Jun 24, 2024  
University Catalog 2022-2023 
University Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

College of Arts and Letters

College of Arts & Letters

Information about the College of Arts & Letters

Office of the Dean

Music 230
Phone: (323) 343-4001    Fax: (323) 343-6440
Website: College of Arts and Letters
Email: AL@calstatela.edu


Dean: Stephen Trzaskoma
(323) 343-4001

Associate Dean: Katherine Weiss
(323) 343-4004

Fiscal/Administration: Jane Sindayen
(323) 343-4006

Overview of the College

The College of Arts and Letters develops humanists and artists, and provides a broad liberal arts education to all Cal State LA students. Its nine departments, and five centers, offer a variety of learning opportunities, including major, minor, and certificate programs, general education and elective courses, and stimulating public programs. The College’s co- and extra-curricular activities provide both the university and off-campus communities with opportunities for cultural enrichment, lifelong learning, and participation in an intellectual and artistic community that is nationally renowned and locally relevant. The College produces art exhibits; musical events; dance, film, TV, multimedia, and theatrical performances; lectures and readings by students, faculty, and internationally acclaimed scholars, writers, and artists. Among the numerous student activities devoted to cultural, creative, and intellectual pursuits are The University Times, a nationally ranked Forensics (Speech and Debate) team, and the Closet of Modern Art (COMA). Dedicated to ethnic and cultural diversity, with nationally recognized faculty and programs, and with students who have garnered numerous awards, the College of Arts and Letters, has been recognized by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Ahmanson Foundation and other prestigious foundations.

Students in the College may pursue a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in its nine departments:

  • Art;
  • Communication Studies;
  • English;
  • Liberal Studies (an interdisciplinary program that is a popular major for prospective elementary school teachers, merging interdisciplinary subject matter with teacher preparation coursework);
  • Modern Languages and Literatures (including separate programs in Chinese, French, Japanese, and Spanish);
  • Music;
  • Philosophy;
  • Television, Film and Media Studies including a separate program in Journalism; and
  • Theatre and Dance.

Our students study a wide range of subjects, from animation, film, and TV, to dance, creative writing, the classics, voice, and more while developing a lifelong love of learning. Students wishing to pursue a high school teaching career may prepare for the Single Subject Credential through degree programs in: Art; English; or Music.

  • The Master of Arts degree is offered in Art, Communication Studies, English, Music, Philosophy, and Spanish.
  • The Department of Music also offers the Master of Music Degree. 
  • A joint Master of Fine Arts Degree in Television, Film, and Theatre is offered between the Departments of Theatre and Dance and Television, Film and Media Studies, and a post-baccalaureate certificate is offered in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies by the Department of Liberal Studies. 

In addition to minor programs in all the major subjects listed above, students may also minor in Classics (Philosophy Department), Korean (Modern Languages and Literatures Department), Science Fiction (Liberal Studies Department), and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (Liberal Studies Department).

The departments in the College offer a rich menu of opportunities for supporting and showcasing student talent and for experiencing the best in presentations by professional artists and distinguished scholars, often working in collaboration with students.

  • The Fine Arts Gallery presents exhibitions of artwork by established professional artists as well as faculty and students, while the student-run exhibition space, COMA Gallery, presents rotating exhibitions of student artwork.
  • The Department of Music offers an extensive program of musical events every year, from faculty recitals and group performances to individual student recitals. There are diverse vocal and instrumental groups including the Chamber Ensembles, Chamber Singers, Latin-Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, and Symphonic Band; each group performs several times a year both on and off campus.
  • The Department of Theatre and Dance also offers comprehensive programs in theatre and dance performance as well as design and production. The program offers the opportunity for students to work on student- and faculty-directed productions throughout the year as performers, choreographers, directors, playwrights, stage managers, designers, and technicians.
  • Through the Communication Studies Department, students may join the award-winning Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team, whose competitors have received national awards and recognition. Through the Department of Television Film and Media Studies, students may collaborate on the University Times, whose editors have established an outstanding record and received top awards and national scholarships.
  • The Departments of English, Modern Languages and Literatures and Communication Studies also produce literary magazines and scholarly journals in which students publish both creative and academic writing in English and other languages. The English Department is the home of the American Literature Association, a national coalition of author societies devoted to the study of American writers. Faculty members in the Department of Communication Studies edit or have edited such prestigious scholarly journals as Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies and Text and Performance Quarterly. Faculty members in the Department of Television, Film and Media Studies have edited the Journal of Film and Video.
  • A full program of distinguished speakers (sponsored by the Departments of Philosophy, English, Communication Studies, and Modern Languages and Literatures) provides the entire campus community the opportunity to hear and exchange views with eminent scholars, writers, poets, and critics.
  • The Chinese and Japanese Studies Centers are affiliated with the Modern Languages and Literatures Department and promote the study and understanding of Chinese and Japanese culture.

Mission Statement

The Cal State LA College of Arts & Letters transforms lives and sustains thriving communities and cultures. We develop and amplify our students’ unique talents, diverse life experiences, and intellects through the study and practice of the Arts and Humanities so that they can tell meaningful stories, forge their professional pathways, and inspire their communities.The College of Arts and Letters is committed to academic excellence in the arts and humanities. Through its numerous programs, the College prepares students for professional success through a liberal arts education. A broad foundation in intellectual, philosophical, and cultural inquiry allows our diverse student body to undertake personal development and to achieve effective participation in a democratic society.

Nationally Accredited Programs in the College of Arts and Letters

  • Art: National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • Music: National Association of Schools of Music

Student Activities / Special Interest Groups - in Arts & Letters

Art Exhibitions

The Fine Arts Gallery in the Fine Arts Building is the largest art exhibition space available for students on campus. The Gallery presents an Undergraduate Art Exhibition, Senior Project Exhibitions, 6 to 12 MA/MFA Thesis Exhibitions, and exhibitions of work by professional artists. In addition, lectures, musical events, and poetry readings, as well as other special events are scheduled in the gallery to increase the reach of the visual arts to new audiences. The student-run exhibition space, COMA Gallery, presents rotating exhibitions of Cal State LA student artwork. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Communication Activities

The program offers a rich array of professional activities. Students may participate in numerous Communication Studies clubs including Lambda Pi Eta, the Communication Honor Society. The department also has a thriving internship program, placing students in businesses, political organizations and non-profits throughout Southern California. Every semester students may participate in a Public Speaking Showcase, highlighting the best speeches from the given term. The award-winning Forensics team competes in debate and individual events in prominent intercollegiate tournaments. Students edit and help produce Colloquy, the department’s annual journal that showcases the best in student scholarship. For many of these programs, students may earn credit by enrolling in appropriate activity courses in the Department of Communication Studies.

Dance Production

The Dance area of the Department of Theatre and Dance offers students experiences in performing their own choreography, the opportunity to collaborate with other dancers and to work with professional guest artists.  Performances vary each year and range from mini-concerts and community tours, to full evening productions. All students are eligible to audition for dance productions or participate in design and backstage technical and production assignments.  Students earn production credit by enrolling in the appropriate courses once cast or assigned to a show.


The Department of Liberal Studies, with support from the other departments in the College of Arts and Letters, hosts Cal State LA’s annual convention devoted to exploring and celebrating diversity in science fiction and fantasy across media. EagleCon is supported by the Art Directors Guild, and Costume Designers guild and includes panels of industry professionals who work in every aspect of media production including literature, comics, video games, television, and film. For more information on EagleCon, visit: http://www.calstatelausu.org/eaglecon.

Literary Activities

The Department of English provides the campus community regular opportunities for enjoying literary activities. It annually sponsors public lectures by distinguished scholars, public readings by nationally and internationally renowned writers, international conferences on major authors or literary themes, and a statewide literary conference (Significations) for CSU graduate students. The English Department also supports the publication each year of a student-edited award-winning magazine, Statement Magazine, which showcases student work in photography and art, poetry and fiction, and forms of literary journalism. Students receive academic credit and instruction in journal publishing with the production of Statement Magazine. The publication of the magazine is celebrated annually with a festive launch of readings open to the public, at which prizes are awarded for the best poem and for the best work of fiction.

The Department also sponsors the Henri Coulette Academy of American Poets Prize; the David L. Kubal Memorial Lecture Series, which began in 1982, and the Jean Burden Poetry Reading. Past Kubal Memorial lecturers have included such distinguished scholars as Frederick Crews, Marjorie Perloff, Helen Vendler, Sacvan Bercovitch, J. Hillis Miller, X.J. Kennedy, V.A. Kolve, John Brewer, and Arthur F. Kinney. Past Burden poetry readers have been such prize-winning poets as Howard Nemerov, Tess Gallagher, Maxine Kumin, Lucille Clifton, Mark Strand, Carolyn Kizer, Richard Wilbur, Galway Kinnell, Harryette Mullen, Linda Pastan, Rita Dove, Andrew Motion, Adrienne Rich, Wendy Cope, and Vikram Seth.

In order to promote public interest in poetry and poetics at Cal State LA, donors Virginia E. Smith and Jean Burden helped create an endowed fund by which the chartered Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics (CCPP) was established. The CCPP sponsors literary events throughout the year.

Modern Language Events

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures hosts Modern Language Festival annually, during which each of the five language sections (Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish) holds an educational event that engages a large number of students in learning about different cultures through international lectures, films, and workshops.  In collaboration with communities, Chinese Poetry Recitation Contest, French Poetry Recitation Contest, and Japanese Speech Contest have also been successfully held annually.

Musical Events and Organizations

The Associated Students cooperates with the Department of Music in offering an extensive program of musical events. Students enroll for academic credit in music activity courses as members of various performance organizations. Each organization has a regular performance schedule and performs several times each year both on and off-campus. Some concerts are held during the noon hour; others are scheduled at night or on weekends. Membership is open to all students who wish to participate. The Afro Latin Ensemble, Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Jazz Orchestra, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and Opera Workshop require an audition. Music organizations include:

Course Name: Course Number
Chamber Music MUS 4859
Chamber Singers MUS 4259
Concert Choir MUS 3269
Early Music Ensemble MUS 4849
Jazz Orchestra MUS 4249
Small Jazz Ensemble MUS 4299
Afro Latin Ensemble MUS 4279
Mariachi Ensemble MUS 4309
New Music Ensemble MUS 4289
Opera Workshop MUS 4269
Latin Ensemble MUS 4230
Symphonic Band MUS 3209
Wind Ensemble MUS 3229
Orchestral Performance & Practice MUS 3219
University Chorus MUS 3279

Philosophy Activities

The Department of Philosophy sponsors a colloquium series that brings well known philosophers to campus to speak on a broad range of topics. Those colloquia that focus on gender, human rights, and poverty, are supported in part by the Ann Garry and Sharon Bishop Endowed Fund in Feminist Philosophy and the Ricardo Gomez Fund in Human Rights and Poverty. Students have opportunities to interact informally with these speakers. A student organization, the Philosophy Club, plans a variety of events. BA and MA students jointly publish a print journal of student writings, Philosophy in Practice and receive credit for their work by enrolling in PHIL 4002/PHIL 5002.

Television, Film, and Media Studies

The Department of Television, Film and Media Studies offers comprehensive programs in Journalism and in Television, Film and Media Studies. Options in Production, Writing, and Media Studies empower the diverse voices of our students, teach them to think critically about media, and prepare them for professional careers in production, post-production, interactive media, documentary, and screenwriting. Journalism courses teach students how to tell compelling stories that inform and engage digital, broadcast and print audiences on critical issues they care about and that affect them related to community news, sports, entertainment, politics, and breaking news.

Student clubs such as Film Productions, Golden Eagle Productions, and Cinematic Visions provide students with new contacts, friendships and a sense of community. Similarly, students run the University Times newspaper and Golden Eagle Radio, gaining a sense of comradery, valuable hands-on media experience and published or aired work samples.

Students can participate in the department’s robust internship program, working in high-end internship opportunities with the media industries including major studios, independent productions, newsrooms, guilds and industry associations in film, television, radio, journalism, music, graphics, and entertainment industry-related business, public relations, marketing, and new technologies. Students may earn credit for participation in these internships by enrolling in our internship courses.

The program also offers students experiences in professional film festival competition through festival classes, the CSU’s annual Media Arts Festival, and Cal State LA’s own annual Golden Eagle Film Festival that is conceived, organized, and produced by students. The TVFM program is supported by a generous grant from Hauser & Wirth and generous annual grants and scholarships from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Theatrical Productions

Along with two degree options (Performance and Design & Production), the Department of Theatre and Dance produces 6-8 large theatre and dance events each academic year as well as workshops and master classes. Yearly productions offer students and audiences a range of contemporary, modern, and classic dramatic literature; experimental, devised as well as music theatre; and Dance production. Department productions include faculty-directed and supervised productions and workshops, Guest Artist-led productions, MFA theatrical projects, student-directed productions, and original student plays and choreography. All students are eligible to audition for theatre and dance productions or participate in design and backstage technical and production assignments. Students earn production credit by enrolling in the appropriate courses once cast or assigned to a show.


Departments & Programs

Department Undergraduate Programs Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Programs
Options: Animation, Art Education, Art History, Fashion, Fiber, and Materials, Graphic Design/Visual Communication, Studio Arts
Options: Art Education, Art History, Design, Fashion, Fiber, and Materials, Studio Arts
Options:  Design (Graphic Design/Visual Communication, Animation),
Studio Arts (Drawing, Painting, Photography, Ceramics, Sculpture, New Genres).
Options: Health Communication, Mass Communication, Organizational Communication, Social Justice Communication
Communication Studies, M.A.  
Options: General option, Single Subject Credential option
English, M.A.  
Options: Interdisciplinary Studies in Culture and Society, Elementary Subject Matter Teacher Preparation: Traditional, Elementary Subject Matter Teacher Preparation: Integrated
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies  
Spanish, M.A.  
 Options: Composition, Jazz Studies, Performance, Music Education (Pre-Credential)
Options: Composition, Commercial Music, Conducting (Choral Conducting, Instrumental Conducting),   Performance, Afro Latin Music, Music Education
Options: General Option, Pre-Law Option
Philosophy, M.A.  
Options: Production Option, Writing Option, Media Studies Option
Options: Acting, Content Creation, Writing
Options: Performance Option, Design and Production Option


Interdisplinary Courses offered by the College

Arts & Letters (Undergraduate)