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Graduate Studies - General Study Plan Regulations

California State University, Fullerton

current students
General Requirements
current students
General Study Plan Regulations

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:

  • A minimum of 30 approved semester units. Some programs require more.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • No more than nine units of post baccalaureate work taken at Cal State Fullerton prior to admission to an approved graduate program.

  • No more than six semester units for a thesis, if a thesis is required.

  • Maximum of six units of independent study.

  • No courses taken to satisfy prerequisite requirements.

  • None of the following: correspondence courses, credit by examination, or similar.

  • No courses with nontraditional grades (e.g., CR, S, P).

  • Each course on the study plan must be completed with a grade of "C" (2.0) or better.

  • A minimum grade-point average of 3.0 ("B") in all courses attempted to satisfy requirements for the degree.

  • 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.

  • All courses taken after the baccalaureate (or post baccalaureate credit granted).

  • No courses credited toward another degree.

  • A final evaluation, which may be a thesis, a project, a comprehensive examination, or any combination of these.


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.