following Learning Skills Center courses (These courses may be taken a total of two times; a student enrolling in one of these a third time may be disenrolled.):

ENGL 15College Language Skills4
ENGL 86College Language Skills for Multilingual Students4
ENGL 87Basic Writing Skills for Multilingual Students3


The School of Music has a long and impressive history of preparing students for careers in music and for assuming a leadership role in the artistic life of Northern California. The School presents over two hundred concerts each year, including many student and faculty performances as well as outstanding guest artists programs in the Festival of New American Music, the New Millennium Series, the Piano Series, and the World Music Series. The School of Music offers a major for liberal arts students as well as professional degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level.


The Department of Philosophy offers four concentrations within its Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. The General Major presents the broadest choice of electives. The concentration in Ethics, Politics,and Law is a pre-law program designed to develop analytic and argumentative abilities as well as skill in applying principles to cases, which will be needed by those preparing for a career in law. The concentration in Logic and Philosophy of Science offers preparation for graduate study in those areas. The Honors Concentration builds on one of the other concentrations. The Department maintains the Center for Practical and Professional Ethics, which provides a forum for exchange of ideas as well as a consultative resource in the community.

Theatre and Dance

The Department of Theatre and Dance actors, designers, technicians, directors, dancers, and choreographers as well as individuals with an interest in the history, theory, and criticism of theatre and dance. In addition, the Department maintains a strong commitment to multicultural performance and puppetry. A rigorous production season that involves students in every step of the creative process complements the formal curriculum.

World Languages and Literatures

The Department of World Languages and Literatures provides coursework in many languages including many traditional European languages as well as other worldwide strategic languages. The exposure to foreign language enhances cultural and linguistic understanding of peoples near and far. Department faculty teach language in a cultural context that expands the learner's worldview and increases job marketability in the ever-changing global society.

Students taking classes that meet the University’s foreign language requirement build life-changing linguistic and cultural affinities that add value to their futures; while those who complete a degree in World Languages and Literatures also develop linguistic and cultural fluency. Additionally, all students are encouraged to participate in the various exchange opportunities overseas offered by CSUS exchange partnerships and the CSU System International Program.

The University Library Gallery features exhibitions of significant works of art by international, national and regional artists. In addition, the Gallery is a favorite campus venue for many artistic gatherings, such as poetry readings sponsored by the English Department, recitals and performances by the Music Department, and film showings associated with the Film program. Special guided tours of current students and community groups are offered on a regular basis.

Contact Information

Sheree Meyer, Dean
Christina Bellon, Associate Dean, Budget & Assessment
Melinda Wilson Ramey, Associate Dean, Students and Personnel

For more information, visit the Web site for the College of Arts and Letters
Mariposa Hall 5000