Policies and Procedures

Academic Standards

Grade Point Average Requirements

A grade-point average (grade points divided by units attempted) of at least 3.0 is required for graduation with a master's degree. This grade-point average applies to:

  • All 400- and 500-level units attempted subsequent to admission to a degree program and
  • All units required on the student's graduate Study Plan including transfer courses. Each course on the Study Plan must be completed with a grade of "C" (2.0) or better.

A degree student may request a change in the Study Plan in order to raise the Study Plan grade-point average by:

  • Adding no more than six units of approved course work, or
  • Repeating no more than six units of course work in which a "C" (2.0) or lower was earned, or
  • A combination of 1. and 2. not to exceed six units.

Requests to add courses to the Study Plan, repeat courses, or add courses to raise the overall grade-point average, must be approved by the graduate program adviser and the Associate Vice President, Academic Programs (or designee) prior to registration.

When a course is added or repeated, the original course remains on the Study Plan and on the student's transcript and both grades are used in calculating the student's grade-point average. A grade-point average of at least 2.5 is required for continuing status as a credential, certificate or undeclared postbaccalaureate student.

Repeated Courses

If a grade less than "C" (2.0) is received in a Study Plan course, the course must be repeated and passed with a grade of "C" (2.0) or better. A course may be repeated only once. If a course is repeated, both grades are included when computing the student's Study Plan and cumulative Cal State Fullerton grade-point average. Repetition of a course carries no additional unit credit toward the degree; however, the additional units are included in the cumulative units shown on the Cal State Fullerton transcript.

In extenuating circumstances, the student may petition the associate vice president, Academic Programs (or designee) to add another course to the approved program with the unit value equivalent to that of the course in which the unsatisfactory grade was received.

Successful repetition of a course originally passed carries no additional unit credit toward a degree.

Probation

A graduate student enrolled in a graduate degree program will be placed on academic probation if either the cumulative graduate or the Study Plan grade-point average falls below 3.0. A graduate student may also be placed on probation for reasons other than cumulative graduate and/or Study Plan grade-point average. This is known as administrative-academic probation . The reasons for this may include repeated withdrawal, failure to progress toward an educational objective, non-compliance with an academic requirement, failure to demonstrate a level of professional competence or fitness commensurate with the standards of the student's discipline, or inappropriate behavior as defined in the Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities PDF File Opens in new window , and in the Academic Dishonesty sections of University Regulations.

Master's degree students will be allowed two semesters on academic probation before being subject to disqualification. Ed.D students may not have a grade point average below 3.0 in two successive terms. The Ed.D student will be placed on probation the first term in which their grade point average drops below 3.0; a grade point average below 3.0 in the next term is grounds for disqualification from the Ed.D program. Students will remain on administrative-academic probation contingent upon conditions required for their continuing in the program. The Graduate Studies Office maintains a list of students on probation and subject to disqualification.

Click on the link to watch a tutorial What To Do When On Probation Opens in new window .

Disqualification

The associate vice president, Academic Programs (or designee), in consultation with the student's graduate program adviser, will disqualify a graduate student who is on probation if the student does not, or cannot, raise the Study Plan and cumulative graduate grade-point average to 3.0 by the completion of the second regular semester following the semester in which the grade-point average fell below the minimum 3.0 standard. If a student's grade-point average becomes so low that it cannot be raised to 3.0 within the prescribed limits of course work, the student will be disqualified from the master's degree program.

Students placed on probation for reasons other than grade-point average will be disqualified if:

  • The conditions for removal of administrative-academic probation are not met within the period specified.
  • The student becomes subject to academic probation while on administrative-academic probation.
  • The student is removed from administrative-academic probation and subsequently becomes subject to administrative-academic probation for the same or similar reasons as originally placed on probation.

Disqualification removes a student from graduate standing and prevents further enrollment in university courses (except through University Extended Education). A student who has been disqualified from a master's degree program may not apply for readmission to that program. However, a student who has been disqualified from one degree program may apply for readmission to a different degree program. A readmitted student must file a new Study Plan that meets current requirements and policies. Any disqualified student who wishes to use previous course work must have it approved by the associate vice president, Academic Programs (or designee). Appeals related to graduate degree probation or disqualification should first be directed to the departmental graduate program adviser. Please contact the Graduate Studies Office for further information and procedures.

Probation and Disqualification for Credential, Unclassified or Undeclared Postbaccalaureate Students

A postbaccalaureate student (credential, unclassified or undeclared status) will be subject to academic probation if after completing 12 or more units, the cumulative grade point average falls below a 2.5 average. A postbaccalaureate student (i.e., credential or certificate objective) on probation will be subject to disqualification if the cumulative grade-point average is not raised to 2.5 the semester after being placed on probation.

Student Responsibility

Each student has a responsibility to understand and apply the information contained within the University Catalog Opens in new window . This includes following all processes and policies contained in this chapter on “Graduate Regulations.” For example, key policies include (but are not limited to) making certain that you are properly admitted to the degree program, meet or complete all academic prerequisites and grading standards, file an official Study Plan in a timely manner, meet the program requirements of the specific degree you are seeking, and apply for graduation according to the dates published in each semester's Class Schedule.

Failure to submit forms on time may result in the delay of your graduation. In order to be eligible to register and eventually to graduate with a degree, a student must maintain continuous enrollment status until the award of the degree (see “Continuous Enrollment”).

All master's students must apply for graduation through the Student Center in Titan Online and pay SFS a graduation processing and diploma fee of $115. How to apply for a grad check.

If you need to change your projected date of graduation, you must inform the Graduate Studies Office as soon as possible by filing a Change of Graduation Date form and paying a $10 fee to the university cashier.

Graduate Studies Enrollment Policies

Continuous Enrollment Requirement

A graduate degree student is required to maintain continuous enrollment in every fall and spring semester from the beginning of the program of study until award of the degree. This policy is designed to eliminate the need for readmission to the university, provide opportunity for continuous use of facilities, including the library, and assure the development of an integrated program, which is adequately supervised and effectively completed within the time limitations allowed by regulations.

Unless granted an approved leave of absence, a graduate student who fails to register each semester has discontinued enrollment in the graduate degree program. In order to resume study, the student needs to reapply for admission to the university and to the degree program and meet any changed or additional requirements approved in the interim.

Students who may have completed all course work, but who may not have satisfactorily completed a comprehensive examination or other requirement, are expected to maintain continuous enrollment until award of the degree.

A graduate student who finds it impossible to attend during a certain semester and is not eligible for a leave of absence must register in Graduate Studies 700. Registration in this course is restricted to conditionally classified or classified graduate students. It carries no unit credit and does not require class attendance. Registration in this course in each semester when no other course work is taken will be necessary until award of the degree.

Similarly, Credential Studies 701 is available for students with a credential-only objective who find it impossible to enroll in course work and are not eligible for a leave of absence.

Leave of Absence

Graduate degree or credential students may request a leave of absence for up to one year. Conditionally classified or classified graduate students qualify for a leave if they are in good academic standing and have completed at least six credit hours' work toward the degree in residence at Cal State Fullerton. Students with a credential-only objective qualify if they have completed at least one semester of course work in good academic standing. Forms to request a leave of absence are available at the Admissions and Records Service Center , in the Graduate Studies Office, and on the Graduate Studies website. Students are encouraged to submit requests for leave of absence prior to the start of the semester for which they are requesting a leave.

Any one of the following circumstances may be grounds for requesting a leave of absence:

  • Illness or disability (permanent or temporary) or similar personal exigencies including pregnancy which make it impossible or inadvisable for a student to register for classes.
  • Activities that enhance a student's professional career objectives.
  • Active duty in the armed forces of the United States.
  • Other reasons at the discretion of the associate vice president, Academic Programs.

After review by the Graduate Studies Office, the academic unit (where applicable), and the Registrar's Office, a response is mailed to the student.

A first-time leave of absence of one semester only will normally be granted upon request for students who qualify and will not require an application for readmission to the university. Registration materials for the semester following the leave will be sent to the student.

Students requesting a subsequent leave or a leave longer than one semester are required to provide appropriate documentation (e.g., doctor's recommendation, verification of employment). Such requests must also be endorsed by the graduate program adviser.

A leave granted to a degree objective student preserves the election of curriculum rights regarding catalog requirements. However, leaves of absence do not change the time limit for completion of the degree. For credential students, a leave granted by the university does not exempt them from new requirements imposed by the State regardless of the catalog year and also does not extend time limitations imposed by the State for completing specific teaching credential requirements.

The leave of absence request form can be found on the Graduate Forms.

Transfer Credit

Graduate students may request to apply a limited amount of transfer course work towards unit requirements for a master's degree. The use of transfer course work on a student's study plan is subject to the following provisions:

  • Each course being transferred must:
    1. have been taken at an accredited college or university.
    2. be acceptable for credit toward a graduate degree at the institution where the course work was taken.
    3. have been completed with a grade of "B" (3.0) or better.
    4. not have been used in meeting the requirements for another earned degree (either graduate or undergraduate).
    5. have been completed within the student's five-year time period which is required for completion of the requirements for the master's degree at CSUF.
  • An absolute minimum of 21 semester units toward any master's degree at CSUF must be in residence units. For master's degrees requiring more than 42 semester units, a minimum of half of the units used on the student's Study Plan must be in residence units. Residence units are granted for courses taken at the university during regular sessions of fall and spring and any special session.
  • Use of transfer work on a student's Study Plan is subject to all other policies concerning Study Plan course work; e.g., 50 percent must be graduate-level work, no correspondence course work, no credit by examination, no courses with nontraditional grades.
  • In all cases, the use of transfer course work on a student's Study Plan is subject to the acceptance and approval of the academic unit's graduate program adviser and the associate vice president, Academic Programs (or designee). Course work taken at another institution after admission to CSUF as a graduate student is rarely accepted for credit toward a master's degree and can only be accepted if the student has received prior approval of the graduate program adviser and the associate vice president, Academic Programs (or designee).
  • All approved transfer units and grade points will be entered on the CSUF transcript at graduation.
  • A unit of course work taken at a college or university on the quarter system will be considered as equivalent to two-thirds of a unit when such course work is considered acceptable as transfer work.

Degree Posting Timeline

Degree Posting and Diplomas

DEGREE POSTING (8-10 WEEKS)

All graduate students must apply for a graduation check prior to the beginning of his/her final semester. Specific deadlines are listed in the current Registration Guide and are also posted under the Important Dates and Deadlines page on the Graduate Studies website.

Applying for a grad check is completed through the Student Center in Titan Online. A graduation processing and diploma fee of $115 will need to be paid with the application for graduation (within 5 days after applying), either online or at Student Financial Services (UH-180). For detailed instructions check how to apply for a grad check.

Posting of degrees is completed within 8-10 weeks after final grades have posted for the semester. During this time, our Graduate Evaluators will be checking each student's Advancement to Candidacy file to make sure they have completed all requirements for the degree.

Once the degree has been posted, official transcripts can be ordered from the Admissions & Records Office. Forms are available at the Admissions and Records Information Counter (LH-114) or you may print out the request form.

Tip: It is recommended that students ordering official transcripts during the degree posting period check the request form option that reads “Hold for Degree Posting” so that transcripts are mailed out until the degree has been posted.

Please note that the degree posting process is separate from participation in the commencement ceremonies. Participating in the commencement ceremonies does not guarantee the degree posting. Please see the commencement website for detailed, updated information about the graduation ceremonies.

DIPLOMAS (4 MONTHS)

Diplomas, considered the ceremonial document, are mailed to students approximately 4 months after the last day of the semester.

Changes to Graduation Date

Any change to your graduation date requires that you file a Request for Change of Graduation Date form. This form is available at the Graduate Studies Office (MH-112). A $10 fee will be charged for changing the graduation date.

General Study Plan Regulations

Study Plan Requirements (Master's Degree, Ed.D, and DNP)

A Study Plan must be filed with the Graduate Studies Office before thirteen units of Study Plan coursework have been completed.
General requirements for all master's degree study plans include the following:

  1. A minimum of 30 approved semester units. Some programs require more.
  2. At least 21 semester units must be taken in residence. For programs requiring 42 or more units, at least half the units must be taken in residence. Transfer credits and Cal State Fullerton extension credits are not residence units.
  3. Only 400- or 500-level courses may be used on graduate Study Plans. A graduate student enrolled in a 400-level course will be required to complete additional assignments as determined by the instructor. University policy does not allow 300-level courses on graduate study plans.
  4. Normally 70 percent of all study plan courses will be at the 500-level. However, with prior approval, upon the recommendation of the Graduate Education Committee, programs may permit students to include up to 50 percent of course work at the 400-level.
  5. No more than nine units of post baccalaureate work taken at Cal State Fullerton prior to admission to an approved graduate program.
  6. No more than six semester units for a thesis, if a thesis is required.
  7. Maximum of six units of independent study.
  8. No courses taken to satisfy prerequisite requirements.
  9. None of the following: correspondence courses, credit by examination, or similar.
  10. No courses with nontraditional grades (e.g., CR, S, P).
  11. Each course on the study plan must be completed with a grade of "C" (2.0) or better.
  12. A minimum grade-point average of 3.0 ("B") in all courses attempted to satisfy requirements for the degree.
  13. Completion of all study plan courses within five years or seven years with approved extension. The time limit starts with the earliest course on the study plan.
  14. All courses taken after the baccalaureate (or post baccalaureate credit granted).
  15. No courses credited toward another degree.
  16. A final evaluation, which may be a thesis, a project, a comprehensive examination, or any combination of these.

General requirements for all Study Plans for the Ed.D. include the following:

  1. a minimum of 60 approved semester units;
  2. at least 48 units must be taken in residence (transfer credits and Cal State Fullerton extension credits are not residence units);
  3. only 600-level courses may be used on the Study Plan;
  4. no more than 12 semester units shall be allowed for a dissertation;
  5. maximum of six semester units of independent study;
  6. no courses taken to satisfy prerequisite requirements;
  7. no correspondence courses and/or credit by examination;
  8. no courses with non-traditional grades (e.g., CR, S, P, AU) unless the course has been approved for such grading;
  9. each course on the Study Plan must be completed with a grade of B- or better;
  10. a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 (B) in all courses attempted to satisfy requirements for the degree;
  11. completion of all Study Plan courses within 10 consecutive semesters (five years) or 14 consecutive semesters (seven years) with approved extension (the time limit starts with the earliest course listed on the Study Plan);
  12. no courses credited toward another degree; and
  13. a dissertation as a final evaluation.

General requirements for all Study Plans for the DNP include the following:

  1. from 36 to 48 approved semester units, with 36 being the minimum. For the Nurse Anesthesia concentration, 110 units are required;
  2. at least 30 units must be taken in residence. For the Nurse Anesthesia concentration, at least 88 units must be taken in residence (transfer credits and Cal State Fullerton extension credits are not residence units);
  3. only 500- or 600-level courses may be used on the Study Plan;
  4. no more than nine semester units shall be used for the doctoral project;
  5. maximum of six semester units of independent study;
  6. no courses taken to satisfy prerequisite requirements;
  7. no correspondence courses and/or credit by examination;
  8. no courses with non-traditional grades (e.g., CR, S, P, AU) unless the course has been approved for such grading;
  9. each course on the Study Plan must be completed with a grade of B- (2.7) or higher. A higher minimum grade may be required for some specific courses. For the Nurse Anesthesia concentration, all Study Plan courses must be completed with a  grade of B (3.0) or higher;
  10. a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 (B) in all courses attempted to satisfy requirements for the degree;
  11. completion of all Study Plan courses within 10 consecutive semesters (five years) or 14 consecutive semesters (seven years) with approved extension (the limit starts with the earliest course listed on the Study Plan);
  12. no courses credited toward another degree; and
  13. a doctoral project as final evaluation.

The approved Study Plan is valid as long as the student maintains continuous enrollment in regular semesters at the university; otherwise it is necessary to reapply and meet any changed or additional requirements approved in the interim.

Culminating Experience Guidelines

Each master's program includes a final evaluation (culminating experience) that marks the end of the graduate program. A thesis, a project, a comprehensive examination, or any combination of these is required of all students. An oral presentation is strongly encouraged.

Through culminating experiences, individual students demonstrate mastery of disciplinary materials. Because these demonstrations of mastery are specific to individual students, theses, projects, performances, exhibitions, and comprehensive examinations shall be composed of individual student work, unless more than one culminating experience is required in the program.

Individual student work shall include exhibitions in which individual work is clearly identified but displayed alongside the work of others. Individual student work shall also include accompanied artistic performances, or performances rendered in ensemble, in which individual student performances are clearly identifiable. In programs that require more than one culminating experience, at least one culminating experience must be based on individual student work.

Students whose programs require a culminating experience that is undertaken in groups (e.g., for the M.B.A.) shall receive an individual assessment based on a component of the work identifiable as authored or created by each individual student.

Election of Curriculum

A student remaining in continuous attendance in regular semesters and continuing in the same curriculum may elect to meet the degree requirements in effect either at the time of entering the curriculum or at the time of completion of degree requirements, except that substitution for discontinued courses may be approved by the graduate program adviser.

Changes In Study Plan

If a classified graduate student needs to make a change in the approved study plan, a request should be made to the student's departmental graduate program adviser. Requests must be made prior to registration for any course work to be substituted or added. No course may be removed from the study plan after a student has taken it. Forms which may be used to file a request for change in study plan are available from graduate program advisers, in the Graduate Studies Office, or on the Graduate Studies website.

Changes in study plan may also be required because of outdated course work or grade-point average deficiencies
("Time Limit for Completion" and "Graduate Academic Standards").

Other Requirements

University Writing Requirements

Students working toward a master's degree are required to demonstrate writing ability commensurate with the baccalaureate degree. This requirement should be met by successfully completing one of the following:

  1. By having passed the upper-division writing requirement at any CSU campus.
  2. By having passed with a grade of C (2.0) or better an upper-division writing course at another university equivalent to a course, which meets the CSUF requirement.  Such equivalence must be certified by the department or program responsible for the student’s academic work.
  3. By passing with a grade of C (2.0) or better an upper-division course approved by the University Board on Writing Proficiency or graduate-level course or courses certified by the University Graduate Education Committee as meeting the writing requirement and approved by the department or program responsible for the student’s academic work.
  4. By scoring a minimum of 4.0 on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Writing Assessment Test.
  5. By scoring a minimum of 4.0 pm the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) Analytical Writing Assessment.

For further information, students should consult their department Graduate Program Advisers.

All University Writing Requirement information can be found on the University Policy Statement (UPS) 320.020 on the Academic Senate website Opens in new window .

Time Limit for Completion

All requirements for the master's degree, including all course work on the student's study plan, normally should be completed within five years. This time limit begins with the semester of the earliest course used on the student's study plan and consists of a total of ten (10) consecutive semesters. When individual circumstances warrant, this time limit may be extended for up to two years (four additional consecutive semesters).

A student may request an extension of the five-year time limit by filing a Time Limit Extension petition with the Graduate Studies Office. The petition must contain a full explanation of the circumstances that prevented completion of the degree requirements within the normal five-year limit and must be approved (signed) by the graduate program adviser, the chair of the appropriate graduate committee and the director of Graduate Studies. Approvals for extension must be obtained prior to the expiration of the five-year limit. The Time Limit Extension Petition.

OUTDATED COURSES

Outdated course work (course work older than the student's approved time limit; i.e., five or seven years) should be repeated. However, a maximum of nine (9) units of course work may be exempt from repetition if course content can be validated. Validation is allowed at the discretion of the graduate program adviser, the academic unit offering the subject course, and the associate vice president, . Copies of the “Petition for Validating Outdated Course Work” may be obtained from the Graduate Studies Office or Online.

Validation must be accomplished by passing a written comprehensive test of the materials covered by the course being validated or by some equivalent method with prior approval of both the graduate program adviser and the associate vice president, Academic Programs. Courses completed more than ten years prior to completion of requirements for the degree are not eligible for validation. Any outdated course work that cannot be validated either because of a denial of the petition or because it is in excess of the nine units allowed for validation, must be repeated or updated through enrollment in additional Study Plan course work. If course work is repeated or additional course work is required to update, those units and grades will be added to the Study Plan.

Outdated transfer course work cannot be validated.

Advisers and Committees

University policy provides that each student's program for the master's degree shall be under the guidance of an adviser and for some programs, a committee as well.

A graduate program adviser is designated in each department or program to give overall supervision for the graduate program. In some departments, the graduate program adviser also serves as the individual student's adviser. Policies and procedures related to graduate committees are available in the Graduate Studies Office.

It is the responsibility of the student to arrange appointments for advisement and other information in the office of the academic unit offering the degree program. As a minimum, the student should obtain advisement (1) either prior to or during the first semester of attendance, (2) when requesting classified standing, and (3) when applying for a graduation check prior to the final semester.

It is advisable for the student to maintain a personal file of transcripts and other evidences of grades and achievements, and to have these documents available whenever seeking advisement.

List of current Graduate Program Advisers.

Candidacy and Graduation

A student who has been granted classified standing is advanced to candidacy after a request is filed for graduation by the student and an affirmative recommendation is made by the graduate program adviser. An overall minimum grade-point average of 3.0 (B) and a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 for all study plan course work is required. Other scholastic, professional and personal standards, the passing of examinations, and other qualifications, may be required.

Graduation check filing instructions

Completion of Requirements and Award of Degree Deadlines

All course work for the degree, except final course examinations, should be submitted by the last day of classes, in order to assure granting of the degree by the end of the semester or session.

The degree is awarded upon the satisfactory completion of all state and university requirements, as well as the specific requirements approved on the student's graduate study plan. Award of the degree also requires the recommendation of the appropriate graduate program adviser and committee (advancement to candidacy), the approval of the faculty, and approval of the associate vice president, (or designee).

If a thesis is required, it must be deposited in the campus bookstore according to instructions shown under "Thesis and Dissertation Information" no later than the last day of final examinations for the semester or session in which the degree is to be awarded.

APPLYING FOR GRADUATION

Students must file an application for a graduation check and pay the $115.00 graduation and diploma fee prior to the beginning of the final semester.  Detailed instructions on how to apply for a grad check.

The last date to file the application is listed in the front inside cover of the Class Schedule for each regular semester and is posted on the Graduate Studies website. Candidates for summer (August) graduation must file their requests prior to registration for the spring semester. Students completing requirements during the summer must also obtain departmental approval prior to the summer term by filing a Petition for Summer Completion. The form is available in the Graduate Studies Office. The approved form must be returned to Graduate Studies during the spring semester.

Students who fail to complete requirements as planned must update the application for a graduation check and do so by the appropriate deadline. A fee of $10.00 is required to change the graduation date. Forms for applying for graduation and changing the graduation date are available at the Admissions and Records Service Center and the Graduate Studies Office.

GRADUATION AND COMMENCEMENT

The effective date of graduation will be the last day of the specific term in which requirements are completed.

Commencement ceremonies are held only at the end of the spring semester. Students completing requirements at the end of the fall and spring semesters and during the following summer may participate in those ceremonies.

Information concerning commencement activities is sent to students by college dean's offices usually in April of each year. There is also a  Commencement website Opens in new window  available with all details. Arrangements for cap, gown and hood rental are made in the campus bookstore, Titan Shops.