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Graduate Degrees and Other Post Baccalaureate Studies

Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs

Cecile Lindsay

Associate Deans for Graduate Studies
Holly Harbinger (Arts)
Steve Turley (Education)
Sandy Cynar (Engineering)
Michael Lacourse (Health and Human Services)
Mark Wiley (Liberal Arts)
Henry Fung (Natural Sciences and Mathematics)

Director of MBA Program
H. Michael Chung

Graduate Studies

University College and Extension Services has become the College of Continuing and Professional Education.

Graduate study is primarily designed to inspire independence of mind and originality in the quest for knowledge, truth, and useful application. Candidates for a master’s degree are required to demonstrate mastery in their chosen field of study either through independent research culminating in an acceptable thesis and/or through successfully passing a final comprehensive examination.

Graduate curricula are designed to provide each student with advanced study in a discipline. All courses listed in a master’s degree program, including those outside the major field, must be graduate or upper-division courses approved by the student’s graduate committee and department graduate advisor.

Proficiency of a student in any and all parts of a curriculum is ascertained by the faculty of the University. A favorable vote of the faculty is required for a student to receive a master’s degree.

A student who plans to become a candidate for a master’s degree must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or have completed equivalent academic preparation at a foreign university as determined by the appropriate campus authority. The student must have completed undergraduate course work substantially equivalent to that required at California State University, Long Beach in the discipline of intended graduate study, or must be prepared to undertake additional work to make up any deficiency. Most graduate degree programs are based upon preparation in the discipline at the undergraduate level. Undergraduate preparation is considered adequate if a candidate has met the upper-division requirements of this University for a bachelor’s degree in the subject matter area of the master’s degree program. Refer to specific departments for detailed requirements of each degree program.

The following graduate degrees are offered:

Master of Arts Degree in:
Asian Studies
Communicative Disorders
Family and Consumer Sciences
Global Logistics
Interdisciplinary Studies
Occupational Studies
Political Science
Religious Studies
Speech Communication
Theatre Arts

Master of Business Administration

Master of Fine Arts Degree in:

Creative Writing
Theatre Arts

Master of Music

Master of Physical Therapy

Master of Public Administration

Master of Public Health

Master of Social Work

Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Public Health

Master of Science Degree in:

Aerospace Engineering
Civil Engineering
Computer Science
Criminal Justice
Electrical Engineering
Emergency Services Administration
Engineering Management
Health Science
Health Care Administration
Interdisciplinary Studies
Mechanical Engineering
Nursing/Health Care Administration
Nutritional Science
Recreation Administration
Science Education
Special Education

Civil Engineer Degree

Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Leadership
(awarded jointly with University of California, Irvine)

Ph.D. in Engineering and Industrial Applied Mathematics
(awarded jointly with Claremont Graduate School)

Certificate Programs and Graduate Study

Students, whether graduates of CSULB or of another accredited institution, may complete the requirements for and be awarded certificates while in graduate standing. Admission requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, at least a 2.5 grade-point average in the most recently completed 60 units of course work, and fulfillment of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Certificate programs are of two types: baccalaureate certificates which may be taken concurrently with or following the award of the baccalaureate degree, and graduate certificates which require post-baccalaureate standing. The baccalaureate certificates are listed in the "Undergraduate Programs" section of this catalog. The graduate certificates are listed below, with the department responsible for each certificate indicated in parentheses.

Graduate certificate programs require at least 18 units of course work, of which at least 12 units must be at the 500 or 600 level. Courses taken to fulfill the requirements for the master's degree may also be applied to certificate requirements, if the certificate program permits, but such overlap may not exceed 15 units. Courses in directed research, directed reading, internship, and independent study may comprise no more than 3 units of a graduate certificate program. Thesis and student teaching may not be used on the program. Extension and/or transfer credit may comprise no more than one-sixth of the course work used to meet graduate certificate requirements. A grade-point average of at least 3.0 must be maintained in the graduate certificate program's course work. All courses used to complete the requirements of a graduate certificate must be completed within a five-year period from the date of the initial course work.

If you wish to pursue a graduate certificate program, you should review the course requirements given in the department course listings of this catalog. You should notify the relevant department of your intention to pursue a certificate program as early as possible so as to receive early advisement on the program.


Career Guidance Specialist (Educational Psychology, Administration, and Counseling)
Community College (Educational Psychology, Administration, and Counseling)
Leisure Counseling (Recreation and Leisure Studies)
Museum Studies (Art)
Nurse Practitioner (Nursing)
Physical Therapy Intern (Physical Therapy)
Public Management Analyst (Public Policy and Administration)
Public Sector Employer-Employee Relations and Personnel Management (Public Policy and Administration)
Public Sector Financial Management (Public Policy and Administration)
Systems Engineering (College of Engineering)
Teaching English as a Second Language (Linguistics)
Transportation Policy and Planning (Public Policy and Administration)
Urban Executive Management (Public Policy and Administration)
Waste Engineering and Management (Civil Engineering)

Post-Baccalaureate Studies

Students with a baccalaureate degree who wish to continue their education for personal enrichment or to meet professional needs may do so at CSULB either as a post-baccalaureate student or as a graduate student. A post-baccalaureate student is one who has not declared a master’s degree or a credential as an objective but who is nevertheless attending class and participating in academic work at the University beyond the baccalaureate degree. Post-baccalaureate students may only enroll through University College and Extension Services. A graduate student is one who has requested and received formal admission to a specific field of study that will lead to a graduate degree in one of the many disciplines available at CSULB.

Candidates for public school service credentials at the University are advised to familiarize themselves with the requirements for these programs. Descriptions of credential programs appear in the Credential Programs section of this Catalog and in the separate departmental sections of this catalog.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Admission Requirements

Graduate and credential applicants may apply with the objective of completing a degree, a credential, or a certificate program. Depending on the stated objective, CSULB will consider an application for admission in one of the three categories:
Graduate Standing — Conditionally Classified
To qualify for admission in conditionally classified graduate standing, a student must:
1. Hold an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association or have completed equivalent academic preparation in a foreign university as determined by an appropriate campus authority;
2. Have attained a grade-point average of at least 2.5 (A = 4.0) in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted;
3. Have been in good standing at the last college attended; and
4. Be accepted into a graduate degree curriculum on a conditional basis, subject to the requirement that any deficiencies must be remedied by additional preparation.

Graduate Standing — Classified

A student who meets the minimum requirements for admission as a graduate student, as specified in the preceding paragraph, may be admitted as a fully classified graduate student pursuing an authorized degree curriculum if the appropriate program authorities determine that he or she satisfactorily meets the professional, personal, scholastic, or other standards for admission to the graduate degree curriculum, including qualifying examinations that the appropriate program authorities may prescribe. Only those applicants who show promise of success and fitness will be admitted to graduate degree curricula, and only those who continue to demonstrate a satisfactory level of scholastic competence and fitness shall be eligible to proceed in such curricula.

Post-Baccalaureate Standing — Classified

In this status a student is eligible to enroll in a credential or certificate program, provided that such additional professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, as may be prescribed for the particular credential or certificate program by the appropriate campus authority, are satisfied.

Admission to the University

In order to be admitted to CSULB as either a post-baccalaureate classified student or as a graduate student, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
1. Have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university or college;
2. Have been in good standing at the last institution attended;
3. Have at least a 2.5 grade-point average in the last 60 semester (or 90 quarter) units attempted, independent of when the baccalaureate was granted. The entire term in which the 60 semester (or 90 quarter) units began will be used in this calculation. Lower-division courses or courses taken in extension (except in adjunct enrollment at CSULB in the upper-division level), after obtaining the bachelor’s degree, will be excluded from the calculation.

Students wishing to enroll in the University must follow the instructions supplied by the Office of Enrollment Services in the Admissions section of this Catalog.

NOTE: Graduating undergraduate CSULB students do not automatically continue as graduate students. They must apply under the same conditions as non-CSULB students. Once applications are received, they will be evaluated at appropriate offices. To be admitted to the University, a student must also be admitted to a specific program. The University does not admit post-baccalaureate students who do not have a degree, certificate, or credential objective. Provisional admission is granted to applicants anticipating their baccalaureate degree prior to registration but subsequent to filing the application. Proof of the baccalaureate is mandatory (final transcript must be on file) prior to the student's second semester of attendance. If it is not, provisionally admitted students will be prohibited from future enrollment until such proof is on file.

The student must request all institutions of higher learning attended (except for CSULB) to send an official copy of transcripts directly to the Office of Enrollment Services and to the department advisor of graduate studies. Transcripts presented to the Office of Enrollment Services by the student are not acceptable. Graduates of California State University, Long Beach must follow these same procedures when making application to a graduate degree program.

All graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must demonstrate competence in English. Those who possess a bachelor’s degree from a postsecondary institution where English is not the principal language of instruction must receive a minimum score of 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), 213 on the computer-based version of the TOEFL or 80 on the Internet-based (iBT). Some programs may require a higher score.

Admission to a Department as a Graduate Student

In order to pursue a credential or master's degree, students must be accepted by the department or college offering the degree program. In some instances (see specific department listing) this process may require making a separate application to the department or college. Following review the department or college will determine whether or not a student meets its requirements for admission to its degree program. Departments or colleges that receive more applications from qualified students than the number of graduate spaces they have available will admit students in priority order based on the strength of candidates' qualifications.

On the other hand, if space is available, a student who is admissible to the University but who does not meet program requirements for admission may nevertheless be accepted as a conditionally classified graduate student by the department or college offering the program, subject to the proviso that all remaining admission requirements of the program must then be fulfilled after enrollment. Only the Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee is authorized to grant conditional admission to a student who does not meet University requirements, and such action will be taken only in rare and compelling circumstances.

Special Action

In rare and compelling circumstances, an applicant who doesn't qualify for admission under the previous provisions may be admitted by special action if on recommendation of the appropriate faculty of the department/college concerned and in the judgment of the Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee there exists acceptable evidence that the applicant possesses sufficient academic, professional, and other potential pertinent to her/his educational objectives to merit such action, as shown through aptitude scores, recent academic performance, and experiential background.

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

As a requirement for advancement to candidacy, all graduate students must demonstrate competency in academic writing in English. Students must either submit evidence of having fulfilled this requirement elsewhere or attempt to fulfill it no later than the end of their first semester of matriculation at CSULB. All graduate students must fulfill this GWAR by one of the following:
1. Passing the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE)
2. Passing another approved assessment of writing competence
3. Having fulfilled a GWAR as part of their baccalaureate degree(s) while matriculated at CSULB or at another CSU campus
4. Earning a CSULB-approved passing score on the writing portion of an approved standardized graduate admissions test, such as the Graduate Record Examination or the Graduate Management Aptitude Test

Students with degrees from non-CSU campuses must either provide proof of meeting the requirement with adequate scores on a CSULB-approved standardized graduate admissions test or attempt to satisfy the GWAR by the end of their first semester of matriculation at CSULB. Assessments of writing competence from non-CSU campuses will be evaluated by the GWAR Coordinator as a fulfillment of the GWAR on an articulation basis if possible, or on a case-by case basis if necessary.

Graduate students must satisfy the GWAR before they will be advanced to candidacy. (Advancement to candidacy requires satisfying the GWAR and satisfactorily completing six or more semester units in residence earning a 3.0 GPA or greater.) Graduate students must also visit their graduate faculty advisors in their first semester to determine if additional departmental or program writing requirements apply to their advancement to candidacy.

Students can register for the WPE at the Office of Testing and Evaluation Services, BH-216 (562) 985-4007, www.csulb.edu/centers/tests. Students must pay a fee each time they take the test to cover the costs of test administration and scoring. Students may attend free three-hour workshops one to two weeks prior to each WPE date indicated in the Schedule of Classes and may obtain information about these workshops from the Testing Office.

Students who need assistance to prepare for the WPE should contact WPE faculty advisors in the Learning Assistance Center Academic Services Building Room 012, (562) 985-5350 to determine if tutoring, WPE Preparatory Classes, or a special course like ENGL 301 A/B would be helpful. Students who do not pass by their second attempt must meet with a WPE faculty advisor in the Learning Assistance Center and subsequently provide evidence of following the advisor’s recommendations before registering to take the WPE a third time.

It is the students’ responsibility to insure that any passing scores they have earned on the essay portions of standardized graduate admissions tests are reported to the Office of Enrollment Services. It is also the students’ responsibility to insure that their specific department or program receives up-to-date GWAR scores and information.

Second Master’s Degree

A graduate student who is currently enrolled in a master's program at CSULB must complete that master's program before enrolling in courses for another degree. A graduate student who already holds a master’s degree from this or any other accredited institution but desires to become a candidate for a second master’s degree in a different field is subject to the following regulations:
1. All admission requirements of the University and college or department must be met (all general regulations listed in the Catalog apply to the second master’s degree);
2. Enrollment and approval of candidacy for the second degree will be granted only after the first degree has been completed and awarded;
3. All requirements for the new degree must be completed;
4. After awarding of the first master’s degree, a minimum of 24 units of graduate residence credit must be earned at this University including the minimum of 500/600-series units mandated by the major department in which the student is earning the second master’s degree;
5. No more than six units earned on the first degree may be applied to a second master’s degree;
6. Prerequisites for an advanced course must be completed prior to enrollment in the advanced course. An instructor may disenroll a student who does not provide evidence of adequate preparation;
7. All prerequisites must be completed prior to application for candidacy;
8. Two master’s degrees cannot be awarded concurrently;
9. The area or discipline in which the second degree is earned shall be designated on the transcript and a second diploma awarded.

Graduate Study in the International Programs

Students planning to participate and receive unit credit toward a master’s degree in an International Program should consult with the graduate advisor in the department of their major and college dean or director of graduate studies before entering the degree program.

Graduate students who have not been admitted to candidacy for a master’s degree and who participate in the International Programs may, upon their return to California State University, Long Beach, petition to have six units earned as resident credit in the International Programs included on their official student program for the master’s degree. In no case may excess grade points earned in the International Programs be used to bring a grade-point deficiency at California State University, Long Beach to the required 3.0 (B) average.

Students admitted to candidacy for a master’s degree who plan to participate in the International Program of Studies must obtain permission, prior to beginning their study abroad, to have units earned abroad applied toward satisfaction of their degree requirements. A candidate’s petition to apply units earned abroad must be reviewed and recommended by the department offering the degree. The specific courses to be taken on the foreign campus, thesis research which is to be done abroad, or any other requirements such as examinations to be taken upon the student’s return must be listed on the official student program. Usually no more than six units of credit may be transferred to apply toward the minimum 30 units for an advanced degree as a result of participation in the International Program of Studies, but a maximum of 12 units may be allowed by the Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee in consultation with the University Graduate Council in a special case.

A copy of the candidate’s graduate student program must be forwarded to the Resident Director for the foreign area, who must certify that any credit earned abroad is appropriate to meet graduate degree requirements.

Pending the faculty’s evaluation of the student’s work, a Report Delayed (RD) grade will be assigned in all courses in which work was completed abroad and which are offered to satisfy requirements toward an advanced degree.

Change of Objective

Evaluation of credits transferred to the University is based in part upon the objective indicated on the application for admission. Candidates desiring a change in graduate objective to a discipline different from that indicated on the original application must reapply to the University. Reapplication requires the submission to the Office of Enrollment Services of a newly completed Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Admission form and payment of the associated fee. The proposed new graduate department or program will review the application and notify Enrollment Services of its decision. Students who are admitted to a new discipline must then seek approval of their official student program and advancement to candidacy, using the procedures indicated below under "The Program" and "Advancement to Candidacy." Students who are not admitted to a new discipline have the option of continuing to pursue their original objective.

The only exception to the procedures described in the preceding paragraph is for students seeking to change from one degree program to another degree program within the same discipline (for purposes of this regulation, all options offered by the College of Education are considered to be part of a single discipline). In such cases candidates must obtain a Petition to Change Objective from the Office of Enrollment Services, obtain the required department/program signatures, return the completed petition form to Enrollment Services, and then seek approval of their official student program and advancement to candidacy, using the procedures indicated below under "The Program" and "Advancement to Candidacy."

Withdrawal from the Degree Program

If a student wishes to resume graduate study after withdrawal, the student must reapply to the University and to the graduate program. If admitted, the student must be readvanced to candidacy and the department or college may determine that the student's graduate program should be changed.

University Regulations Governing the Master's Degree


The following regulations apply to all graduate degree programs. Specific academic and curricular requirements of individual degree programs are given in the departmental listings of this catalog.

All regulations involving a calculation of grade-point average subsequent to admission to the University as a graduate student shall be based on the following common practices and standards.

“Cumulative Graduate Grade-Point Average” shall be calculated on all upper-division and graduate-level coursework attempted by a student at this University after completion of a baccalaureate degree.

Grade-point average standards calculated on the basis of a smaller range, grouping, or set of upper-division and graduate-level courses, for example, “courses in the major” or “courses taken since admission to the degree program,” presuppose that the student has met the minimum standard for any larger range, group, or set, including the Overall Graduate Grade-Point Average.

1. A student pursuing the master’s degree must maintain an Cumulative Graduate Grade-Point Average of 3.0 (B). Exceptions to the 3.0 (B) Cumulative Graduate Grade-Point Average may be made only on the recommendation of the departmental faculty offering the degree, the college dean or designee, and approval by the University Graduate Council.

2. At least a 3.0 (B) average must be maintained in the degree program.

3. No course with a grade lower than “C” may be applied toward the fulfillment of degree requirements.

4. Graduate students cannot repeat courses either for credit or to improve their grade-point average.

5. The individual course of studies (student program) for the master’s degree must contain a minimum of 30 units in upper-division and graduate courses.
Some degree programs require additional units. Please consult individual degree program requirements.
A minimum of sixty percent of the units required for the degree shall be in the 500- and 600-level series and these shall be completed at this University, consistent with departmental requirements. Student teaching cannot be included in any master’s degree program. All upper-division courses marked with an asterisk (*) may be included in the master’s degree programs of the department listing the course. With permission of the student’s department graduate advisor, asterisk-marked courses may also be used on other graduate degree programs, when appropriate. Normally, other non-marked courses are not used.

6. A thesis, project, or final comprehensive examination must be completed. A minimum of four and a maximum of six semester units shall be allowed for a thesis or project. Failure of the comprehensive examination or thesis requirement is failure of both options. Thus, a student failing the comprehensive examination may not proceed to the thesis/project option or vice versa. Once a student has completed a semester of enrollment towards fulfillment of either the comprehensive examination or thesis/project option, the student may not change from one option to the other without the approval of the faculty concerned, the department chair, and the appropriate dean or designee.

7. No fewer than 24 semester units shall be completed in residence at the University. The Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee may authorize department/college approved substitution of credit earned by alternate means for a part of the residence requirement. Units, including continuing education or extension units, accepted by transfer for application toward the minimum units required for a master’s degree cannot be used to fulfill the minimum unit requirements in the 500/600 series. This 500/600 unit requirement must be completed in the major discipline and in residence at this University.

8. All requirements of the degree program must be completed within seven years of the date the student program was initiated, i.e., the date (semester) when the earliest course appearing on the student program was completed. An extension of time beyond the limit may be granted by the Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee if warranted by individual circumstances and if the outdated work is validated by comprehensive examination in the relevant course or subject field work, or such other demonstration of competence as may be prescribed by the department and/or college.

9. A graduate student who expects to receive a degree at the end of any semester or summer session must be enrolled during that semester or session and must complete the Request to Graduate Form well in advance. The appropriate request for Spring or Summer candidates must be filed by the preceding October 1; for Fall candidates, by the preceding March 1 at the Office of Enrollment Services. The names of candidates who file within these deadlines will appear in the Commencement Program published each Spring.

Note: Graduate Studies 700 may only be used to fulfill the enrollment requirement if the applicant has completed all degree program courses prior to the semester of graduation. An incomplete grade not otherwise resolved prior to graduation will automatically revert to the letter grade indicated on the "Requirements for Assigning an Incomplete Grade" form. A course with an unresolved grade of RP (Report in Progress) will remain on the transcript but will be removed from the student's program of study. Incomplete grades cannot be resolved after graduation.

10. Proficiency of a student in all parts of a curriculum is determined by the faculty of the University. A favorable vote of the faculty is required for a student to receive the degree.

The Program

A student must consult with the graduate advisor of the department or college to prepare a tentative degree program. After completing prerequisites and other requirements, the student must formulate an official student program and apply for advancement to candidacy.

The department will assign the student a faculty advisor who must be consulted about preparing a degree program. The advisor should have an official evaluation of the student’s previous work from the Office of Enrollment Services, although transcripts provided by the student may be used to develop a tentative student program and discuss degree requirements. When the Office of Enrollment Services' evaluation and the results of tests are available, the faculty advisor can assist the student in drawing up a student program. This student program must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor, the departmental graduate advisor, and college dean or director of graduate studies or, for Interdisciplinary Studies, the Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee. The student program must list the following:

1. Courses required for removal of undergraduate deficiencies;

2. All courses taken prior to advancement to candidacy which are to apply toward the 30-unit minimum;

3. Required courses;

4. Elective courses.

The official student program, when approved, serves as the basis for the Office of Enrollment Services' graduation check which is required before the degree can be granted. Students who have not been advanced to candidacy are subject to all changes as published in the Catalog, Policy Statements, and certifications.

Graduate student programs may be revised as the student advances toward the degree. Such revisions must be recommended by the faculty advisor and approved by the departmental graduate advisor and the college dean or director of graduate studies or, for Interdisciplinary Studies, the Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee.

Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to candidacy is the next step after achieving classified status and confers the equivalent of catalog rights on graduate students. Advancement to candidacy also signifies approval of a plan of study by the student’s major department and college or, in the case of an Interdisciplinary Studies graduate student, approval by the Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program and Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies or designee. The prerequisites to advancement to candidacy are:

1. Classified status;

2. Fulfillment of the CSULB Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Information is available in Testing and Evaluation Services (Brotman Hall 216);

3. A minimum 3.0 overall grade-point average and a 3.0 grade-point average in all units undertaken for the student program (at least 6 units);

4. Enrollment.

All graduate students are required to advance to candidacy when the above prerequisites have been successfully completed. Advancement to candidacy is to occur at least one semester or summer session prior to the semester (session) in which the student expects to graduate. It must occur prior to a student filing the Request to Graduate form with the Office of Enrollment Services. Filing deadlines are the same as for baccalaureate degree candidates. A student must be enrolled in the semester or summer session in which advancement to candidacy takes place. All students must consult with their graduate advisor regarding advancement to candidacy as well as to determine any departmental requirements to graduate from the University.

An approved graduate student program remains in effect as long as a candidate is making satisfactory progress. To insure minimum satisfactory progress toward the degree objective, the student must enroll every fall and spring semester and complete all degree requirements within seven years after completion of the first course on the student program. See also information about Graduate Studies 700 later in this section. The student may not change the graduate major without filing a new application for admission. If admitted to the new discipline, the student must then follow the steps indicated above for obtaining approval of a new student program and advancement to candidacy..

A student entering military service after having been advanced to candidacy will not be considered as having withdrawn from candidacy, provided that the student is inducted, enlisted, or called to active duty during a semester in which enrolled or not more than one semester thereafter, and provided that the student enrolls for work toward a degree within one calendar year of the date of release from service.

Students who have been advanced to candidacy and absent themselves from the University on educational leave will be considered as not having withdrawn from candidacy for an advanced degree, provided the terms of the educational leave are fulfilled. Such students must reapply when returning to the university, but the application fee will be waived.

A department or college recommends a student for advancement to candidacy by forwarding a graduate student program for approval to the college dean or director of graduate studies or the Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee. After the student’s program has been processed and approved, a copy of the completed student program and a letter advancing the student to candidacy will be mailed to the candidate, with copies filed with the department or college and the Office of Enrollment Services.

A student must be enrolled in the semester or summer session in which advancement to candidacy takes place, and this must occur no later than one semester or summer session prior to completion of course requirements. Normally, a student is eligible and should file for advancement to candidacy after completing six units of graduate coursework for the graduate degree program with a 3.0 grade-point average.

Election of Regulations

Graduate students advanced to candidacy will be held responsible for the regulations governing master’s degrees in effect at the time of advancement or at the time the last requirement for the degree is met. A change in master’s degree objective or readmission to a graduate degree program following withdrawal requires that a new student program be filed under the current graduate policies as published in the latest edition of the Catalog.

Educational Leave

Any registered student, undergraduate or graduate, in good academic standing may request an Educational Leave. Students requesting an Educational Leave shall complete an Educational Leave Form in the semester before the leave is effective, including an explanation of their reasons for seeking the leave and a statement of when they intend to resume academic work. The completed form is to be submitted for approval to the student’s department chair (undergraduate) or graduate advisor. Undergraduate students who have not declared a major should submit the completed form to the University Advising Center.

The minimum initial leave will be one full semester; the maximum will be one calendar year. A student may request, in writing, in advance, an extension of the leave. Under no circumstances shall the total number of approved educational leaves exceed two, nor shall the duration of approved educational leaves extend beyond two calendar years.

Students returning from an approved educational leave are required to submit an application form but will not be required to pay another application fee. Students returning from an absence for which an educational leave was appropriate but not approved, in advance, must pay another fee.

Graduate students who plan to enroll for credit at another institution of higher education during the leave period must obtain prior approval from the department graduate advisor, department chair, and the college dean or designee for the transfer of course credit to the student’s program.

The period of an educational leave is counted in the calculation of elapsed time under the regulations governing the maximum period for completion of degree requirements (seven years for graduate students).

For the period of an educational leave the student’s rights under the Election of Regulations rule are preserved, maintaining the right of students to elect regulations as if they had maintained continuous attendance.

An educational leave presupposes no expenditure of University resources or faculty and staff time in behalf of the student during the period of the leave. In addition, no computer facilities, no library privileges, and no student services are available to a student on educational leave.

Comprehensive Examination

Each department or college requiring a final comprehensive examination determines the content of the examination. Such examinations may be written or oral or both. A faculty committee shall represent the department in preparing questions, administering, and reading the examination. Through the comprehensive examination, the faculty provides an opportunity for the master’s degree candidate to demonstrate analytic ability and knowledge of the discipline. Working with the department chair or dean of the college and the appropriate committee, the departmental graduate advisor usually assumes responsibility for scheduling the examinations and for selecting the other faculty members to participate.

Students may not enroll for courses in preparation for the comprehensive examination or take the comprehensive examination unless they have been advanced to candidacy for the master’s degree or unless advancement to candidacy will occur in the semester in which the enrollment takes place.

During the first semester of residence, the graduate student should ascertain from the faculty advisor what preparation will be expected. Early in the final semester of study for the degree, the candidate should contact the departmental graduate advisor to make arrangements for taking the examination. The department or college will notify the Office of Enrollment Services whether the student has passed or failed the final comprehensive examination. A candidate who has failed will usually be allowed to take the final comprehensive examination a second time, and the departmental graduate advisor should be contacted for specific procedures for the second attempt. To award a candidate the master’s degree for a particular semester, the results of the comprehensive examination must be reported to the Office of Enrollment Services prior to the end of the semester.

Thesis and Projects

A student may enroll for Thesis (course 698 or 699) only when that student has been advanced to candidacy for the degree or when advancement to candidacy will occur in the semester of initial enrollment in Thesis.

Theses and projects submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a graduate degree at this University shall meet the following definitions established by the Trustees of the CSU.

A thesis is a written product of the systematic study of a significant problem. It clearly identifies the problem, states the major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendation. The finished product evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation. Normally, an oral defense of the thesis will be required.

A project is a significant undertaking appropriate to the fine and applied arts or to professional fields. It evidences originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a rationale. It is described and summarized in a written abstract that includes the project’s significance, objectives, methodology, and a conclusion or recommendation. An oral defense of the project may be required.

Students are responsible for understanding the definition of a graduate thesis as outlined above and must follow the format guidelines prescribed by the University and department in which the thesis is completed.

Thesis Committees

A student’s thesis committee shall consist of at least three members qualified in the areas relating to the thesis. At least two shall be full-time faculty members at CSULB, one of whom must be tenured or tenure-track. The chair of the thesis committee, including the chair of a committee for an interdisciplinary studies degree, must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member from a department authorized to offer a graduate degree. The thesis committee must be approved by the appropriate department graduate advisor and the college associate dean or director of graduate studies. Normally the chair of the committee also serves as thesis director, but this is not necessarily so. The thesis director must be a person qualified in the specific area of the thesis, but need not be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member. The committee shall be responsible for the guidance of the student throughout the thesis effort. Any change in the composition of the committee requires justification and must be approved by the appropriate department graduate advisor and college associate dean or director of graduate studies.

Before agreeing to serve on a thesis committee, the prospective members will review the thesis topic and determine that they possess the requisite expertise to serve on such a committee, and that sufficient resources and materials exist and are reasonably available to the student to support such a study.

Thesis committee members will review the research competence of the thesis student before approving a thesis proposal.

Thesis committee members will advise and direct students in their thesis work and ensure that the thesis meets the standards and definition of a thesis specified above.

Thesis committee members will determine the grade to be awarded for completion of the thesis; and by signing the thesis signature page, thesis committee members certify that they have determined that the thesis meets the required standards of scholarship, format, and style of the discipline.

When the thesis committee includes a thesis director who is not the chair of the committee, this person may be identified on the thesis approval page as “Thesis Director.”

Thesis Committee Chairs

Thesis committee chairs will determine that the student has the proper preparation in terms of course work and research skills to pursue the proposed thesis.

In departments where this function is not carried out by graduate advisors, thesis committee chairs will advise the student in the selection of other members for the thesis committee, ensuring that the other members are appropriate to the proposed thesis effort.

Thesis committee chairs will be the major contact point with the student and will oversee the other committee members’ work with the student.

Thesis committee chairs will assure that the editorial and format standards appropriate to the mechanical preparation of a thesis are followed.

Thesis committee chairs will establish guidelines for the student and timetables to be followed to ensure completion of the thesis in a reasonable time.

Thesis committee chairs will arrange for the oral defense of the thesis when required.

The thesis committee chair is responsible for canvassing the committee and reporting the grade agreed upon by its members. After the completed thesis has been reviewed by the University Thesis Office for conformance with prescribed format criteria and the approval page has been signed by the committee and by the dean or department chair, as appropriate, the final grade will be submitted.

Thesis Office

All theses must be acceptable for deposit in the University Library. The Thesis Office in the University Library will verify that each thesis meets the format criteria prescribed by the department or degree program and by the University and that it meets all University procedural requirements for theses. Students should consult the University Thesis Office for information, advice, and assistance on the mechanics of preparing a completed thesis and should purchase a copy of Master's Theses and Projects: Guide to Style and Format (copies of this guide can also be checked out from the reserve desk in the University Library). The Thesis Office also conducts periodic workshops on how to prepare a thesis at CSULB.

Academic Probation and Disqualification

Graduate Students

For purposes of determining eligibility to remain at the University, both quality of performance and progress toward the student’s objective will be considered. Eligibility will be determined by use of grade points and grade-point average.

Students who are enrolled in a graduate degree program in conditionally classified or classified standing will be subject to academic probation if they fail to maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0 (as defined earlier under General Regulations Governing the Master’s Degree) in all units attempted subsequent to admission to the degree program.

Every graduate student who has been advanced to candidacy must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 and a grade-point average of 3.0 in all courses applicable to the degree. Candidacy for an advanced degree may be revoked if a student’s cumulative grade-point average falls below 3.0 at any time. Students who become subject to dismissal from an advanced degree program will be notified of the action taken by the college associate dean for graduate studies or the Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee.

Graduate and post-baccalaureate students are subject to disqualification if within two semesters while on probation they fail to earn sufficient grade-points to be removed from probationary status. Disqualification will bar a graduate student from registering as a matriculated student at this campus. Furthermore, subsequent removal of GPA deficiencies by enrolling through UCES or at another university does not guarantee readmission to CSULB. A graduate student who has been disqualified must file a new application and be accepted by the department with the approval of the Associate Dean of the College.

Other Post-Baccalaureate Students

A post-baccalaureate classified student who fails to maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 2.5 on all units attempted at the University will be placed on probation.

A student on probation who, prior to the beginning of the next term, fails to attain a cumulative grade-point average of 2.5 on all units attempted at the University will be disqualified.

A student who is disqualified because of scholastic deficiency may petition the appropriate program authority for readmission only after an absence of two semesters or upon successful completion of summer session courses which remove the grade-point deficiency.

Petitions for readmission must indicate the reason for requesting readmission and must include a statement of any academic work successfully completed since disqualification or of any other activity which gives evidence in support of the petitioner’s belief that readmittance is warranted. An application for admission and required transcripts, as well as the petition, must be submitted to the Office of Enrollment Services before the dates established by the University for filing applications.

Grievance Procedures

I. Statement of Governing Principles
A. A graduate student may only file a grievance based on an alleged violation of specific University regulations or policies or accepted principles of due process and only if another specified remedy (such as the University Grade Appeal Policy in the case of all course grades) does not exist.

B. A grievance may not be filed on the basis of a graduate student's judgment of an instructor's or administrator's competence; such judgments are solely the province of the academic department involved or of the administrator's supervisor.

C. A grievance must be initiated within one calendar year of the alleged violation.

D. Graduate programs should make every effort to obviate the possible causes of a grievance in advance by developing clearly written statements of procedures and standards governing decisions that affect graduate students, such as admission into a program, dismissal from a program, administration of comprehensive examinations, selection for field experience, et cetera. Graduate programs should also have in place a mechanism, such as an appeals committee, to provide due process review at the local level when a graduate student so requests. Due process review is an evaluation of the procedures and standards followed in arriving at a decision; it should be conducted by qualified members of the faculty who were not involved in making the original decision. The purpose is not to second-guess the original decision, but rather to make certain that the appropriate procedures and standards were applied in a manner free of arbitrary, prejudicial, or capricious behavior.

E. Final decisions affecting graduate students should be made only on substantive grounds by the personnel who are most qualified professionally, namely the faculty offering a particular graduate program. When subsequent review shows that appropriate procedures or standards have not been followed in arriving at a decision affecting a graduate student, the preferred remedy is to remand the case back to the faculty of the graduate program for their reconsideration. An error in procedure should not become grounds for reversing a substantive decision. In the event that the faculty of a graduate program persist in a failure to follow appropriate procedures or standards, the Graduate Council will consider that situation as an indication that the program should be reviewed for suspension or discontinuance.

II. Informal Resolution
A formal grievance may be filed by a graduate student only after the student has first sought to resolve the grievance by informal means. The graduate student should begin by contacting the chair or director of the program offering the degree, explaining the nature of the perceived problem, and requesting reconsideration of the decision. If the chair or director was directly involved in the original decision or denies the student an opportunity for due process review at the local level, then the student should seek informal resolution through the college's Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.

III. Formal Resolution
A. If an attempt at informal resolution is unsuccessful, a graduate student may file a formal grievance with the Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee. The grievance must be filed in writing within 30 calendar days of the time when informal resolution was unsuccessful. The grievance must include a full statement of the graduate student's evidence that a University regulation or policy or an accepted principle of due process was violated, as well as an explanation of the efforts made to seek informal resolution. The Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee will verify that a good-faith effort at informal resolution was attempted by the graduate student and that no more than one year has elapsed since the alleged violation occurred.

B. If these conditions have been satisfied, the Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee will forward the grievance to the Steering Committee of the Graduate Council.
1. If a member of the Steering Committee is a faculty member of the graduate program involved in the grievance, that member of the Steering Committee shall be replaced by another member of the Graduate Council, elected for that purpose, whenever the committee considers any matter related to the grievance.
2. The Steering Committee will forward a copy of the grievance to the chair or director of the graduate program, requesting that a written response be submitted to the committee within 20 working days of receipt of the grievance.

C. When the Steering Committee receives the written response to the grievance, it will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to render a summary judgment or whether the grievance merits further review. The Steering Committee may decide:
1. That there is not sufficient evidence of a violation of a University regulation or policy or an accepted principle of due process and dismiss the grievance; such a decision shall be final, unless further review is granted by the President.
2. That there is sufficient evidence of a violation of a University regulation or policy or an accepted principle of due process to warrant immediate remanding of the grievance to the graduate program, with explicit instructions concerning the violation that must be corrected during the graduate program's reconsideration of the case.
3. That the evidence in the case is such that further review is required; in such an instance the Steering Committee shall notify both the grievant and the graduate program in writing of the additional evidence the committee wishes to see and whether that evidence should be provided in writing or in personal testimony before the committee.

D. If the Steering Committee seeks evidence by means of personal testimony, the meeting at which such testimony is presented shall be conducted in the manner of any other academic committee meeting and not as a formal hearing; both the grievant and the graduate program shall be given appropriate opportunities to present their views, but the meeting shall be conducted as an inquiry by the committee members, and not as an adversarial proceeding; there shall be no cross-examination.

E. All meetings at which the Steering Committee considers a grievance shall be closed to the public; the committee shall keep minutes of the meeting, but it need not tape-record its proceedings, nor shall a transcript be prepared.

F. When the Steering Committee is satisfied that it has obtained sufficient evidence to make a determination in the case, it shall make its decision in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph III.C.1 or III.C.2 above.

G. The Steering Committee shall report to the Graduate Council on the issues involved in the grievance and on its determination of the case, without identifying the graduate student who filed the grievance.

Academic Credit

Credit/No Credit Grading

A graduate student may take courses at the 100/200/300/400 levels under the Credit/No Credit grading policy; however, no course in which a grade of “CR” has been assigned may be used to fulfill the requirements for a master’s degree, except that the grade of “CR” may be permitted for master’s theses or projects to a maximum of six units when the individual department has specifically designated Credit/No Credit grading for the thesis/project course in the department and for field work, practicum, and/or internship courses.

For graduate students, courses at the 300/400/500/600/700 levels require “B” level proficiency to merit award of the “CR” grade; at the 100/200 levels “C” level proficiency or better is required for award of the “CR” grade.

The option of Credit/No Credit grading for graduate students on 100/200/300/400-level courses is subject to specific regulations of the individual departments regarding their graduate students and regarding the authorization for this option intrinsic to the approved course. Otherwise, no limitation exists as to the number of courses taken under this policy.

Waiver of Course Requirement and Credit by Examination

No waiver of course requirements or credit by examination may be used to satisfy master’s degree requirements. However, the following rules govern course waivers or credit by examination in satisfying prerequisites for admission to candidacy in any master’s degree program.

Any candidate for a master’s degree who believes that previous training has provided adequate preparation in a certain area may request a waiver from the department concerned.

A candidate may also apply for course credit by examination, but only for prerequisite courses and not to satisfy any of the requirements for the master’s degree. Requests for such examinations must be made to the department concerned and approved by the department chair. Credit by examination is restricted to courses published in the current CSULB Catalog. Please see Credit by Examination in the General Regulations section of this Catalog.

All course credit by examination will be recorded as CR (Credit) and will not be included in calculation of grade-point averages; such credit may not be used to remove a grade of "D" or "F" in a course already attempted, nor may course credit by examination be granted for any course which is a prerequisite to one for which credit has already been received.

Graduate Transfer Units by Extension

At the option of the college or department offering an advanced degree requiring a total of thirty units, up to six units of approved extension/continuing education or transfer credit is acceptable on graduate student programs. At the option of the college or department offering a graduate degree requiring a total of 30 units, this limit may be raised to 9 units of extension/continuing education credit if taken at CSULB. These limits may be increased further for graduate degrees requiring more than 30 units provided that (1) no graduate degree may be awarded by CSULB unless at least 24 units are taken in residence, and (2) no graduate student program may use either extension/continuing education or transfer credit to satisfy the requirement that at least 60 percent of the total units be taken at the 500 and 600 levels. Extension courses completed at campuses including California State University, Long Beach shall be acceptable within the six-unit transfer limit, provided the work can be properly evaluated and the course is acceptable as graduate work for an equivalent graduate degree on the campus where taught. Extension/continuing education and transfer course material shall be evaluated and approved by CSULB faculty teaching in the topic area in conjunction with the department graduate advisor and college associate dean or director of graduate studies. Final approval/disapproval shall be the responsibility of the Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee.

Extension/continuing education credit may not be used to reduce the minimum units required in a discipline for a master’s degree, that is, extension credit may be used to complete coursework required outside the discipline. Excess grade points earned in extension classes may not be used to offset a grade-point deficiency in the total graduate record.

Grades earned at another institution may not be used to offset grade-point deficiencies in courses taken at this University. However, grades of “C” earned at another institution in courses transferred to satisfy subject matter requirements for an advanced degree at this institution must be balanced by grades of “A” at this University to meet the required 3.0 ("B") overall average.

Credit earned by correspondence or by examination cannot be used to satisfy master’s degree requirements.

Graduate Studies 700

Every semester, graduate students must be registered in a course or in GS 700 or must have an approved educational leave. Registration in GS 700 is restricted to graduate students who have completed all course work, have been advanced to candidacy, and have departmental approval. Registration in a course or in GS 700 also is required in winter or summer session if that is when a student plans to graduate. Although no unit credit is added to the student’s program or transcript, GS 700 is considered as one unit of concurrent enrollment credit for fee payment purposes, payable at University College and Extension Services. Application forms are available from and must be approved by department graduate advisors. Registration in GS 700 is CR/NC only.

Academic Load

Nine units per semester is a normal academic load for a full-time graduate student engaged in study toward a master’s degree. If a candidate wishes to exceed this limit, it should be discussed with the departmental graduate advisor. The maximum load for graduate students working toward a master’s degree is 16 units per semester. Students who are employed full-time should not exceed six units per semester.

Graduate students who wish to register for more than one unit of credit per week of attendance during the summer session must secure advance approval from the college associate dean or director of graduate studies. Petition forms and information may be obtained in the college offices.


The Graduate Dean’s List of University Scholars and Artists

The Graduate Dean’s List provides for University recognition of its most outstanding graduate students. Candidates for this honor will normally have completed the coursework applicable to their graduate student programs at the University. The annual list is limited to one percent of the University’s graduate enrollment. Those honored will be named in the Commencement Program and will receive a certificate from the Associate Vice President for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs or his/her designee.

Departmental Graduate Student Honors

In recognition of outstanding graduate student achievements, departments may honor graduating master’s degree candidates by special recognition in the annual commencement ceremonies. Departmental graduate student honors are reserved throughout the University to two students (or a maximum of ten percent) from a department. Departmental graduate student honors are usually restricted to students not otherwise recognized by University or college awards. These honors are normally conferred for excellence in and contributions to the discipline, including outstanding seminar papers, artistic exhibitions, special achievements in field work and in University committees and functions, as well as participation in scholarly and professional organizations resulting from student research.