Minimum University Requirements
All candidates for master’s degrees at Cal State L.A. must fulfill the following minimum requirements:
Completion of at least 45 quarter units in approved courses, of which at least half (23) must be graduate (500-level) courses. Master’s degree programs whose minimum total units are established at more than 45 quarter units must include at least half of those units in courses at the graduate (500) level.
Grade Point Average Requirement
Achievement of a minimum B (3.0) grade point average in all courses on the approved Study Plan. A grade of C is allowed on the Study Plan; however, any grade below C, including C-, requires that the course be repeated with both grades computed in the grade point average.
At least 32 quarter units for the master’s degree completed in residence at Cal State L.A.
Postbaccalaureate Writing Proficiency Requirement
Fulfillment of the Postbaccalaureate Writing Proficiency Requirement, as described later in this chapter.
Culminating Experience Requirement
A comprehensive examination or a thesis or project as described later in this chapter.
Completion of Program
Completion of a master’s degree requires:
- completion of the final approved study plan and any special department/division/school requirements and
- passing of a comprehensive examination within the number of attempts allowed by the department/division/school and college, or filing of a thesis or project report approved by the candidate’s thesis/project committee and cleared by the Library.
No subject, unit, or grade credit will be granted for any course completed more than seven years before the date of completion of the master’s degree. In extraordinary circumstances, students may petition for, and the college may grant, permission to validate such an expired course by an examination given by, and with the concurrence of, the department/division/school that offers the course. An expired course taken at another institution may not be validated by examination.
Recommendation for the degree by the faculty.
As the first step of registration, all students must obtain department/division/school approval of the courses selected for their study plan for each quarter. To assist in the initial advisement and course selection process, newly admitted students must bring a personal copy of their college transcripts.
Prior to or early in their first quarter, students should make an appointment with a graduate faculty adviser to develop a complete study plan for the degree. The approved master’s degree study plan becomes the basis for evaluating the student’s eligibility for receiving the degree. Changes in the study plan may be made only with the approval of the student’s academic adviser and college graduate dean.
Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)
(Postbaccalaureate Writing Proficiency Requirement)
All CSU students must demonstrate competence in writing skills as a requirement for graduation. All Cal State L.A. postbaccalaureate and graduate students who entered Cal State L.A. summer 1984 or later and who are pursuing a graduate degree or a credential are required to satisfy this requirement in one of the following ways:
- Pass the Writing Proficiency Examination (WPE) required for the Cal State L.A. baccalaureate. Postbaccalaureate students who select this option must register for the WPE (listed as UNIV 400 in the Schedule of Classes) no later than the add deadline for the third quarter they are enrolled in a graduate or credential program. Failure to register for the WPE will void enrollment for that quarter; or
- Postbaccalaureate students who hold an earned doctorate or masters degree from an accredited college or university where the primary language of instruction is English may substitute such a degree for passing the WPE; or
- Postbaccalaureate students who have passed a writing proficiency examination or a graduation writing assessment examination in English at any accredited college or university where the primary language of instruction is English may petition to substitute such a result for passing the WPE at Cal State L.A.
Students who receive a No Credit (NC) grade on the WPE must meet with a WPE consultant in the University Writing Center to discuss deficiencies identified by the exam and receive recommendations of activities to correct these deficiencies. Based on the recommendations from the WPE consultant, students may retake the WPE or enroll in UNIV 401, the upper division writing proficiency course.
Postbaccalaureate students in the Charter College of Education and the College of Health and Human Services may satisfy the GWAR with a score of 41 or better on the writing portion of the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST). Students in these colleges must submit the original CBEST score reports to their graduate dean’s office for processing.
Postbaccalaureate students must satisfy this postbaccalaureate requirement within the first three quarters of their graduate (conditionally classified or classified) or credential program or before the completion of 16 units, whichever comes later. Students must satisfy this postbaccalaureate writing requirement within the required time to be eligible for continued registration.
Departments and divisions may require of their majors additional discipline-based course work in writing. See a faculty 1adviser about major department/division/school requirements.
Petitions for certification of the postbaccalaureate writing requirement shall be made at the college level and results reported to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. A student who has satisfied the postbaccalaureate writing requirement shall continue to be certified with no time limit on such certification.
Postbaccalaureate unclassified students are not required to satisfy this postbaccalaureate writing requirement.
Credit for Transfer Work
To receive credit toward a master’s degree for acceptable postbaccalaureate work taken at other colleges and universities, students must have official transcripts forwarded to the Admissions Office and must file a “Request for Records” (Form GS-1A) with their major department/division/school. Cal State L.A. will allow credit for work taken at another college or university only when it appears on the student’s official transcript from that institution, is acceptable for master’s degree credit at the offering institution, and is deemed appropriate to the student’s master’s degree program by the major department/division/school at Cal State L.A. The following limitations and exclusions apply:
- For master’s degrees that require 45 total units, no more than 13 quarter units of acceptable transfer, extension and/or special session courses may be included on a master’s degree study plan. For master’s degrees that require more than 45 quarter units, up to 30% of the total required units may consist of acceptable transfer, extension, and/or special session courses, if approved by the appropriate graduate/departmental adviser.
- No master’s degree credit is allowed for directed teaching, 700- or 800-level courses, courses numbered below 400, and courses taken at another accredited institution that would not be accepted toward a master’s degree at that institution.
- Nine quarter units of 500-level or other graduate courses taken through extension are eligible for master’s degree credit.
Work Taken before Approval of Program
No more than 13 quarter units of acceptable course work completed before approval by the principal graduate adviser, major department/division/school, and college graduate dean may be included on a master’s degree study plan. This includes acceptable transfer work. Credit for thesis (i.e., 599), research (i.e., 597), and comprehensive examinations (i.e., 596) is not transferable. All other course work included on the master’s degree study plan must be completed after approval by the principal graduate adviser, major department/division/school, and college graduate dean. This policy shall not apply to students admitted to a master’s degree program offered jointly with other educational institutions.
Credit for Extension Courses
No graduate credit will be allowed for extension courses that would not be accepted toward a master’s degree at the offering institution (e.g., University of California extension courses in the X300 or X400 series) unless specifically approved in advance by the major department/division/school and college concerned.
Classified Graduate Standing
Requirements for Classified Graduate Standing
Once an applicant has been admitted to a graduate degree program the minimum University requirements for admission to classified graduate standing are as follows:
- Certification by the major department/division/school to the college graduate dean that all department/division/school admission requirements, procedures, and prerequisites have been completed.
- Filing of a master’s degree study plan with the college graduate dean during the student’s first quarter of graduate enrollment at Cal State L.A. The study plan must be approved by the principal graduate adviser and the major department/division/school. Any change in the study plan must be approved by the principal graduate adviser, the major department/division/school, and the college graduate dean before the completed courses are affected by the change. This includes courses in which a grade of Incomplete is received. Courses in which a grade of C- or lower was earned may not be removed from a Study Plan and these courses must be repeated with both grades contributing to the graduate point average.
Special Action Admission Students
Except for those who hold an advanced degree from an accredited institution, all students admitted by special action must complete a minimum of 14 quarter units of upper division qualifying courses on a formally approved master’s degree study plan with a minimum B (3.0) grade point average with the following conditions:
- The principal graduate adviser, major department/division/school, and college graduate dean must approve qualifying courses before the student completes them. Courses graded CR/NC may not be used on the qualifying study plan.
- Upon recommendation of the principal graduate adviser and the major department/division/school, and with the approval of the college graduate dean, qualifying courses may be waived for students whose postbaccalaureate work demonstrates promise of the scholarly ability required for graduate study. To be eligible for recommendation of such a waiver, a student must have completed, with a minimum B (3.0) overall grade point average, 14 or more quarter units of upper division or graduate level postbaccalaureate work at an accredited institution that is acceptable toward a master’s degree at that institution.
- Failure to achieve a B (3.0) grade point average in qualifying courses will result in the student’s termination in the degree program.
Other Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Regulations
Admission to 500-Level Courses
Students admitted with postbaccalaureate classified, graduate classified, or graduate conditionally classified standing may enroll in 500-level courses. The following exceptions and restrictions apply:
- Postbaccalaureate unclassified students may register for 500-level courses if the department/division/school chair or director determines that space is available. These students must satisfy all prerequisites for the course and obtain the approval of the instructor, the principal graduate adviser, and the chair of the department/division/school that offers the course.
- Undergraduate students may, with prior approval and subject to policies governing graduate credit for undergraduate students, enroll in up to 13 units of 400 and 500-level coursework. See section on Graduate Credit for Undergraduate Students in this Catalog.
- Matriculated Cal State L.A. students may not enroll in Open University courses. Students who are not matriculated at Cal State L.A. may enroll in 500-level courses through the Open University (concurrent enrollment) Program administered by the College of Extended Studies and International Programs. These students must satisfy all prerequisites for the course and obtain the approval of the instructor and the chair of the department/division/school that offers the course.
- Colleges and departments/divisions may impose additional restrictions. For all programs, students may complete no more than 20% of their total units at the 500 level before their principal graduate adviser, major department/division/school, and college graduate dean have formally approved their official master’s degree study plan. In addition, all such students must either have completed the prerequisites for the course or demonstrated equivalent competency.
Enrollment in Degree Credit-Granting Classes through the College of Extended Studies and International Programs
Students who are matriculated at the University in continuing status may enroll in, and earn residence credit for, courses that are offered through the College of Extended Studies and International Programs in self-support special sessions. Any course or program offered in special sessions must, each time that it is offered, have the approval of the appropriate college dean and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Matriculated students at the University in continuing status may not enroll in degree credit-granting classes offered under state support and made available to students by the College of Extended Studies and International Programs through Open University.
Courses Completed in Undergraduate Standing
Students can include no courses taken as an undergraduate on a master’s degree program except as specifically provided for baccalaureate candidates in their final quarter of undergraduate study.
No credit toward a master’s degree is allowed for course work taken to meet necessary undergraduate preparation for a master’s degree program.
A course may not be added to or deleted from a master’s degree study plan after it has been taken. Any change in the master’s degree study plan must be approved in advance by the principal graduate adviser, major department/division/school, and college graduate dean. When such a change has been approved, it becomes part of the master’s degree study plan.
Program Change Limitation
No more than nine quarter units beyond the total number of units approved at the time a student achieves classified graduate standing may be added to a student’s master’s degree program.
Course Prerequisites and Corequisites
Students are responsible for fulfilling prerequisites and corequisites. The instructor and department/division/school have the authority to waive specific prerequisites and corequisites for students who have completed equivalent courses at another institution, who have had equivalent experience (such as work experience), or who possess the needed skills to proceed with the work of the course. Students should consult the instructor before registering to determine whether the course(s) or experience will justify waiver of the stated prerequisite(s) and/or corequisite(s).
All qualifying courses that are otherwise eligible may be included in a master’s degree study plan if recommended by the principal graduate adviser and major department/division/school and approved by the college graduate dean. Students must obtain approval to include qualifying courses on the master’s degree study plan before they complete the courses.
Student Use of Human Subjects or Animals
Students, like all others in the University community, must follow established University and federal guidelines when using human subjects or animals either in research or as part of a course activity. Prior approval by the relevant campus committee must be obtained when necessary. For further information, contact the Office of Research and Development, (323) 343-3978, or visit the Website at www.calstatela.edu/academic/aa/orad/.
Graduate Grading System and Scholastic Status
NOTE: For an explanation of the grading system for graduate and postbaccalaureate students, see the charts labeled Explanation of Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Grades in the Grading System section of the Procedures and Regulations chapter of this catalog. For an explanation of the regulations about probation and disqualification, see the Scholastic Status of Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Students section in the same chapter.
Advancement to Candidacy to Undertake Culminating Experience
Advancement to candidacy is a part of the continuing process of review of the student’s progress and is not automatic. It is granted by the college graduate dean upon completion of the requirements listed below and upon the recommendation of the major department/division/school. It is the University prerequisite to enrolling for the thesis, project, and comprehensive examination; individual departments/divisions and colleges may have additional requirements.
Advancement to candidacy requires:
- Satisfaction of Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement.
- Classified graduate standing.
- An approved master’s degree study plan on file in the college graduate studies office.
- Completion of a minimum of 16 quarter units of the master’s degree study plan with an overall B (3.0) grade point average or higher.
- Recommendation of the major department/division/school.
- Approval of the college graduate dean.
Only students who are advanced to candidacy are eligible to enroll for comprehensive examinations (course #596 in their major discipline) or for thesis or project units (course #599 in their discipline).
Culminating Experience: Exam, Thesis, or Project
Each program that offers the comprehensive examination for the master’s degree shall implement and maintain in writing explicit guidelines that address both content and procedures relating to the examination. All comprehensive examinations must conform to the following requirement of Title 5, i.e., ‘’A comprehensive examination is an assessment of the student’s ability to integrate the knowledge of the area, show critical and independent thinking, and demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. The results of the examination provide evidence of independent thinking, appropriate organization, critical analysis, and accuracy of documentation. A record of the examination questions and responses shall be maintained in accordance with the records retention policy of The California State University.’’
Students must fulfill all department/division/school requirements for the written and/or oral comprehensive examinations. Such requirements include, but are not limited to, the date and time for the comprehensive examinations, length of testing, topics covered, and number of questions for the comprehensive examinations.
Students whose program requires a comprehensive examination must declare to their major department/division/school, at least one quarter in advance, their intent to take it, obtain department/division/school permission, and register for the comprehensive examination that carries the course number 596 in their major discipline. Students who are not enrolled in any credit-bearing course during the quarter in which they take the comprehensive examination must pay the comprehensive examination fee. Students who elect comprehensive examination options are not permitted to enroll in UNIV 900. Payment of State University, student services, facilities, and Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) fees, or any tuition charges, is not required.
Students should expect to take their comprehensive examinations during the quarter in which they complete all course work on their program or shortly thereafter. Those who do not pass the comprehensive examinations must fulfill any department, division, and/or college requirements for subsequent enrollments in these examinations.
Thesis and Project Requirements
Students who choose to write a thesis or project as their master’s degree culminating experience should consult the “Guide to Preparation of Master’s Theses and Project Reports,” copies of which are available at www.calstatela.edu/library/guides/thesbk.htm. It provides information about the following: procedures, regulations, and responsibilities governing the master’s thesis or project; general requirements for thesis preparation and acceptance; format requirements for the thesis; and special instructions for projects and project reports. In addition, students must obtain specific department/division/school requirements from their adviser.
Graduate students who complete research units (597) and thesis or project units (599) required for master’s degrees must be regularly enrolled during any quarter in which they use University facilities or consult with faculty. Students must also be enrolled during the quarter they submit their thesis or project to the library and graduate.
Students who have exceeded the one calendar year time limitation associated with the SP grading symbol for research units (597) must petition to register in UNIV 900. Petition forms and instructions are available in college graduate studies offices.
Students who have previously enrolled in all allowable research units (597) and are not enrolled in any other credit-bearing courses or thesis or project units (599) but who will use University facilities or consult with faculty must register in UNIV 900.
To maintain residence requirements and continuing student registration privileges, graduate students who are not enrolled in credit-bearing course work must register for UNIV 900 two quarters out of four.
Once officially accepted and processed, master’s theses and projects are made available to the public through the Library.
Application for Graduation (Degree Check)
Application for graduation (degree check) is made on a form that is available on the Graduation Office website at www.calstatela.edu/academic/registrar/grad_off.htm, in academic department/division/school offices and college-based advisement centers, or in Administration 146 beginning five days prior to the application filing period. Candidates must be granted permission to apply for graduation by their major department/division/school or college-based advisement center before they may submit the completed application and required fee to the Cashiers’ Office for fee payment.
Students are required to file an application by the deadline announced in the Schedule of Classes. Students who are enrolled the quarter they expect to graduate but do not meet the degree requirements will have their graduation application transferred to the next quarter. Students who do not complete requirements for the stated quarter must file a new application by the deadline announced in the Schedule of Classes. More information appears in the Undergraduate Study chapter of this catalog.
Students will be granted no subject, unit, or grade credit for any course work they completed more than seven years before the date of issuance of their master’s degree. Refer to Time Limitation under the heading Minimum University Requirements earlier in this chapter.
Commencement Exercises are held annually at the end of the spring quarter. Students who have completed degree requirements the previous fall, winter, spring or summer are eligible to participate in the ceremony along with those who will complete their work in the summer quarter. Information bulletins about commencement activities are mailed to the home address of those eligible to participate early in the spring and are available on campus in college, department/division/school offices and Enrollment Services, Administration 146.
During Commencement Exercises, the President of the University confers degrees on the candidates. Although each candidate receives a diploma cover during the program, the actual diploma is sent several months later. Within a few weeks after graduation, eligible candidates receive a letter of congratulations in the mail, and degrees are posted on their permanent academic record.
Requirements for Additional Master’s Degrees or for an Additional Option within a Master’s Degree
Students may work simultaneously on two master’s degrees. Both degrees may be listed on the same diploma if the requirements for both degrees are completed in the same quarter. Degrees completed in different quarters will be listed on separate diplomas.
Students who have earned a master’s degree at Cal State L.A. and wish to obtain a subsequent master’s degree or to add an additional option to a previously-completed master’s degree from this University must complete an approved study plan of at least 45 quarter units. At least half of the units must be new work not included on the previous degree or option. The remainder can be from the previous degree provided that the courses have been completed within seven years of the award date of the degree and are otherwise eligible for inclusion.
Students who are currently enrolled in a master’s degree program at Cal State L.A. may concurrently complete an additional option under the same degree if the department/division/school and college concerned verify that the additional option requires significantly different knowledge, skill, and course work. The additional option must include a minimum of 23 quarter units of course work that is specific to the option (not included in the previous option) and an appropriate culminating experience (thesis/project or comprehensive examination). An approved study plan for each option is required.
Students who have earned a master’s degree at an institution other than Cal State L.A. may petition to apply for an identical degree at Cal State L.A. Students must provide extraordinary justification and receive approval of the department/division/school and college concerned before they may enter the program.