Jul 14, 2024  
2017-2018 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Degree Information

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies
Cecile Lindsay

Graduate Studies

A student who plans to become a candidate for a master’s degree must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally 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:

Applied Sociology (Suspended)
Asian Studies
Communication Studies
French and Francophone Studies
Italian Studies
Political Science
Religious Studies
Speech-Language Pathology

Master of Business Administration
Master of Business Administration / Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Management

Master of Fine Arts Degree in:

Creative Writing
Theatre Arts

Master of Music
Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Health
Master of Social Work

Master of Science Degree in:

Aerospace Engineering
Applied Statistics
Civil Engineering
Computer Science
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Electrical Engineering
Emergency Services Administration
Engineering Management
Geographic Information Science
Health Care Administration
Mechanical Engineering
Nutritional Science
Professional Physics
Recreation Administration
Science Education
Special Education
Supply Chain Management

Ed.S. in School Psychology
Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

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

Doctor of Nursing Practice
DPT in Physical Therapy

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. 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 graduate certificates are listed below, with the department responsible for each certificate indicated in parentheses.

Graduate certificate programs require at least 12 units of course work, of which at least 9 units must be at the graduate 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. No more than twenty-five percent of the units required for the Academic Certificate program shall be transfer units. A grade-point average of at least 3.0 must be maintained in the graduate certificate program’s course work. All credit courses in the Academic Certificate program shall be graded in the traditional manner (i.e., A through F), except for those courses that are offered only on a Credit/No Credit basis. 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.


Applied Disability Studies (Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling)
Community College (Educational Leadership)
Latino Health and Nutrition Studies (Health and Human Services)
Museum Studies (Art)
Nurse Education (Nursing)
Nurse Practitioner (Nursing)
Public Management Analysis (Public Policy and Administration)
Public Sector Employer‑Employee Relations and Personnel Management (Public Policy and Administration)
Public Sector Financial Management (Public Policy and Administration)
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Linguistics)

Graduate and Post‑Baccalaureate Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum university requirements for admission as well as the standards established by the program. Exceptions to the minimum university requirements can only be granted by the Dean of Graduate Studies based on the recommendation of the program faculty. The offer of admission may be ‘provisional’ if requirements are in progress at the time of admission that must be completed prior to enrollment in the program (e.g., earning a Baccalaureate degree). Failure to meet the terms of the admission offer may result in the rescission of the offer.

To meet the minimum requirements for admission to graduate and postbaccalaureate studies at CSULB, a student shall at the time of enrollment: (1) have completed a four-year college course of study and hold an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association, or have completed equivalent academic preparation as determined by appropriate campus authorities; (2) be in good academic standing at the last college or university attended; and (3) have attained an acceptable grade-point average in any of the following ways: (a) hold an advanced degree; (b) hold a baccalaureate degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 (A = 4.0); (c) hold a baccalaureate degree with a GPA of at least 2.5 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted. Lower-division courses or courses taken in extension (except in adjunct enrollment at CSULB in the upper-division level) after obtaining the baccalaureate degree will be excluded from the calculation.

Students in the process of completing a baccalaureate degree may be admitted on a provisional basis, subject to proof of degree completion by the established deadline, if their cumulative GPA is at least 2.7 or if the GPA in their last 60 semester or 90 quarter units are calculated at 2.5 or higher.

For information on the specific requirements for admission to a given program, see the catalog section for that program.

These and other CSU admissions requirements are subject to change as policies are revised and laws are amended. The CSU website, www.calstate.edu and the CSU admissions portal at www.calstate.edu/apply are good sources of the most up-to-date information.

Graduate Standing - Conditionally Classified

Admission to Conditionally Classified Standing: Applicants who show promise of success but who have deficiencies in prerequisite preparation which, in the opinion of the program faculty, can be met by specified additional preparation, including qualifying examinations, may be offered admission with a Graduation Standing of “Conditionally Classified” on a space available basis. The academic unit granting the degree must notify the applicant of the specific preparation required, including minimum grades and the time frame for completion, within two weeks of the University offer of admission.

Prerequisites should normally be completed in two semesters. Requests to allow a student longer than two semesters must be approved in advance by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Graduate Standing - Classified

Admission to Classified Standing: Applicants who satisfactorily meet the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards for admission to the graduate degree curriculum, including qualifying examinations, are admitted with a Graduate Standing of “Classified.”

Academic unit(s) granting the degree(s) are required to monitor the progress of students in “Conditionally Classified” status each term. Upon the successful completion of the identified preparation, the academic unit granting the degree must notify Enrollment Services and the student that they have earned a Graduate Standing of “Classified.” If the student fails to complete the required preparation within the time frame established, the student may be immediately dismissed from the program. The academic unit granting the degree may grant additional time based on special circumstances with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies. The academic unit granting the degree must notify the student and Enrollment Services of the decision to dismiss for failure to achieve “Classified Standing” in a timely manner.

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

For admission requirements, see the Admission section of the catalog.

Requirements for Master’s Degree

Applicants with a baccalaureate degree may gain admission to CSULB as a graduate student with either conditionally classified or classified status. Once admitted to CSULB in a graduate degree program, a student retains catalog rights for both the general university requirements and the specific requirements of the degree program unless the student breaks continuous enrollment. Breaking continuous enrollment severs catalog rights for both the university and program.

The receipt of a master’s degree involves four major steps:

  1. Admission to CSULB and the academic unit granting the degree (department, college, etc.) as either a conditionally classified or classified graduate student;
  2. Completion of the requirements to achieve classified status if admitted in conditionally classified status;
  3. Preparation of a program of study and advancement to candidacy; and
  4. Fulfillment of all remaining requirements for the degree, major, and option, if any, resulting in graduation.

For more information, please see University Regulations Governing the Master’s Degree.

Admission to a Department as a Post-Baccalaureate/Graduate Student

In order to pursue a credential, certificate, master’s or doctoral degree, students must be accepted by the department or college offering the program. In some instances (see specific department listing) this process may require supplemental 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 program. Departments or colleges that receive more applications from qualified students than the number of spaces they have available will admit students in priority order based on the strength of candidates’ qualifications.

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 provision that all remaining admission requirements of the program must then be fulfilled after enrollment.

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 Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies 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)

Under the approved GWAR policy from Spring 2012, all graduate students must demonstrate upper-division competency in academic writing in English by fulfilling the GWAR in order to advance to candidacy.

Exceptions and Exemptions to GWAR requirements

There are three existing pathways for graduate students to immediately satisfy GWAR requirements:

  1. Graduate students who earned a degree from an accredited college or university in the United States satisfy the GWAR.
  2. Graduate students who earned a degree from an accredited non-US institution located in a country where English is a primary language of communication satisfy the GWAR (See Table A).

Table A: Approved Accredited Non-US Countries

Antigua and Barbuda Australia Bahamas
Barbados Belize Bermuda
Botswana Canada Dominica
England Fiji Gambia
Ghana Grand Cayman Islands Grenada
Guyana Jamaica Kenya
Ireland and Northern Ireland Liberia New Zealand
Lesotho Sierra Leone St. Christopher - Nevis
Scotland St. Lucia St. Vincent and Grenadines
St. Kitts Tanzania Trinidad and Tobago
Swaziland Virgin Islands Wales
Uganda Zimbabwe Zambia
  1. Graduate students who earned a 4 or above on the analytical writing component of the GRE or GMAT satisfy the GWAR.
  2. Beginning Fall 2013, these exceptions or exemptions are automatically noted on students’ records at the time of admission. However, if an exception or exemption is not on record, graduate students may submit a Graduate Student Petition to satisfy the CSULB GWAR to Testing, Evaluation & Assessment, BH-216. The petition form is available at BH-216 or at www.csulb.edu/testing.

GWAR Placement Exam (GPE) Results

Graduate students who do not meet any of the three existing pathways discussed above, must take the GPE, the writing placement exam. There are four possible outcomes from the GPE:

  1. Graduate students who receive scores of 11 or higher on the writing placement exam have satisfied GWAR requirements.
  2. Graduate students who receive scores of 8, 9, or 10 on the GPE are required to complete a GWAR portfolio course with a grade of “C” or better, and submit a passing writing portfolio. Once this is successfully completed students have satisfied GWAR requirements.
  3. Graduate students who receive scores of 7 or lower on the GPE will be required 1. to complete an English GWAR 301A course with a “C” or better, and then 2. take and complete a GWAR portfolio course with a grade of “C” or better and submit a passing writing portfolio. Once 301A and a GWAR portfolio course are successfully completed students have satisfied GWAR requirements.
  4. International graduate students are allowed to self-place into a GWAR portfolio course. Once they successfully complete their GWAR portfolio course with a grade of “C” or better, and submit a passing writing portfolio, they have satisfied the GWAR requirements. Note: International graduate students can take the GPE with the outcomes discussed in 1-3 above.

Important Information on the GWAR Placement Exam (GPE) and Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE)

In Fall 2016 the GWAR Placement Exam (GPE) replaced the previous placement exam, the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE). Several important policy changes are discussed below:

  1. Graduate students who do not take the GPE their first semester of residency will receive a hold on their registration. To release the registration hold students must register for and take the GPE, and meet with a GWAR advisor to release their registration hold.
  2. Graduate students who do not take the GPE their first semester of residency may delay their graduation.
  3. Regardless of their admission date, students who have not taken a writing placement exam must take the GPE (unless they satisfy Exceptions and Exemptions to GWAR requirements discussed above).
  4. Students who took the WPE prior to fall 2016 will maintain their writing placement score and be placed according to their earned score.
  5. Students may take the GPE only once unless they receive approval from the GWAR Coordinator in consultation with the GWAR Committee. Exceptions are rare and must have a documented reason.
  6. Graduate students who attempted the WPE once prior to Fall 2010 may attempt the GWAR placement exam a second time or self-place in an appropriate GWAR portfolio course.
  7. 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 while earning a 3.0 GPA or greater.
  8. Graduate students may appeal to complete requirements concurrently if required for timely advancement to candidacy. Appeals will be reviewed by the Dean of Graduate Studies or designee.

GWAR Advising & Testing

Students who have questions about their next step or who need help selecting an appropriate GWAR portfolio course should contact a GWAR advisor at GWAR-Advisor@csulb.edu. Information about the GWAR is available at www.csulb.edu/gwar. Graduate students should 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 placement exam online at www.csulb.edu/testing. Students must pay a fee to cover the costs of exam administration and scoring. The Writers Resource Lab, The Learning Assistance Center, and Testing, Evaluation & Assessment offer workshops one to two weeks prior to each exam date. 

The GWAR and Registration Holds

If graduate students neglect to attempt the GPE in their first semester of residency, CSULB will place a hold on their privilege to register for classes. Students must register for and take the GPE to release these registration holds. Students with compelling reasons can request deferrals at Testing, Evaluation & Assessment, BH-216. In certain circumstances, students, with help from their faculty or staff advisors, may submit an appeal or contract to release a registration hold temporarily.

If students fail to comply with requirements to enroll in a GWAR course, CSULB will place a hold on their privilege to register for classes. Students must meet with a GWAR advisor to release these registration holds.

Graduate Research Fellowship

The Graduate Research Fellowship is awarded by CSULB faculty to students who show potential for success in scholarly and creative activity and an interest in advanced study. Interested students should contact the office of their college dean for information on the nomination process.

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 Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies or his/her designee.

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 department approval, asking the department to request the program change from Enrollment Services. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. If granted permission, candidates 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.”

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.

In addition to whatever additional requirements a particular degree program has, all candidates for a master’s degree must complete the requirements listed below:

  1. Maintain a cumulative, graduate, grade-point average of 3.0 calculated on all upper-division and graduate-level coursework attempted by the candidate at CSULB after completion of a baccalaureate degree. Exceptions to the 3.0 cumulative, graduate, grade-point average may be made only on the recommendation of both the departmental faculty offering the degree and the college dean or designee and approval by the Dean of Graduate Studies or designee.
  2. Maintain at least a 3.0 average in all the courses listed on the program of study.
  3. Obtain a minimum grade of C for a course to count in a program of study. Academic unit(s) granting the degree(s) may require higher minimum grades for specifically indicated courses. A student may retake a course once in order to achieve a minimum grade. A grade for a course taken the second time may satisfy a minimum grade requirement but shall not replace the grade previously earned in the course on the student’s transcript.
  4. Make progress towards timely completion of the degree as determined by any milestones that the academic unit granting the degree may have established in writing and communicated to its students. Students failing to make satisfactory progress may be placed on administrative academic probation. Department Chairs or Associate Deans must notify students in writing or via e-mail that they have been placed on administrative academic probation.
  5. Complete all required courses on the program of study, which must contain a minimum of 30 units in upper-division and graduate courses. Some degree programs require additional units. Student teaching may not be included in any master’s degree program.
  6. Complete at least seventy percent (70%) of the required units in the degree program at CSULB in matriculated status or as approved graduate credit earned as a senior. At the option of the department offering a master’s degree, a graduate student may use credit taken at CSULB in non-matriculated status or approved transfer credit toward up to thirty percent (30%) of the units of the program of study. Units applied towards a previous undergraduate degree cannot be transferred for credit towards a master’s degree. The academic unit granting the degree may waive units and course requirements provided the minimum thirty-unit requirement is met in accordance with Title V.
  7. Complete at least seventy percent (70%) of the minimum units required for the program of study in courses at the 500 and 600 levels, including double numbered courses (400/500). At least fifty percent (50%) of the units required for the degree shall be in courses organized primarily for graduate students.
  8. Complete a thesis or project subject to all requisite approvals or pass a final, comprehensive examination. Some programs require both a final comprehensive examination and either a thesis or project. Others allow students a choice between a thesis option and a non-thesis, comprehensive examination option. Failure of either the comprehensive examination or thesis/project requirement is failure of both options. In other words, a student failing the comprehensive examination may not proceed to the thesis or project option or vice versa. Once a student has completed a semester of enrollment toward fulfillment of either the comprehensive examination or thesis option, the student may not change from one option to the other without the approval of the graduate advisor, the department chair, and the appropriate dean or designee.
  9. Complete all requirements of the degree program within seven (7) years of the date the student initiated the program (i.e., the date [semester] when the student first completed a course appearing on the student’s program of study). The Dean of Graduate Studies or designee may grant an exception to this requirement if warranted by individual circumstances and if the student re-validates the outdated work by re-taking the course, passing a comprehensive examination in the relevant course or subject field work, or fulfilling such other demonstrations of competence as may be prescribed by the department in its approved policy on revalidation.
  10. Maintain continuous enrollment every spring and fall semester by registering in a course or in GS 700 or having received 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. Registration in GS 700 is CR/NC only.

Concurrent Master’s Degree

Currently matriculated, post-baccalaureate students may enroll concurrently in a second master’s degree program. Rather than sequentially completing one degree first and then the other, the student’s time and the university’s resources may be conserved by arrangements that permit the student to proceed in a coordinated way toward completion of the two graduate degree programs simultaneously. The two degree programs may reside in separate academic units or the same academic unit. To protect the integrity of the university’s degrees, the following conditions must be satisfied to award concurrent master’s degrees:

  1. The student must complete all prerequisites for the concurrent master’s degree prior to seeking approval to declare that concurrent master’s degree;
  2. A student wishing to pursue a concurrent master’s degree must first seek the approval of the graduate academic unit granting the student’s first master’s degree program to declare the additional master’s program;
  3. If the student’s current graduate academic unit agrees that the additional master’s may be appropriate and feasible the academic unit(s) granting the degrees would collaborate to develop a plan to allow completion of both degrees;
  4. Each degree in a concurrent program must meet the 30 unique unit minimum. Units beyond the 30 unique unit minimum may be shared between concurrent degrees.

If the academic unit(s) granting the degrees are successful in developing a plan to allow completion of both degrees, the Dean of Graduate Studies or his/her designee(s) must approve the plan before the student can begin work on the additional master’s degree while still enrolled in the initial degree program. The decision whether to approve the student’s request should be based on:

  1. The extent to which the additional master’s program would form a coherent intellectual whole with the initial program;
  2. The number of units already completed in the initial master’s degree program and student’s academic performance in that coursework;
  3. The feasibility of the plan to complete the degrees in a timely manner (i.e., without violating either the “seven-year rule” or any timely completion policies of individual master’s degree programs);
  4. Any additional criteria the Dean of Graduate Studies finds relevant to the decision in any particular case.

The student is considered formally admitted only to the initial master’s degree program. If the student wishes to discontinue the initial program in favor of the added program they must reapply to the university and the plan to complete both degrees would no longer be valid.

Regardless of the number of units approved for “sharing” between two master’s degree programs, students must complete distinct culminating activities for each degree (e.g., a comprehensive exam for each of the two degrees; two different theses or projects; one comprehensive exam and one thesis or project).

Academic units that believe pursuing concurrent master’s degrees would be beneficial to their students may establish formal cooperation agreements with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Students would still need to fulfill the requirements listed above, but the process for entering the additional master’s program would be streamlined.

Second Master’s Degree

Students who have graduated with or who are about to graduate with a master’s degree from CSULB or any other regionally accredited university may apply for a second master’s degree in a different program.

CSULB will grant advancement to candidacy for the second degree only after the first degree has been awarded. All candidates for a second master’s degree must meet the following requirements:

  1. Submit a new application to CSULB and the academic unit granting the degree and meet all admission requirements of CSULB and the academic unit granting the degree;
  2. Complete all general requirements for a master’s degree at CSULB not already completed as well as all specific requirements for the new degree program. Units applied towards a previously completed degree cannot be transferred for credit towards a second master’s degree. The academic unit(s) granting the degrees may waive units and course requirements provided the minimum 30 unique unit requirement is met.
  3. Earn, after the awarding of the first master’s degree, a minimum of 21 units of graduate residence credit at CSULB, including the minimum of 500 and 600 series units mandated by the academic unit in which the student is earning the second master’s degree.

The Program

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

Many departments will assign the student a faculty advisor with whom the student must also consult about preparing a program of study; other departments utilize their graduate advisors for this purpose. Either the faculty or graduate advisor will assist the student in preparing a program of study. Many departments will also require a special committee to advise a student, especially when either a thesis or project is involved. The program of study must be approved by the student’s department and either the college dean or designee. Once approved, a student’s program of study may not be changed without the express consent of all parties involved.

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 audit 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 CSULB 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.

Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to candidacy is the next step after achieving classified status. Advancement to candidacy also signifies approval of a plan of study by the studentf’s major department and college.

The requirements for advancement to candidacy are:

  1. Attainment of classified status as a student in a graduate program at CSULB;
  2. Fulfillment of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR);
  3. Approval by the studentF’s department and college of a program of study (see above);
  4. Completion with a minimum GPA of 3.0 of at least six units of courses required on the studentF’s program of study;
  5. A cumulative, graduate, grade-point average of at least 3.0 calculated on all upper-division and graduate-level coursework attempted by the student at CSULB after completion of a baccalaureate degree;
  6. Satisfactory completion of any assessments of competence that the department may require.

CSULB will advance to candidacy all graduate students when the above requirements have been successfully completed. In most instances, advancement to candidacy should occur no later than the end of the second semester of matriculation and must occur no later than one semester or session prior to the semester or session in which the student expects to graduate. It must occur prior to a student filing a request to graduate with Enrollment Services. Normally, a student is eligible and should file for advancement to candidacy for the semester immediately after fulfilling the requirements for advancement to candidacy listed above. All students must consult with their graduate advisor regarding advancement to candidacy as well as to determine any departmental requirements to graduate from CSULB.

An approved graduate student program remains in effect so long as a candidate is making satisfactory progress and does not withdraw from CSULB. To ensure minimum satisfactory progress toward the degree objective, the student must enroll every fall and spring semester or be on approved educational leave and complete all degree requirements within seven years after completion of the first course on the student’s program.

Prior to advancement to candidacy, the student may change degree program or options within the same department with faculty approval. Students wishing to change to a degree program in a different department must file a new application for admission. If admitted to the new discipline, the student must then follow all the steps indicated above for obtaining approval of a new student program and advancement to candidacy.

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

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. 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 will be held responsible for the regulations governing master’s degrees in effect at the time of admission. 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.

Teaching Associateships and Graduate Assistantships

Many CSULB departments have Teaching Associate (TA) and/or Graduate Assistant (GA) positions available for qualified graduate students. Students should check in department offices or on the campus website for more information.

Final Comprehensive Examination

Each academic unit granting degrees 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 academic unit granting the degree in preparing the questions, administering the examination, and scoring the results. Through the comprehensive examination, the faculty provides an opportunity for the master’s degree candidate to demonstrate analytic ability and knowledge of the discipline. 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.

An academic unit granting the degree may allow a candidate who has failed the final, comprehensive examination to take it a second time, and the student should contact the departmental graduate advisor for specific procedures for the second attempt. In order for CSULB to award a candidate the master’s degree for a particular semester, the department must report the results of the comprehensive examination to Enrollment Services prior to the end of that semester.

Theses and Projects

A student may enroll for thesis or project units (courses usually numbered 698 or 699) only when that student has attained candidacy status for the degree or when advancement to candidacy will occur in the semester of initial enrollment in thesis or project units. CSULB will award a minimum of three and a maximum of six semester units for the successful completion of a thesis or project.

All thesis or project units must be specified as either credit/no credit only or letter grade only by the department. If a department selects the letter grade option the student must earn at least a B.

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 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 department chair and the graduate or thesis advisor. 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.

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 and Dissertation 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 and Dissertation Office

All theses must be acceptable for deposit in the University Library. The Thesis and Dissertation Office in 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 and Dissertation 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 University Library). The Thesis and Dissertation Office also conducts periodic workshops on how to prepare a thesis or dissertation 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 Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies or his/her designee.

Graduate and post-baccalaureate students are subject to disqualification if while on probation they fail to earn grades of sufficient quality to remove themselves from probationary status. Disqualification will bar such students from any further enrollment at CSULB.

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.

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, research, 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 Studies 700

Graduate students who have advanced to candidacy and completed all other coursework but who need to complete the culminating activity for their program (thesis, project or comprehensive exam) must maintain continuous enrollment every spring and fall semester by registering in a course or in GS 700 or having received an approved educational leave.

Graduate students who have departmental approval may enroll in GS 700 the first and second time online using MyCSULB. There are seven sections of GS 700 according to the college of enrollment:

  • G S 700A College of Health & Human Services (CHHS)
  • G S 700B College of Liberal Arts (COLA)
  • G S 700C College of Business (CBA)
  • G S 700D College of Education (COED)
  • G S 700E College of Engineering (COE)
  • G S 700F College of Arts (COTA)
  • G S 700G College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics (CNSM)

Students who wish to enroll in additional semesters of GS 700 will be required to obtain the approval of their department and the associate dean of their college.

Academic Load

Eight 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 18 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.

Honors for Graduate Students

Graduate Dean’s List

The Graduate Dean’s List provides for university recognition of its most outstanding graduate students. Candidates for this honor will normally have completed all the coursework applicable to their graduate student programs at this 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 administrator in charge of graduate programs or designee.

Departmental Graduate Student Honors

In recognition of outstanding graduate student achievements, departments may honor graduating master’s and doctoral degree candidates by special recognition in the annual commencement ceremonies. The number of honors awarded by a department shall be limited to three students or five percent of graduates, whichever is larger. Departmental 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 fieldwork, and in university committees and functions, as well as participation in scholarly and professional organizations resulting from student research.