Graduate Studies Enrollment Policies


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.



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.



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.