With approximately 37,000 students, California State University, Long Beach has the largest single-campus enrollment in the CSU system. About 2,200 faculty and nearly 1,700 professional staff members work at the University, which is organized into eight colleges and 63 academic departments and programs.
The elemental unit of academic organization at this University is the department. Departments are most often coincident with a discipline and usually share the same name. Faculty are members of departments. Thus the Department of Biological Sciences has many “programs,” including degrees in Biology and Microbiology, a minor in Biology, and a certificate in Biomedical Art. This Catalog also has information on academic areas, like Gerontology, which are not part of any one department. Some of these areas are called “Studies,” e.g., Women’s Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies. This means that the field is essentially an interdisciplinary one and is the product of the activities of faculty from many departments.
Normally these departments and sub-divisions have committees to discuss curriculum and other matters. Since departments and programs are constituent parts of the colleges, they also send members to college-level committees and councils. These bodies serve to develop, refine, and review curriculum. At the University level faculty members from all of the colleges are elected to several councils and to the Academic Senate. These bodies concern themselves with campus-wide issues. Many of these councils, their subcommittees, and the Academic Senate have also provided for staff, student, and administration membership.
For students who have just begun their life in the University, some of the departments will be unknown territory. Other departments and programs will turn out to be considerably different from first expectations or previous experiences with high school subjects of the same or similar names. For students who have begun to focus their academic interests, exploration of the departments and programs of a college beyond the favorite first contact area will often prove to be a valuable part of the process of choosing an academic major.