Jan 25, 2022  
2020-2021 Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Humanities

Office: Clark Hall 419

Telephone: 408-924-4463

Email: humanities@sjsu.edu

Website: www.sjsu.edu/hum


Shannon Rose Riley, Chair
Jennifer Rycenga, Interim Humanities Honors Coordinator
Susan Verducci-Sandford

Associate Professors

J. Todd Ormsbee
Cynthia Rostankowski

Assistant Professors

Erica Eva Colmenares
Funie Hsu
Chanh Cong Phan
Daniel Lanza Rivers

Welcome to the Humanities Department

The home of Creative and Transdisciplinary Studies!

In the twenty-first century, we find ourselves awash in accessible information - but most of us have never learned how to swim in this sea of ideas, histories, and creative works. The Humanities Department is the place where the skills of integration are taught within creative and transdisciplinary paradigms. Whether studying multiple art forms and creativity in the Creative Arts BA, combining subject matter in the Liberal Studies Teacher Prep BA in order to prepare to become a teacher, or integrating perspectives from various academic disciplines in one of the three concentrations in the Humanities BA (American Studies, Religious Studies, or Liberal Arts), our students find in the Humanities Department the place where they can think broadly and imaginatively. With a BA from Humanities, our students acquire the ability to dive deeply into the welter of wonders and ideas in the contemporary world, through comparative, historical, and innovative approaches.

Courses in the Humanities Department typically integrate history, literature, education, philosophy, religion, politics, and the arts. Most importantly, Humanities students develop analytical and expressive skills as well as an ability to read, write, and think clearly, especially about their roles in shaping various societies. Our students win writing awards and our graduates pursue careers in a variety of fields, including arts administration, education, law, journalism, library science, public service, art therapy, occupational therapy, social work, community development, and public relations. We are home to the renowned GE programs in Humanities Honors and American Civilization as well as to the popular Liberal Studies Teacher Prep BA, one of the largest teacher preparation majors on campus.

Students pursuing the Liberal Studies Teacher Prep BA are interested in teaching in elementary or middle school. The program is approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) for subject matter preparation.

Students pursuing the Humanities BA explore a wide array of human experience in diverse locations, in various media, art, and literature, and in significant cultural forms such as religion and other cultural traditions. The BA has three concentrations to select from: American Studies, Comparative Religious Studies, and Liberal Arts.

Students pursuing the interdisciplinary Creative Arts BA explore creativity across the human lifespan and in different cultural contexts and conduct a sustained inquiry into their own creative process. Students take classes in more than one arts area and investigate different purposes of the arts and creativity in different cultural contexts. The Creative Arts Program, established in 1956, is the only interdisciplinary arts and creativity studies BA program in the CSU!

The Humanities Department also offers several minor programs, including American Studies, Area Studies, Asian Studies, Creative Arts, Comparative Religious Studies, Middle East Studies, and Humanities.

Advisors: Christian Jochim, Amy Li, J. Todd Ormsbee, Cynthia Rostankowski, Shannon Rose Riley, Jennifer Rycenga, Susan Verducci

Humanities Honors GE Curriculum

The Humanities Honors Program offers a four-semester survey course in World Cultures and Societies, Honors (HUM 1A /HUM 1B ) and Modern World Cultures, Honors (HUM 2A /HUM 2B ), which provides students with 24 units of core General Education in a format that emphasizes the interrelationship of art, literature, philosophy and social institutions. Core General Education requirements satisfied are: Oral Communication (3 units), Written Communication 1A (3 units), Critical Thinking and Writing (3 units), Arts & Letters (9 units), Comparative Systems (3 units), Social Issues (3 units), and American Institutions (AI) all areas US 1, 2, and 3. The course is interdisciplinary, globally focused, and team-taught, and is organized chronologically from the Ancient World through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Early Modern and Contemporary periods. Entering students with an unweighted high school GPA of 3.0 and an SAT EBRW score of 575 or above are automatically eligible.

The Department also offers an upper division GE sequence in Advanced Honors in Integrated Science, Social Science, and Humanities (HUM 177A /HUM 177B ), which covers SJSU Studies areas R, S. and V.

American Cultures GE Curriculum

The American Cultures curriculum is a two-semester, twelve-unit sequence which satisfies over one-fourth of all lower division general education requirements. Together, AMS 1A  and AMS 1B  provide six units of general education credit in arts and letters (Area C), six units in comparative systems and social issues (Area D), and satisfy the California Education Code American Institutions requirements in U.S. History, U.S. Constitution and California Government (Areas US1, US2, US3). The courses provide the opportunity to study America’s development and current conditions through themes such as the American dream, environmental issues, and ethnic and women’s studies.


    Undergraduate Major(s)

    Undergraduate Minor(s)


      American StudiesAsian StudiesCreative ArtsHumanitiesLiberal Studies Teacher PrepMiddle East StudiesPage: 1 | 2