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Focus Areas & Minors

Liberal Studies Requirement Area E:

Focus Area (required for 54-unit majors) or Declared Minor (required for 36-unit majors)

Note for online students: While the Liberal Studies major itself can be completed online, we cannot guaruntee that minors/courses managed by other departments will be available online. If you are interested in completing a minor or focus area online, please contact the department you are interested in working with to inquire about online options.

Option 1 for Requirement Area E: Focus Area (required for 54-unit majors)

Liberal Studies students who declare the Liberal Studies major without a minor will be required to complete a focus area. The focus area requirement is fulfilled by a set of classes that total 12-15 units, with at least 9 of those units taken at the upper level (coded as 300 or above). The focus area is chosen in consultation with the academic advisor, but it should be multidisciplinary and include the study of a topic, theme, or problem. With guidance from their advisor, each student can ultimately choose from a wide variety of courses to plan a focus area that fits their interests and goals.


As a way to generate ideas, approaches to focus area planning might include:

Example 1) Combining courses from related disciplines -->

For example:

  • Philosophy with Religious Studies
  • Psychology with Sociology
  • Gender and Women's Studies with Race and Ethnic Studies


Example 2) Following a theme through different departments -->

A Web Design & Digital Communication focus area, for example, might consist of:

  • COMPSCI 180 Data Science for Everyone
  • MAGD 210 Visual Design for Digital Media
  • MAGD 270 Web Development (considered an upper level course)
  • ENG 332 Writing for the Web
  • LIBST 350 Technology and Social Responsibility

(Note: All of these courses are available online.)


Example 3) Using courses for the focus area en route to a certificate -->

Courses used in a focus area can simultaneously fulfill some of the requirements for certificate programs offered on campus. A Paralegal Studies focus area, for example, might consist of:

  • POLISCI 240 Law & Society
  • POLISCI 418 Legal Reserach & Writing
  • POLISCI 419 The Judicial Process
  • FNBSLW 341 Business and Commerical Law
  • FNBSLW 443 Labor Law

(Note: All of these courses are available online.)

Each college offers many certificate options, and more information about these can be found at the links below: 


Again, make sure to discuss your focus area options with your advisor
so that you can work together to identify a set of courses that will fit your interests and goals.


Option 2 for Requirement Area E: Declared Minor (required for 36-unit majors)

With guidance from your advisor, Liberal Studies majors can choose from a long list of approved minors for majors in the College of Letters & Sciences. The list of options can be obtained from the L&S Advising Office.