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University Catalog


Mariposa Hall

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, Foreign Languages, History, Humanities and Religious Studies, Music, Philosophy, and Theatre and Dance, as well as the Learning Skills Center. The College offers thirty baccalaureate degrees, 24 minors, and fifteen 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 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.


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, and 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 and the University's weekly newspaper, the State Hornet. Four of the faculty have won the College Outstanding Teacher Award in the past ten years, and key faculty take leadership roles in the new 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. Graduates learn 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. By offering degree programs in three interrelated fields, the Department is well positioned to train its students in the wide range of art and design practices that play a part in creating our visual environment.


The Department of English offers a wide variety of courses in composition, creative writing, film studies, language arts, literature, teacher preparation, and teaching English as a second language (TESOL). The faculty are dedicated to classroom excellence, four have won the College Outstanding Teacher Award in the past ten years, and three have won 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. Its M.A. graduates have been accepted into many of the country's top Ph.D. programs, and the Department hosts a Career Day to help English majors "link" with prospective employers.

Foreign Languages

The Foreign Language faculty provide coursework in both traditional Western languages and those of the Far East along with classical Latin. The Department encourages its students to participate in the CSU International Program as well as the various exchange opportunities overseas.


The Department of History, with over 500 undergraduate majors and graduate students, is a growing program. The Department, which has an active master's program with several options and one concentration, offers a Ph.D. in Public History in cooperation with the University of California, Santa Barbara, the first Ph.D. program at Sacramento State and the first in History in the California State University system.

Humanities and Religious Studies

The Humanities and Religious Studies program provides a unique synthesis of disciplines, combining the global study of religion with an interdisciplinary program in the arts and intellectual history. Those interested in pursuing graduate-level studies may enroll in the eclectic M.A. program in Liberal Arts, stressing multidisciplinary learning and student-centered programming.

Learning Skills

Learning Skills offers preparatory courses for students fulfilling the EO 665 requirement and provides academic support through courses and tutoring in math, reading, writing, and study skills.


The Department of Music has a long and impressive history of presenting fine performances to the city and region. Through its outstanding programs in the Festival of New American Music, the New Millennium Series, and the World Music Series, and by presenting over two hundred annual concerts and recitals by distinguished faculty and student artists, the Department has assumed a leadership role in the musical life of central California.


The Department of Philosophy offers three concentrations within its Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. The concentration in Applied Ethics 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. 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 is committed to the intensive training of actors, designers, technicians, directors, 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 professional education programs with emphasis on creative dramatics, dance, and puppetry. An ambitious production program complements the formal curriculum.

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

Jeffrey D. Mason, Dean
Nancy M. Tooker, Associate Dean
Carlyn Pollock, Administrative Analyst/Specialist
Kate Millsap, Administrative Support Coordinator
Arianne Young, Administrative Support Coordinator
Cathy Labbé, Administrative Support Coordinator

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