Frequently Asked Questions

What are the entrance requirements?

Admission to the program is based on the standard CSU transfer requirements: 60 semester units of transferable college-level work with a C average, completed by the end of the semester before enrollment in the program. (Summer and Winter Intersession not included). Thirty of these units must be in general education at a C or better, including A1 (Speech), A2 (Composition), A3 (Critical Thinking), and B4 (Math/Quantitative Reasoning). Entrance requirements can be in progress or planned when you apply, but they must be completed by the end of the Fall or Spring semester preceding enrollment.

What are the graduation requirements?

In order to graduate, you must:

  • Complete all four core courses in the major 
  • Pass the Written English Proficiency Test (WEPT)
  • Complete at least 120 semester units from accredited colleges
  • Complete all GE requirements according to the CSU pattern for transfer students
How is the program structured?

Students take one 10-unit course per semester for four semesters to complete the major. The program advisor works with students to design a plan to complete any other necessary requirements.

How long does the program take?

Like most majors, Liberal Studies requires 40 units of coursework to complete; however, you will need a total of 120 units to graduate. You will take one 10-unit class per semester for 4 semesters to complete the major requirements. If, after your transfer credits, you need additional electives or general education coursework, you may need to take longer or use your summers to take needed classes.

What does the program cost?

The current fee for each 10-unit course is $425 per unit, total cost of $4,250 per semester, as of the Fall 2017 semester (subject to change).

Is financial aid available?

The Financial Aid office http://www.sonoma.edu/finaid has information about how and when to apply for state and federal aid. The Scholarship Office http://www.sonoma.edu/scholarships accepts applications for campus-based scholarships between September 15 and January 15. They also have links to national scholarship searches. The Veterans' Office can help veterans or dependents of veterans explore their benefits. You may also search the web for private loan sources, or check with your employer about reimbursement for all or part of your expenses. Also, ask your tax advisor if you qualify for the Lifetime Learning tax credit.

How do I apply to the program?

Applications are processed separately from the resident SSU programs. Please do not try to use the online CSU Mentor application process. Submit our fillable PDF Undergraduate Application Form, or contact Amy Unger amy.unger@sonoma.edu, (707) 664-2601 to mail you a form. Applications are typically accepted from October 1 through March 30 for the following Fall semester and from July 1 through September 30 for the following Spring semester.

What is "Hutchins"?

The Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at Sonoma State University has been experimenting with new approaches to learning for the past 40 years. Its founding principles are active learning through the seminar format and an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge. The Degree Completion Program is the latest version and application of this philosophy.

What do you mean by the seminar format?

Our seminars are made up of 15 (or fewer) students and an instructor who, together, aid and abet one another in the quest for meaning. The bulk of the talking is done by students--they pose the questions, they frame the answers. The instructor facilitates the process.

Why interdisciplinary?

Most of the interesting questions do not stop short at disciplinary boundaries. By designing block courses (10 units each) arranged around major themes, we are able to juxtapose a variety of readings that illuminate one another, and jostle around in the mind. That jostling is what we call learning.

At least three faculty members (from different disciplines) are involved in the design of each course. In addition, each course benefits by being critiqued by the entire Hutchins faculty, so that the many years of experience we have in interdisciplinary education can be brought to bear on all of the Degree Completion Program offerings.

What are the core courses?

These are three ten-unit interdisciplinary courses, taken one each semester. Each core topic has been chosen because it focuses on an area in which major changes and shifts are taking place. The sequence begins with an examination of the changing idea of the self, and then moves to a look at the world of the future as defined by major shifts in the global economy and work patterns, and finally to a study of the interaction between technology and the environment. All core courses will have a global dimension, and will emphasize issues of values, ethics and judgment.

What does the final semester, the Senior Project, consist of?

In addition to the three core courses, there is a final semester consisting of a ten-unit senior project. At this point, you will be turned loose to follow up on a theme or project of particular interest to you. In most cases you will be building upon work done in one or more of the core courses. Your work may be in the form of research or field work, or, more likely, a combination of the two. In conjunction with this work, you will be asked to write an intellectual autobiography, reflecting upon your journey through the program. And finally, you will give an oral presentation of your senior project to your fellow students.

What about the field work component of the program?

As adult students, you will be able to take advantage of your experience in the community and in the workplace by designing and completing projects in the field. They may range from an environmental assessment of your workplace, to a project focusing on homelessness in your community. This is your opportunity to tackle issues of particular interest to you. All that we ask is that your field work project each semester be related to the readings and discussions we are all undertaking together. The field work projects will be an integral part of each ten-unit course. Your instructors will work with you each semester to help you find appropriate projects.

Field work provides a hands-on component to the program. You will learn to do appropriate analyses and reporting. When feasible, we encourage you to work in teams or small groups.

How much of the program is online?

In addition to the Saturdays on campus, we believe that it is imperative for you to have ongoing contact with fellow students and instructors. To that end, most weeks you will be involved in a web-mediated seminar to discuss your reading assignments. This is set up as a threaded discussion, something like a chat room without requiring everyone to be online at the same time. We have scheduled a workshop during the first on-campus meeting to familiarize you with the forum routine. Individual assistance will be available as needed.

Also, from time to time we will give additional Internet research assignments or ask you to visit specific sites.

What kind of time commitment are we talking about?

The readings, writing, and preparation for seminar and fieldwork will generally require between 20 to 30 hours per week in addition to the monthly Saturday seminars. Given the full schedule that you will have, the key will be careful budgeting of time and learning how not to procrastinate.

Is there much writing in this program?

In a word, yes. There are weekly computer postings, autobiographical and journal writings, synthesizing papers, and reports on fieldwork, among other assignments. A writing instructor will be available throughout the first course and thereafter as needed.

What sort of student support is available?

Beginning with the pre-admissions advising, students receive extensive support from the program advisor. Amy Unger works with each student to evaluate prior coursework and create an individualized plan for the student to complete a Bachelor's Degree.

What other campus resources are available?

This program is considered an "external" degree, and as such, BADCP students do not pay the Associated Students fee and are not eligible for the full range of student services. However, services that are open to you include the Library, reduced fees for on-campus events and recreation facilities, and the career center. You can also get a student ID card that will entitle you to student discounts wherever they are offered, and you are eligible to use the Student Health Services for a fee. More information on health services is available at the Student Health Center website.