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Professional Studies

College of Health and Human Services

CSULB students have a classroom discussion

Professional Studies - Graduate Programs

Master of Arts in Occupational Studies (code OCSTMA01)

The Master of Arts degree in Occupational Studies is available to qualified students preparing for professional careers in the fields of career, occupational, and vocational education. A major thrust is the development of qualified leadership personnel to serve occupational education programs in public and private education as well as related human resource development programs in California and the nation.

The graduate program in occupational studies consists of three parts. The first part is a 15 unit set of required or core coursework in the following areas:

  • History and Foundations of Professional Education (PROF 501)
  • Leadership Development (PROF 502)
  • Management Skills (PROF 503)
  • Research and Evaluation (PROF 505 and 696)

The second part is an area of specialization which is selected by the student in consultation with an advisor. Examples of program specialization areas follow:

  • Administrative studies – for persons interested in administration of occupational education in public or private sectors.
  • Special populations­ – for persons planning to work with learners who are culturally different, handicapped, and/or limited English proficient in occupational education settings.
  • Corporate training and development – for persons interested in development, implementation, and evaluation of training programs in a variety of business or industrial settings.
  • Career guidance – for persons interested in counseling and guidance services in education and employment settings.
  • Research and evaluation – for persons planning to work in research and evaluation units in public and private agencies or to pursue advanced graduate studies.
  • Curriculum and instruction – for persons interested in developing occupational education courses and programs in public and proprietary institutions.

The third program part is the decision to conduct a major research study (the thesis option) or to complete a comprehensive examination near the end of the Master’s program.

Each applicant must submit a copy of transcripts for all college work to the program office, in addition to the official copies required by the Office of Admissions and Records.


  1. A bachelor’s degree in occupational studies, with a minimum of 24 upper division units in vocational education comparable to courses offered at this University; or
  2. A bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 24 upper division units comparable to courses offered at this University in the discipline in which the degree was awarded.
  3. Successful completion of Departmental Writing Examination.

Advancement to Candidacy

  1. Satisfaction of the general University requirements for advancement to candidacy, including successful completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR);
  2. Completion of all core courses;
  3. Maintenance of "B" average (3.0 GPA) in all work completed in graduate program;
  4. Approval of Professional Studies Graduate Faculty and Director of Graduate Studies and Research, College of Health and Human Services.


  1. Completion of PROF 501, 502, 503, 505, 696;
  2. Completion of 30 units of approved upper division and graduate courses and a thesis (PROF 698) and an oral presentation of the thesis approved by Department Graduate Committee; or 36 units of approved upper division and graduate courses and a written comprehensive examination.