Academics> Departments & Academic Programs

The College of Arts & Letters houses nineteen departments and several interdisciplinary programs. Teaching and research in the college consists of a broad range of traditional and innovative disciplines, from fields such as history, politics, economics, geography, languages, and literatures to women's studies, international business, Chicana and Chicano studies, and rhetoric and writing.


Africana Studies

Afro-American Studies offers a broad, interdisciplinary program. The curriculum covers a variety of subjects pertaining to Africa and the African Diaspora. The major establishes a strong academic foundation that can lead directly into a career or graduate study in a variety of fields. It also creates linkages between the University community and the broader community by developing frameworks for social change. In short, the major seeks to provide a well-rounded educational experience. Courses offered in Afro-American Studies are available to all who are interested. (Offers Bachelor's Degree and Minor; Interdisciplinary Minor in African Studies)

American Indian Studies

The American Indian Studies program focuses on individual elements that comprise the Native American cultures. By using literature, art, history, and politics as touchstones, students come to understand the individuals as well as the tribal character of the Indian peoples, with special emphasis on the tribes of Southern California. The academic area also draws comparisons between American Indian life and the life of other members of American society. Career opportunities for graduates include jobs in business, education, government, politics, social sciences, and health and human services. Students may also find positions in programs and institutions located on local Indian reservations. Federal agencies, too, seek people with knowledge about and experience with American Indian people and their culture. These agencies include the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Indian Health Services, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forestry Services. (Offers Bachelor's Degree and Minor)


Anthropology is the comprehensive study of people. It explores the fascinating realm of human biological evolution and variation – where we came from and how we came to be Homo sapiens. Anthropology is also the way that humans, in all parts of the world and from prehistoric times to today, adapt to their environment. From groups such as families, clans, tribes, and nations, humans regulate behavior through sanctions, laws, and government; worship and celebrate; communicate; educate their young; and change to meet new challenges. Anthropology gives students a new perspective for understanding and interpreting the world around them by learning how people in different parts of the world live their lives and interact with their environment. To achieve this, all majors are required to take courses in each of the four main subdivisions of the discipline: archaeology, the analysis of past cultures; cultural anthropology, the study of cultural differences in contemporary societies; linguistic anthropology, examination of the relationship between language and other aspects of culture—the ways people communicate; and biological anthropology, analysis of the biological characteristics of past and present peoples. As anthropology majors, students explore humankind, focusing on the similarities and differences between humans and other primates, as well as the similarities and differences found in human populations yesterday and today. The anthropology curriculum enables students to develop a broad background but also pursue specialized coursework in their subfield(s) of interest. (Offers Master's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, and Minor)

Asian and Pacific Studies

With nearly half of the world’s population living in East, Southeast, and South Asia, the importance of this immense and varied region cannot be overstated. More and more Americans are discovering the rich culture and history of the Asian people. Asians have made major contributions to the world's literature, art, religion, and philosophy, and are increasingly important in international relations, business, and economics. Non-majors who wish to increase their knowledge about Asian peoples will find courses available in the Asian Studies undergraduate and graduate programs. (Offers Bachelor's Degree and Minor)


Brazil Program

The J. Keith Behner and Catherine M. Stiefel Program on Brazil at San Diego State University was formed in 2014. Their mission is to become an international seat for research and study on Brazil and with Brazilian colleagues. Our faculty currently have strong research collaborations with colleagues in Brazil in the fields of health, environmental science, marine biology, and urbanization and we are proud to support visiting faculty in many of our laboratories and in our classrooms.

Chicana and Chicano Studies

The Chicana and Chicano Studies degree provides students with a timely, interdisciplinary education regarding the nation's fast-growing ethnic group: the Chicano/Latino. Chicana and Chicano Studies examines the interplay of culture, politics, economics, and society in the dynamic United States-Mexican border region. Through original scholarship on the part of its faculty and students, the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies also endeavors to contribute to the development of knowledge about the Chicano/Latino populations and the border region. The department recognizes women and gender-based issues as integral to the Chicano Studies program. The Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies also offers a minor in Chicana and Chicano Studies as well as a comprehensive United States-Mexican Border Studies Minor and Certificate program. (Offers Master's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, and Minor; Minor in United States-Mexico Border Studies; Certificate in United States-Mexico Border Studies)

Classics and Humanities

The Classics program embraces all aspects of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. It encompasses the art, archaeology, history, religion, language, and literature of over two thousand years. The artistic and intellectual achievements of Greece and Rome have served as models by which American and European cultures have been judged. A degree in Classics is for the student who is curious about life, who thrives on challenge, and who seeks out the reasons for beauty and the nature of truth. (Offers Bachelor's Degree and Minor in Classics)

The Humanities major is based on the premise that no matter how distant in time or place, anything pertaining to any human being in any culture or civilization is valuable to another human. Each of us is the product of our own civilization, and this civilization is the result of both past civilizations and the human condition. Through a study of past and present civilizations and our common humanity, we come to understand ourselves and our own potential. Individuals and civilizations express themselves in acts and works. Whether it is musical, artistic, or intellectual creations, these achievements may be interpreted and evaluated using the criteria and methods of various humanist disciplines, such as literature, philosophy, art history, music, language, or religion. (Offers Bachelor's Degree and Minor in Humanities)

Comparative International Studies

Comparative International Studies is a program that prepares students to become citizens of the 21st century global world. The program allows students to explore areas of study in the social sciences and the humanities from an interdisciplinary perspective. Through the examination of themes—namely, human and social development, culture and society, populations and borders, institutions and change, and through the comparison of two world regions—Comparative International Studies integrates knowledge about broad global processes using comparative analytical methods and techniques to study them. Graduating International Studies majors will be able to view complex global issues from broad, comparative, and interdisciplinary perspectives. Hence, students will be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to function well in the age of globalization. Students will also be prepared to tackle complex world problems of the 21st century in a versatile way. (Offers Bachelor's Degree and Minor)


Economics analyzes the ways in which societies decide what to produce, how to produce it, and who gets it. Because economics deals with these fundamental issues of our material well-being, it sheds light on the reasons why some societies and individuals are rich and others are poor. At SDSU, Economics majors will explore how producers and consumers make their decisions. Majors will also analyze the events that shape and result from these decisions—decisions that are made by governments, businesses, and individuals. Inflation, unemployment, taxation, environmental and social policies, international exchange, and comparative economic systems are some of the topics studied by Economics majors at SDSU. (Offers Master's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, and Minor)

English and Comparative Literature

The Department of English and Comparative Literature offers majors in either English or comparative literature, with programs that stretch across historical traditions and cultural experiences. The adaptability of the English and Comparative Literature degrees allows a wide-range of curricular possibilities and career prospects. In addition to critical thinking and writing, the department offers students variations of the majors with the Single Subject Teaching Credential major and the Honors Program, which gives students a chance to prepare for their chosen careers or the rigors of graduate study.

The Department of English and Comparative Literature is also home to world-class poets and writers, award-winning scholars of literature, and national leaders in the field of children's literature. The department actively supports its majors and continues to add additional programs and certificates. (Offers Bachelor's Degree in English; Bachelor's Degree in Comparative Literature; Minors in English, Children’s Literature, Creative Editing and Publishing, Creative Writing, and Comparative Literature; Master of Arts Degree in English; Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing; and an advanced Certificate in Children’s/Adolescent Literature.)

European Studies

The Department of European Studies at San Diego State University is one of the few integrated, interdisciplinary European Studies departments in the United States. It takes a comprehensive and transnational approach to the study of Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, the Mediterranean, and Europe’s diasporic and postcolonial communities around the world. The department offers a number of distinct degree programs, which, in addition to the European Studies major, include specialized B.A. degrees in French, German, German Studies, Russian, and Russian and Central European Studies. The department also offers minors in European Studies, French, German, Italian, Russian, and a Master’s degree in French.

European Studies

The European Studies program offers the opportunity to study the following: establishment of a unified European economic community; issues of national identity, contesting borders, gender, and immigration; the breaking down of distinctions between east and west; the legacies of the communist past; and the emerging new institution. All of these are global issues that will shape both Europe’s and the world’s future. This interdisciplinary program emphasizes how language and culture are intertwined in the understanding of multicultural Europe and its global relations. European Studies exposes students to the contemporary cultures of Europe and includes preparation in a modern European language. Reaching beyond traditional linguistic and historical approaches to the subject, this program challenges majors to develop critical, focused, interdisciplinary understandings of European themes and issues. The European Studies major can help prepare students for careers in diplomacy with government agencies, or—in European-centered business—communication, art, or travel industries. (Offers Bachelor's Degree and Minor)

French and Francophone Studies

The program in French and Francophone Studies offers a wide variety of opportunities to study the language and cultures of the global French community. A student who majors in French learns to speak the language, to read literature and cultural materials in their original form, and to interact with members of an important worldwide cultural community. With more than 120 million speakers on five continents, French is one of the five official languages of the United Nations and is an official language in over 40 countries. Knowledge of French opens doors to diverse histories and cultures, from the 19th century Paris arts scene to the literature and cinema of regions in Africa, Canada, and the Caribbean. Coursework in the program focuses on language, literature, film, translation, and the diverse cultures of the French-speaking world. Our mission is to develop students' language skills in French for use in their academic and professional lives; to educate students from diverse backgrounds in the languages, cultures, and societies of France and other Francophone nations in order to prepare them for careers with an international focus; to offer students the opportunity to develop deeper linguistic and cross-cultural competence through study or professional experience abroad; and to promote interdisciplinary intellectual exchange about France and other Francophone nations and their transnational relations through activities inside and outside the classroom. The French major provides a global perspective and can help prepare students for careers in public service, international business, education, tourism, translation, and the arts. (Offers Master's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, and Minor)

German Studies

Over 120 million people speak German as their native language, and German is the official language in five countries. Germany, the largest country in the European Union, is second only to the United States in terms of world trade; both Austria and Switzerland have key roles in the European economy and political life. The cultural heritage of regions where German is spoken is also extremely rich, particularly in the areas of music, literature, film, painting, and architecture. Knowledge of the German language and an understanding about the cultures of countries where German is spoken provides valuable preparation for many careers and graduate programs. In addition, it opens the door to life-long cultural enrichment. German is a primary language of scholarship and international communication in a diverse range of academic and scientific fields. Students who major in German will gain proficiency in German language skills and may choose from a range of courses in German culture, area studies, linguistics, and literature. (Offers Bachelor's Degree and Minor)

Italian Studies

Italian has become one of the fastest growing languages and interest in Italy continues to rise. From literature to cinema, popular culture to media studies, history to art, politics to philosophy, music to folklore, anthropology to sociology, and theatre to performance, students can see how Italian Studies represents a recent and exciting interdisciplinary field of inquiry that purports to explore the many and complex facets of culture. Research approaches include feminist, postcolonial and critical theory, and cultural studies. At San Diego State University, students have the opportunity to learn the Italian language and culture within innovative framework. Students can also earn a minor by taking courses at the lower and upper division levels. These courses are taught entirely in Italian and students are exposed to a variety of Italian topics and traditions ranging from literature and film to migration and contemporary youth subcultures. Students may also focus on Italian while completing the European Studies major in the Department. (Offers Minor and Bachelor's Degree in European Studies with emphasis in Italian)

Russian Studies

Russian is one of the most widely used languages in the world today. About one-third of all scientific articles are published in Russian. Russian writers such as Pushkin, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy have produced some of the world's greatest literature. Politically, Russia and the former Soviet Union continue to influence world affairs. Knowledge of Russian will provide students with a better understanding of one of the world's important and influential countries. The Russian program at SDSU offers a range of courses in language, literature, and culture. Majoring in Russian opens up significant opportunities for careers in the private and public sectors, such as Foreign Service, international relations and business, and many others. This major is useful preparation for graduate programs in international trade, international law, public administration, political science, geography, and economics. (Offers Bachelor's Degree and Minor in Russian; Bachelor's Degree in Russian and Central European Studies)


Geographers study the physical and human features of the earth using qualitative methods and computational technologies to collect, manage, process, and analyze data about location and relationships among physical and human processes. When conducting such studies, geographers integrate the theories of the physical sciences, information sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Geographers who emphasize the study of the earth's physical features—for example, landforms, vegetation, and climate—focus on the processes that produce these features. As social scientists and humanists, human geographers explore various topics such as the arrangement of people on the earth's surface, land use patterns, urbanization, resource and energy usage, and environmental conservation. As geoinformation scientists, geographers develop and use analytical methods to study relationships and patterns in data about physical and human features across space and time. Because geography is so varied and offers a wide range of careers upon graduation, geographers have diverse abilities These abilities may include protecting and managing natural resources, planning for workable and enjoyable cities, utilizing computer technologies, working toward clean and healthy environments, and helping people in developing countries improve their lives. The geography student is creative, enjoys challenges, can learn through observations and research, and enjoys the satisfaction of improving conditions in our societies. (Offers Doctoral Degree, Master's Degree [M.A. and M.S.], Bachelor's Degree [B.A. and B.S.], and Minor; Interdisciplinary Certificate in Environmental Studies; Certificate in Geographic Information Science)


History is the study of humanity’s recorded past, encompassing almost all aspects of human activity, including the arts, sciences, technology, economics, politics, war, ideology, and personal behavior. Historical study utilizes a diversity of methods and sources, develops skills in collecting and analyzing evidence, and applies findings to self-transformation and civic participation. Cross-cultural, transnational, international, and thematic perspectives that include gender, race, and class inform the curriculum, and history faculty are committed to active learning in the way of discussion, presentations, research, and writing. The study of history enhances our understanding of diversity and helps cultivate tolerance and compassion toward all peoples. (Offers Master's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, and Minor)

International Business

International Business is an interdisciplinary major that culminates in a Bachelor of Arts degree. The major is offered jointly by the College of Arts and Letters and College of Business Administration. This program integrates course work in regional and cultural studies, business administration, and foreign language. Students complete an emphasis in one of six regional/cultural studies: Asia, Central Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, or Western Europe. Students also complete an emphasis in one of eleven languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Korean or English. All international business students are required to demonstrate proficiency in their foreign language emphasis. (Offers Bachelor's Degree jointly with the College of Business Administration)

International Security and Conflict Resolution (ISCOR)

The International Security and Conflict Resolution (ISCOR) major at San Diego State University is an innovative, interdisciplinary program designed to provide students with a sophisticated understanding of the political, moral, socio-economic, and cultural dimensions to global conflict. Its interest extends well beyond conventional international security issues to encompass the broader analysis of global affairs, with an in-depth focus on global justice and the environment. Thus, ISCOR exposes students to a multiplicity of ideological, regional, and cultural perspectives with the aim of making ISCOR students informed global citizens able to critically examine claims made by public officials and other partisans and discover underlying realities. (Offers Bachelor's Degree and Minor jointly with the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts and the College of Sciences)

Jewish Studies

The Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University is an interdisciplinary program serving the students of SDSU as well as the greater San Diego Community. We offer a Major in Modern Jewish Studies and a Minor in Jewish Studies and are dedicated to teaching a broad range of topics related to Jewish history, religion and culture from the biblical through the modern period. Courses offered through our program are open to all SDSU students. In addition, our faculty are actively engaged in teaching to the broader San Diego community. (Offers Bachelor's Degree in Modern Jewish Studies; Minor in Jewish Studies)

Latin American Studies

Latin American Studies is a multidisciplinary major from the academic resources of the departments of anthropology, art, economics, geography, history, Mexican American studies, political science, sociology, Spanish/Portuguese, and women's studies. Its goals are to provide a better understanding of the cultures and governments of the Western hemisphere and to offer basic education and training for business or professional careers requiring an understanding of Latin America. The Latin American Studies program at SDSU recognizes that the proximity to Latin America may accentuate the differences between the sociocultural systems of the Latin American nations and of the United States. The program strives to develop a framework in which students can analyze and interpret where Latin America has been, where it is today, and where it will be in the future. (Offers Master's Degree [M.A.], Bachelor's Degree, and Minor; Master's Degree [M.B.A./ M.A.] jointly with the College of Business Administration; Master' Degree [M.P.A./M.A.] jointly with the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts; Master's Degree [M.P.H./ M.A.] jointly with the College of Health and Human Services)

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies

San Diego State University is proud to be the first and only university in San Diego—and the second in the nation—to offer a major in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies. LGBT Studies is a growing academic specialization in numerous disciplines across the United States, including literature, history, social sciences, media studies, political science, law, and many others. The major draws on disparate courses to provide students with the opportunity to form a coherent interdisciplinary major. Required courses include: gay and lesbian identities in the modern world, gay and lesbian history and culture, history of sexuality, gay and lesbian literature, and critical studies of gender/sexuality/media. There are many electives, including psychology of human sexual behavior, sexuality in modern society, lesbian lives and culture, valuing human diversity, and fifteen internships in LGBT community organizations. (Offers Bachelor's Degree, Minor, and Advanced Certificate in LGBT Studies)

Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. The use of language is one of the defining characteristics of human beings, and it is the basic element for the process of communication that holds society together. Linguistics is a field that relates to many other human activities that are heavily dependent on language. (Offers Master's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, Minor, Minor in Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language [TESL/TEFL], Certificate in Computational Linguistics, Basic and Advanced Certificates in Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language [TESL/TEFL])


The major in Islamic & Arabic Studies is a special emphasis within the general Social Science curriculum. It is multidisciplinary in its focus, designed to provide an effective understanding of the religions, languages, cultures, economies, politics, and histories of Muslim-majority societies and their diasporas. Students can select one of two specializations within the major: Islamic Studies or Arabic Studies. The Islamic Studies specialization focuses more on the humanities, with core courses in religion, history, and culture, while the Arabic Studies specialization emphasizes languages and social sciences, with core courses in Arabic or other languages, politics, and economics. The undergraduate minor in Islamic & Arabic Studies, designed for students specializing in other fields, brings together an interesting and enriching combination of courses in Political Science, Religious Studies, History, and Language.


The Chinese program at SDSU currently offers general Mandarin language instruction. In addition to the general language classes, advanced special purpose courses such as Business Chinese and Newspaper Chinese are also regularly offered. Courses on Chinese culture, literature, and linguistics are offered on a rotational basis. (Offers Minor)



The Hebrew program at SDSU combines the study of Modern and Ancient Hebrew: all speaking is in Modern Hebrew, but many texts for reading are taken from Ancient Hebrew, including the world-historic legacy of biblical texts. The Hebrew Program uses the Language Bazaar Hebrew Series of textbooks. The Language Bazaar uses an innovative method, "Sheltered Initiation Language Learning," which includes a variety of innovative techniques to reach all learners, regardless of abilities. All students in the Hebrew program learn to speak with range and confidence, and they also learn to comprehend ordinary Hebrew text.


Japanese is the fastest growing language in United States higher education. Due to the interdependence between the U.S. and Japan as well as Japan’s role in the world economy, the importance of the Japanese language has become more evident. Students who major in Japanese will gain proficiency in Japanese language skills. The department offers a broad variety of courses designed to prepare majors for a number of careers after graduation. (Offers Bachelor's Degree and Minor)


General Korean language courses focus on helping students develop integrated language skills and understand modern Korean language and culture. In addition, the program offers a variety of Korean courses on a wide range of topics on Korean language and culture. Course topics include: Korean studies through media, Korean civilization, Korean literature in translation, and Business Korean. (Offers Certificate in Korean Studies)


Persian Studies classes are offered during regular semesters and are designed to teach language skills and cultural awareness to students of three different levels of knowledge, from novice to advanced. Students learn and expand their speaking, listening, reading, and writing of the Persian language through conversations, games, written homework, and Iranian movies. Literary and Colloquial Persian are introduced and used from the beginning. This course satisfies the language requirement at SDSU and other campuses.

Masters of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences (MALAS)

The College of Arts and Letters offers a flexible multidisciplinary master’s degree in the liberal arts and sciences. An alternative approach to traditional graduate education, the program consists of coursework that crosses disciplinary boundaries in order to better appreciate the richness of existence and begin to apply multiple perspectives to the complex realities that face us. From explorations of the human condition to the social impacts of technology, the program focuses on issues central to the meaning and quality of our lives and the creation of sustainable, just communities. MALAS draws upon SDSU faculty. Our faculty is trained in specific disciplines, but their teaching and scholarship makes connections across disciplines. Interplays among the humanities, the social sciences, the natural sciences, and the arts are taken up in four required courses. (Offers Master's Degree)


The Philosophy major at SDSU explores and seeks to understand values and the nature of reality. Through the study of philosophy, questions like the following are asked about existence and experience: What is truth? What is beauty? Is there an ultimate reality? Philosophy studies the types of questions that most other subject areas are unable to address fully. There are four different ways these questions are characteristically investigated in the Philosophy major at SDSU. They are approached historically, by studying the history of philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present; analytically, by carefully examining the meanings and interrelationships of ideas; creatively, by allowing students to explore imaginative new answers to these difficult questions; and critically, by training students in the art of rigorously evaluating significant claims. (Offers Master's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, and Minor)

Political Science

Aristotle called the study of politics "the master science." Human beings live in communities governed by rules that affect their commerce, their rights, and their personal levels of well-being. Students who become Political Science majors will learn about the following: who creates the rules by which people are governed; the attitude and behavior of leaders and members of the public that cause certain decisions to be made; and how these decisions affect such values as liberty, equality, welfare, and justice. Political science is concerned with contemporary public affairs, problems in other political systems, and contemporary international politics. This discipline also focuses on historical growth, evolution, and decline of various types of governments. Our majors are encouraged to investigate the diversity of political institutions and practices cross-nationally, and to consider the changes occurring as a result of the increasing globalization of politics and problems. (Offers Master's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, and Minor; ; Certificate in Public Law; Preprofessional Curriculum- Prelegal)

Religious Studies

The academic study of religion is central to the creation of a community of world citizens. Our program is designed for students who live in a pluralistic society and who wish to investigate the role religions play in human life and society. Because religion has shaped the human story of almost every culture, it is difficult to understand human behavior or to interpret world events without grasping the infleunce of religion. As United States Supreme Court Justices Clark and Goldberg wrote in their decision to allow the study of religion in public schools, “one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization.” Because it is part of the liberal arts, religious studies employs critical analysis and methods from a variety of disciplines in order to understand religious traditions as well as to question the dogmas, stereotypes, and prejudices that may surround these traditions. In addition to investigating religious symbols, texts, practices, and belief systems, the study of religion examines contemporary social issues, politics, history, psychology, science, literature, the arts, and the relationship of religion to ethics. (Offers Bachelor's Degree and Minor)

Rhetoric & Writing Studies

Rhetoric refers to the study and uses of written, spoken, and visual language. It investigates how texts are used to organize and maintain social groups, construct meanings and identities, coordinate behavior, mediate power, persuade, produce change, and create knowledge. The Rhetoric & Writing Studies department works cooperatively with departments and campus groups to run a comprehensive writing program that integrates writing and reading along with critical thinking. The department prepares students to write independently and collaboratively in school, workplace, and community settings; to produce texts using a variety of different technological tools; and to become sophisticated and critically reflective writers. (Offers Master's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, Minor, Certificate in Professional Writing, and Advanced Certificate in the Teaching of Writing)

Social Science

The social science program is concerned with providing a broad understanding of the social, cultural, and intellectual world that we live in. Social science majors have a diverse interest in human problems and seek a liberal education in a broad spectrum of understandings, insights, and appreciations. Multidisciplinary in nature, this major seeks to provide an understanding of the interrelationships and varied methodologies of its many subject areas. The social science single subject program prepares the student to teach in a middle school or high school upon obtaining a state credential. (Offers Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences; Bachelor's Degree with emphasis in Islamic and Arabic Studies)


Sociology studies every kind of human activity: from intimate family relationships to newly developed social movements, from organized crime to work worlds, from cities to small groups. It focuses on how people interact with each other to build, maintain, and change human society. Sociology emphasizes social relationships and the social causes, contexts, and consequences of human behavior. It is unique as a discipline for its wide scope and general relevance. In addition to the main areas of human activities it studies, sociology examines the way knowledge of social life is developed. (Offers Master's Degree [M.A.], Bachelor's Degree, and Minor; Master's Degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology [M.S.] jointly with the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts)

Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures

Spanish is the fourth most widely spoken language in the world and the second most frequently used language in the Southwest United States. Because of San Diego's proximity to Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries, many students at SDSU are interested in learning Spanish. Students’ reasons range from practical application in jobs, teaching, travel, reading, or recreation to a curiosity about the culture or literature of Spanish-speaking countries. SDSU's Department of Spanish and Portuguese offers a wide range of courses and programs designed to satisfy the varied needs of students who enter the Spanish major. (Offers Master's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, Minor in Spanish; Minor in Portuguese; Certificate in Translation and Interpretation Studies)


The Sustainability major focuses on the interface of human and natural systems. In this program, students gain an understanding of sociopolitical, historical, philosophical, moral, and scientific aspects of environmental problems. Students take courses in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences and have the flexibility to concentrate their studies in one or more of these areas. Emphasis is placed on strong writing, research, quantitative skills, and broad liberal arts perspective. The program takes an interdisciplinary approach to local, regional, and global environmental issues. This approach fosters systems thinking skills, written and verbal communication skills, quantitative and qualitative skills, and analytic and problem-solving skills. These skills—combined with knowledge of foundational scientific principles, an understanding of the human and social contexts of environmental problems, and the policy and decision-making contexts within which these problems are reckoned—are consistent with careers focused on sustainability. Sustainability is the improvement of the human quality of life through balanced and adaptive stewardship of resources that lie at the human-nature interface. (Offers Bachelor's Degree in Sustainability and an Interdisciplinary Minor in Environment and Society)

Urban Studies

Urban Studies, an interdisciplinary major, focuses on cities and urban communities, with particular emphasis on their environments, peoples and cultures, economies and politics, and urban spaces and places. The program draws upon courses offered by the faculty in the Departments of Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Mexican-American Studies, Political Science, and Sociology—all in the College of Arts and Letters—as well as the School of Public Affairs in the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts. The variety of courses in the major allow students to explore topics such as the origins and spread of cities; contemporary patterns of urbanization at local, regional, national, and global scales; city forms and models; migration and ethnicity in urban contexts; different types of urban economies and forms of urban governance; power structures of cities; and urban social movements. In addition, specialized training is provided in methods of analytical research in urban studies, from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives. (Offers Interdisciplinary Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences)

Women's Studies

Women's Studies possesses its own theory, yet it is also an interdisciplinary study composed of many different fields, including history, literature, art, politics, economics, sociology, anthropology, and psychology. This discipline allows students to study diverse women's roles, cultures, and lives. It explores how ideals are set for women and co-created by them; are imposed by institutional structures; and are shaped by ethnicity, race, social class, sexual orientation, and physical able-bodiness. Women's Studies not only provides an excellent Liberal Arts education that improves one's verbal and writing skills, but it also prepares the student to work with diverse populations and mitigate the forces of privilege and oppression. (Offers Master's Degree, Bachelor's Degree, Minor; Basic and Advanced Certificates in Women’s Studies)