Sep 26, 2023  
2023-2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

Graduate Degree Information

Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Dean of Graduate Studies
Jody Cormack

Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies at California State University, Long Beach is committed to academic excellence and inclusivity through our high-quality, affordable graduate programs.  We provide our diverse student body with a graduate education that leads to upward mobility and the opportunity for advancement to fulfill workforce demands, create, innovate, and serve the public good.    

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 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:

Anthropology, M.A.  

Anthropology, Applied Anthropology Option, M.A.  

Art, M.A.  

Asian Studies, M.A.  

Asian Studies, Japanese Language and Pedagogy (JLP) Option, M.A.  

Asian Studies, Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language Option, M.A.  

Communication Studies, M.A.  

Curriculum and Instruction in Physical Education, M.A.  

Dance, M.A.  

Dance, M.A.  (via CPaCE)*

Economics, M.A.  

Early Childhood Education, M.A.  

Education, Dual Language Development Option, M.A.E.  

Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Elementary Education Option, M.A.E.  

Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Secondary Education Option, M.A.E.  

Education, Mathematics Education, M.A.E.  

Equity, Education, and Social Justice, MA   

Educational Administration, M.A.  

English, M.A.  

French and Francophone Studies, M.A.  

Geography, M.A.  

German, M.A.  

History, M.A.  

Human Experience Design Interactions, M.A.  

International Affairs, M.A.   (via CPaCE)*

Italian Studies, M.A.  

Kinesiology, Adapted Physical Education Option, M.A.  

Kinesiology, Individualized Studies Option, M.A.  

Linguistics, General Linguistics Option, M.A.  

Linguistics, Language and Culture Option, M.A.  

Linguistics, Option in Translation Studies, B.A.  

Linguistics, Special Concentration, M.A.  

Linguistics, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Option, M.A.  

Music, M.A.  

Philosophy, M.A.  

Political Science, M.A.  

Psychology, Psychological Research Option, M.A.  

Religious Studies, M.A.  

Spanish, M.A.  

Speech-Language Pathology, M.A.  

Sport Management, M.A.   (via CPaCE)*

* CPaCE: With additional delivery options available via the College of Professional and Continuing Education (CPaCE). 


Master of Fine Arts Degree in:

Art, M.F.A.  

Dance, M.F.A.  

English, Creative Writing, M.F.A.  

Theatre Arts, Option in Acting, M.F.A.  

Theatre Arts, Technical Theatre/Design Option, M.F.A.  


Master of Music Degree in:

Music, Composition Concentration, M.M.  

Music, Composition with Interactive Technology Concentration, M.M.  

Music, Conducting - Choral Concentration, M.M.  

Music, Conducting - Instrumental Concentration, M.M.  

Music, Instrumental Performance Concentration, M.M.  

Music, Jazz Studies Concentration, M.M.  

Music, Opera Performance Concentration, M.M.  

Music, Piano Performance Concentration, M.M.  

Music, Vocal Performance Concentration, M.M.  


Master’s Degree in:

Business Administration, M.B.A.   With additional delivery options available via the College of Professional and Continuing Education (CPaCE). 

Business Administration, M.B.A./Theatre Management, M.F.A.   

Public Administration, M.P.A.  

Public Administration, M.P.A.  (via CPaCE)*

Public Health, Community Health Education Option, M.P.H.  

Social Work, M.S.W.  


Master of Science Degree in:

Accountancy, M.S.  

Aerospace Engineering, M.S.  

Applied Statistics, M.S.  

Athletic Training, M.S.  

Biochemistry, M.S.  

Biology, M.S.  

Chemical Engineering, M.S.   

Chemistry, M.S.  

Civil Engineering, M.S.  

Computer Science, M.S.  

Construction Management, M.S.   

Counseling Psychology, M.S.  

Counseling, Student Development in Higher Education (SDHE), M.S.  

Criminology and Criminal Justice, M.S.  

Criminology and Criminal Justice, M.S.  (via CPaCE)*

Educational Technology and Media Leadership, M.S.  

Electrical Engineering, M.S.E.E.   

Electrical Engineering, M.S.E.E.   (Interdisciplinary) 

Emergency Services Administration, M.S.  

Emergency Services Administration, M.S.    (via CPaCE)*

Engineering, M.S.  

Exercise Science, M.S.  

Financial Analytics, M.S.  

Geographic Information Science, M.S.  

Geographic Information Science, M.S.  (via CPaCE)*

Geology, M.S.  

Gerontology, M.S.  

Health Care Administration, M.S.   (via CPaCE)*

Information Systems, M.S.   

Information Systems, M.S.  .  (via CPaCE)*

Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Option, M.S.  

Marketing Analytics, M.S.  

Mathematics, M.S.  

Mathematics, Applied Mathematics Option, M.S.  

Mathematics, Mathematics Education for Secondary School Teachers Option, M.S.  

Mechanical Engineering, M.S.  

Microbiology, M.S.  

Nursing, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Specialty (Acute and Primary Care), M.S.N.  

Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty, M.S.N.  

Nursing, Nursing and Health Systems Executive Management Concentration, M.S.N.  

Nursing, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Specialty, M.S.N.  

Nursing, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Across the Life Span) Specialty, M.S.N.  

Nursing, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty, M.S.N.  

Nutritional Science, M.S.  

Physics, M.S.  

Physics, Applied Physics Option, M.S.  

Physics, Computational Physics Option, M.S.  

Professional Physics, M.S.  

Psychology, Human Factors Option, M.S.  

Psychology, Industrial and Organizational Psychology Option, M.S.  

Recreation Administration, M.S.  

School Counseling, M.S.  

Science Education, Informal Science Education Option, M.S.  

Science Education, TK-12 Science Education Option, M.S.  

Special Education, M.S.  

Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, M.S.  

Supply Chain Management, M.S.  

Sustainability Management and Policy, M.S.  


Doctoral Degrees in:

Educational Leadership, Ed.D.  

Engineering and Computational Mathematics, Ph.D.  (awarded jointly with Claremont Graduate University)

Nursing Practice, D.N.P.  

Physical Therapy, D.P.T.  

Education Specialist Degree:

School Psychology, EdS  

* Denotes programs offered through CSULB’s College of Professional and Continuing Education (CPaCE).  CPaCE offers a diverse range of degrees, professional development certificates, and international education options by offering new and innovative pathways for students to achieve success. More information on CPaCE’s offerings is available. 

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.

Graduate certificate programs require at least 12 units of coursework, 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 in the program. No more than 25% 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 coursework. 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 coursework.

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 to receive early advisement on the program.


Applied Disability Studies Graduate Certificate  
Community College Graduate Certificate  
Latino Health Graduate Certificate  
Museum Studies Graduate Certificate  
Nursing Education Graduate Certificate  
Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate  
Public Management Analysis Graduate Certificate  
Public Sector Employer-Employee Relations and Personnel Management Graduate Certificate  
Public Sector Financial Management Graduate Certificate  
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Graduate Certificate  
Translation Studies Graduate Certificate  

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 both 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;
  4. Completion of a culminating activity, and
  5. 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.

Graduate Study in International Programs

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

Matriculated 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 because of participation in the International Program of Studies, but a maximum of 12 units may be allowed by the Dean of Graduate Studies or 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.

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. 

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 apply to that program at the University. 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 option to another within the same degree program (for purposes of this regulation, all options offered under a single degree). 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 withdraws from a graduate degree program and 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 re-advanced to candidacy. The student’s graduate program will follow the catalog of the most recent admission. 

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. All courses graduate students complete are calculated in the GPA. Graduate students cannot repeat courses designated non-repeatable if they already earned a passing grade in the course. Graduate students cannot earn more than the maximum units allowed for a course.
  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 warning. Department Chairs or Associate Deans must notify students in writing or via e-mail that they have been placed on administrative academic warning.
  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, and the Dean of Graduate studies 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 coursework, 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 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 review program requirements.

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. A program of study is required for advancement to candidacy.

The student program must list the following:

  1. Courses required for preparation for graduate study (e.g., prerequisite course);
  2. All courses taken prior to advancement to candidacy which are to apply toward the 30.unit minimum;
  3. Required courses;
  4. Elective courses;
  5. Culminating activity requirements.

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 may utilize the online Degree Planner to plan enrollment, and the online Academic Requirements Report to monitor their progress. 

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 signifies approval of a plan of study by the student’s graduate program and college.

The requirements for advancement to candidacy are:

  1. Attainment of classified status as a student in a graduate program at CSULB;
  2. Approval by the student’s department and college of a program of study (see above);
  3. Completion with a minimum GPA of 3.0 of at least six units of courses required on the student’s program of study;
  4. 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;
  5. Satisfactory completion of any assessments of competence that the program may require.

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. A department or college recommends a student for advancement to candidacy 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. The graduate student receives an email notification from the Office of Enrollment Services once the student has officially advanced to candidacy.  

All students must consult with their graduate advisor regarding advancement to candidacy as well as to determine any program 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. If a student does not maintain adequate Academic Standing (i.e., GPA below 3.00), then advancment to candidacy will be rescinded and the student must readvance once good Academic Standing is re-achieved.  

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 they are enrolled or not more than one semester thereafter and then enrolls in courses toward their degree within one calendar year of the date of their release from service.

Students who have advanced to candidacy and take an educational leave will be considered as not having withdrawn from candidacy for an advanced degree, provided the terms of the educational leave are fulfilled.

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. Graduate students seeking or employed in these positions are strongly advised to review the Policy on Employment of Graduate Students as Student Assistants, Instructional Student Assistants, Graduate Assistants, and Teaching Associates.

Culminating Activity: Comprehensive Examination

Each academic unit granting degrees requiring a comprehensive examination for its culminating activity 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 examination 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 program 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, programs must report the results of the comprehensive examination to Enrollment Services prior to the end of that semester.

Culminating Activity: 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 RP status, with grade given only in final semester 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 thesis is completed by an individual student.

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. A project is completed by an individual student or a group.

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.

Thesis and Dissertation Office

All theses must be acceptable for deposit as determined by the Thesis and Dissertation Office. The Thesis and Dissertation Office  (located 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 and Dissertation Office for information, advice, and assistance on the mechanics of preparing a completed thesis and should go to the Thesis and Dissertation Office website for guidelines on University Thesis and Dissertation formatting. The Thesis and Dissertation Office accepts presubmissions for feedback and conducts periodic workshops on how to prepare a thesis or dissertation at CSULB.

Academic Warning 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 warning if they fail to maintain a cumulative grade‑point average of at least 3.0 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 or the Dean of Graduate Studies or designee.

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

Other PostBaccalaureate 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 academic warning. A student on academic warning 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 increase the grade point average.

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.

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 advancement 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.

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 online within the first 2 weeks of the semester, or at the College of Professional and Continuing Education (CPaCE) after the first 2 weeks of the semester. Registration for GS 700 constitutes enrollment in the university, including for scholarship eligibility purposes.

Graduate student enrollment in GS 700 must be approved by department graduate advisors, chairs, or when they are not available the Associate Dean or the Graduate Director for the College. After registering for four semesters of GS 700, students will be subject to a registration hold. Prior to registering for any subsequent semester of GS 700, the department graduate advisor must confer with the student and with the Associate Dean of the College about an appropriate course of action for the graduate student. Colleges/departments may hold students to a stricter timeline than outlined here.

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

For financial purposes, eight units per semester is the academic load for a full‑time graduate student engaged in study toward a master’s degree. 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 their graduate advisor and College Associate Dean or Director of Graduate Studies.

Graduate Equity Fellowship 

The Graduate Equity Fellowship (GEF) provides tuition remission to master’s and doctoral students who contribute to diversity, advance equity, and/or promote/contribute to the public good in their field of study either via scholarship, research, and creative efforts or via active engagement in programs or activities. Interested students should contact their graduate advisor or the office of their college dean for information on the nomination process. 

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.