Regulations Governing Graduate Students
In addition to reviewing policies and definitions included in this section,
you may want to consult the Academic Policies and Regulations section
of The University Catalog for information concerning general university
policies and additional information on academic probation and disqualification.
The Office of Graduate Programs also offers a publication, A Guide to Graduate
Studies: Policies, Procedures, & Format, which gives additional information
on planning a masters degree program, meeting all requirements, and writing
If you plan to pursue a second bachelors degree, you should refer to the
section Bachelors Degree Requirements, and should consult the Academic
Evaluations section of the Office of Academic Advising Programs for an
evaluation of your status for meeting the requirements for the degree.
Following is an overview of policies applicable to masters degree, credential,
and unclassified students (i.e., students with objectives other than a
masters degree or credential) as set forth by the Office of Graduate Programs.
For information on specific departmental requirements, refer to the masters
degree program descriptions in the academic programs section of this catalog.
As a masters degree student, you are governed by the requirements that
are in effect at the time of your admission to conditionally classified
status for that degree. If you are making normal progress toward the degree
and do not interrupt your program, you may elect to meet the degree requirements
in effect either at the time of your admission to conditionally classified
status or in the term that you complete all requirements for the degree,
except that substitutions for discontinued courses may be authorized or
required by the academic department offering the degree.
If you interrupt a program, you may be subject to the regulations in effect
at the time of readmission.
The university staff and faculty, particularly those in the Office of Graduate
Programs, the department and, in the case of masters degree students,
the graduate coordinator and graduate advisory committee, are here to provide
advice and assistance in completing the application and degree or credential
program. Although this assistance will help you fulfill the necessary requirements,
ultimately you are responsible for meeting all requirements and deadlines,
academic and administrative, as detailed in this catalog or elsewhere as
specified by the Office of Graduate Programs or your department. Preparing
a Masters Degree Program Plan in consultation with your graduate coordinator
and graduate advisory committee and submitting it to the Office of Graduate
Programs during your first semester will help significantly in insuring
that you meet university requirements in a timely manner. Should you have
questions on policies or procedures at any point in your program, both
your department and the Office of Graduate Programs are available to help
Each graduate program has a designated graduate coordinator who is responsible
for reviewing applications, assisting students in developing programs of
study, endorsing study lists, maintaining records of all students enrolled
in the program, and supplying information requested by the graduate dean.
The graduate coordinator for your discipline will be able to respond to
specific program questions.
Change in Classification
A change in classification is defined as advancement in the masters program
from conditionally classified to classified status, or from classified
status to candidacy. Normally a change occurs after specified departmental
and Office of Graduate Programs requirements have been met, and the change
is initiated by the student with a request to the graduate coordinator.
Change of Discipline
You may change from one masters degree program to another through the
normal application process in the Office of Graduate Programs. Admission
to one degree program does not insure admission to another program. If
you wish to change your objective, you must file an application for admission
to the new degree program and meet all requirements in effect at the time
of admission to the desired program.
Multiple Degree Objectives
You may become a candidate for more than one graduate degree providing
you complete separate programs of study in different graduate programs.
No course may be counted toward a masters degree that has been counted
toward any previous degree at any institution. An exception to this restriction
is allowed for the terminal MFA degrees, and the individual MFA program
descriptions in this catalog can be consulted for more information. A student
may not complete two masters degrees in the same discipline even though
an academic department may offer various emphases within the field of study.
Pursuing two graduate degrees concurrently requires approval of both departments.
You may also pursue both a masters degree and a second bachelors degree
concurrently. However, no course may be counted toward both objectives.
Students pursuing a masters degree must enroll each semester until the
degree is awarded. Both enrollment as a regular student and adjunct enrollment
satisfy this continuous enrollment requirement. (Special Session, Extension,
and Open University enrollments do not.) Adjunct enrollment consists of
registration in GRST 899 through the Center for Regional and Continuing
Education, for which an administrative fee is charged. Registration in
GRST 899 must be completed by the end of the fourth week of classes each
semester (the university census date). Late fees are charged for non-compliance
with this policy. No credit is earned for adjunct enrollment, but it allows
you to maintain your status in the masters degree program and to make
minimal use of selected campus resources, including the library, laboratories,
computer facilities, faculty advisers, and the thesis editor. Adjunct enrollment
serves both students who have finished their course work but have not yet
met all degree requirements (e.g., terminal project, incomplete grade,
etc.), and those who choose not to enroll in regular classes for a semester.
Transcripts will be required of students who have attended another school
while on adjunct enrollment at CSU, Chico.
Masters degree students who do not maintain continuous enrollment may
be required to reapply to the program that they have interrupted when they
wish to return. They may be subject to any new admission requirements and,
if readmitted, may be held to any new degree requirements. In addition,
they will be required to petition to resume the program and complete late
registration in GRST 899 for all semesters that they were out of compliance
with the continuous enrollment policy. When students are required to reapply
to return, the application fee will be waived upon completion of the GRST
899 late registrations. This policy applies to all masters degree students,
including those who have completed all of the courses required for their
Credential candidates and unclassified students are not required to maintain
continuous enrollment and are not eligible to register in GRST 899. Credential
and unclassified students who break their enrollment must reapply and be
readmitted for the semester that they wish to return.
Maintaining Good Standing
Masters Degree Students
As a student admitted to a masters degree program, you must maintain a
minimum 3.0 grade point average in all course work taken subsequent to
admission to the masters program and in all courses taken in fulfillment
of the approved program. This includes all courses taken at other accredited
institutions as well as those taken at Chico. Failure to maintain a 3.0
average will result in academic probation in the masters program; failure
to remove the deficiency within one semester will result in disqualification
from the masters program.
If your major department finds that you do not satisfy established criteria
in the discipline, you will be terminated in that discipline upon receipt
by the Office of Graduate Programs of a letter from the graduate coordinator
requesting such termination. The termination request from the department
may be accompanied by a recommendation that you be admitted as an unclassified
student, in which case the Graduate Dean may make such an admission for
one semester to allow you to apply for admission to another program.
All Postbaccalaureate Students
You will be placed on academic probation if either your cumulative grade
point average (which includes all transferred work) or your Chico grade
point average falls below 2.0 for all courses taken beyond the baccalaureate.
You will be removed from academic probation and restored to good standing
when you earn a cumulative and Chico grade point average of 2.0 or higher
in all work attempted.
Postbaccalaureate students are governed by the policy on Academic Disqualification
outlined in the Academic Policies and Regulations section of this catalog.
If you are disqualified, you will be notified by letter as soon as possible
after the end of the spring semester. If you are subject to disqualification
at the end of the fall semester, you will be notified of the impending
action as early as possible after the end of the fall semester but will
be allowed to continue through the spring semester. If, by the end of the
spring semester, you are unable to raise your grade point average to within
less than six grade points of 2.0, you will be disqualified.
Definition of a Full-Time Graduate Student
Except as noted below, full-time graduate students are those who are admitted
to a masters degree program and carry at least 8 semester units of graduate-level
(200/300-level) course work. Students enrolled in course work at both the
graduate-level (numbered 200 or above) and undergraduate-level (numbered
below 200), but with fewer than 8 units of graduate-level course work,
must be enrolled in a total of 12 units to be considered full time. In
addition, for students with appointments as graduate assistants, teaching
associates, or part-time faculty, half-time (20 hours/wk) employment may
be regarded as the equivalent of 4 semester units of graduate course work
in determining full-time status. Appointments for fewer than 20 hours/work
are pro-rated in determining full-time status.
Note: For purposes of financial aid eligibility, students may not be allowed
to count employment toward their full-time status; please consult a financial
Graduate Credit for Excess Units Taken as an Undergraduate
Excess units are defined as units completed in addition to the requirements
for the baccalaureate. Chico students who meet certain conditions may have
excess units taken in their final undergraduate semester approved for graduate
credit toward a masters degree. To request approval of these units, you
1. Have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.75 at the start
of your final undergraduate semester.
2. Be within 9 units of completing all baccalaureate requirements at the
start of your final undergraduate semester.
3. Take no more than 9 units of 200/300-level courses for graduate credit.
Your total enrollment in units required for the baccalaureate and units
taken for graduate credit may not exceed 15.
4. Submit a petition within the first month of your final undergraduate
semester. Include the supplementary attachment to confirm that you will
be held for graduate requirements in each 200-level course listed.
You may initiate the petition process in the Office of Graduate Programs.
After you have been cleared for the baccalaureate your petition will be
reviewed to determine 1) that the requested units are in excess of the
baccalaureate and 2) that you have met the policy requirements. You will
be notified of the final outcome when the petition review has been completed.
If you fail to graduate at the end of the semester or summer session during
which the excess units were taken, the units will not be awarded graduate
credit. All approved excess units will be noted on the record and will
be counted as postbaccalaureate units in computing the grade point average
for admission to a masters program. However, inclusion of the units in
a masters degree program is subject to approval by the individual graduate
advisory committee. For information on the possibility of using units which
are in excess of a baccalaureate earned at another institution, you should
inquire at the Office of Graduate Programs.
NOTE: The procedure to identify excess units for a credential objective
is different than the one described above. A credential student wishing
to apply units toward the fifth-year credential requirement must indicate
that intention on the baccalaureate major clearance form.
Masters Degree Courses
While a graduate student is not prohibited from enrolling in courses at
any level, only courses in the 200 or 300 series may be counted toward
a masters degree program. Courses numbered 200-298 are acceptable as credit
toward a masters degree unless otherwise noted in the course description.
Graduate students enrolled in 200-level courses will be held to more rigorous
requirements than undergraduates and must earn a grade of C- or better
to count them toward their program. Courses numbered 300-399 are open only
to masters degree students, with certain exceptions, and are defined as
requiring the identification of a theory or principle; the application
of theory to new ideas, problems, and materials; extensive use of bibliographic
and other resource materials with emphasis on primary sources of data;
and demonstration of competence in the scholarly presentation of the results
of independent study. At least sixty percent of the total units required
for a masters degree program must be in stand-alone 300-level courses
(those not cross-listed with 200-level courses).
Any course to be counted toward a masters degree program must be acceptable
for graduate credit by the discipline offering the course (i.e., a 200/300-level
course that is not acceptable for its departments masters degree cannot
be counted toward a masters degree in another discipline).
Independent Study (398) and Masters Study (399)
No more than a combined total of 10 units of Independent Study (398) and
Masters Study (399) may be included in a masters degree program. A maximum
of 6 units of Masters Study (399) is allowed.
Independent Study (398), open to any postbaccalaureate student, is a course
designated for a specific research project supervised by any authorized
member of the faculty. (Independent Study 299 may not be counted toward
a masters degree.) Masters Study (399) is separated into a thesis and
supporting research (offered as 399A-F for 1.0 to 6.0 units respectively)
or a project as defined by the individual department (offered as 399G-L
for 1.0 to 6.0 units respectively). In programs, course descriptions, and
policy discussions, the 399 is usually referred to without the suffixes
or distinction as a thesis or project. Enrollments in 399 courses are supervised
by the chair of the students graduate advisory committee and may not be
taken through Extension, Special Session, or Open University.
Credit for an Independent Study (398) is controlled by the academic discipline
offering the course. The faculty member directing the study assigns either
a letter grade or a CR/NC grade.
The completion of the thesis or other terminal project and the supporting
research for the topic will receive 1-6 units of Masters Study credit,
and enrollment in 399 is required. Normally, enrollment in 399 is limited
to classified students and candidates in a masters degree program, although
restrictions vary among departments. The units allowable are controlled
by the academic department granting the degree. However, in no case may
a student enroll in, or receive credit for, more units of 399 work than
are required for the students individual program. The Office of Graduate
Programs assigns all grades for 399 enrollments. An IP (in progress) grade,
rather than an I (incomplete), is assigned until the student has completed
all work for the degree; a CR (credit) grade is assigned upon successful
completion of all requirements for the masters degree.
You may receive either an IP (in progress) or an I (incomplete) for a 398
course that is not completed in the semester of enrollment. You must complete
course requirements and have the IP or I replaced with either a letter
grade or a CR within one year of the date of the original grade assignment.
An IP assigned to a 399 course must be replaced with a CR within the time
period allowed for the completion of the masters degree (i.e., as specified
by your department, five or seven years from the end of the semester of
enrollment in the oldest course on the approved masters degree program).
Failure to complete the work required for the grade change within the specified
time period will result in the IP being converted to NC or F for 398 courses,
and NC for 399 courses.
Applying for Graduation with the Masters Degree and Participation in the
Graduation application materials and instructions are available for masters
degree candidates from the office of Graduate Programs. You must apply
for graduation and complete the culminating activity for your masters
degree program by the deadlines for your final semester listed in the Academic
Calendar. You may not receive more than one degree during any graduation
period (i.e., fall, spring, or summer).
It is your responsibility to meet all university and departmental requirements
as well as administrative deadlines for graduation. A wellplanned course
of study and a clear understanding of the requirements will help to avoid
last-semester problems and graduation delays.
A Commencement ceremony for masters graduates is held once a year at the
end of the spring semester. You are eligible to participate in the ceremony
if you graduated at the end of the previous summer session or fall semester,
or if you will graduate at the completion of the spring semester.
Graduation with Distinction/Outstanding Thesis and Project Awards
It is possible to receive the masters degree with distinction by maintaining
a 3.9 grade point average for all approved program course work and satisfying
criteria established by the graduate committee of the program offering
the degree. Students graduating with distinction are recognized at commencement
and receive a special diploma; the notation with distinction is posted
with the degree on the transcript.
An Outstanding Thesis Award, initiated in 1988, and an Outstanding Project
Award, initiated in 1991, allow special recognition of one thesis and one
project each year. The outstanding thesis may be submitted to the Distinguished
Thesis competition sponsored by the Western Association of Graduate Schools.
Library Privileges for Graduate Students
The following privileges are granted to graduate students:
1. The loan period for graduate students is five weeks (35 days).
2. As a currently enrolled graduate student with a valid ID, you have borrowing
privileges at any other California State University library. Mutual library
privileges are subject to the regulations of the lending library, and Chico
ID cards are honored at the discretion of the lending library.
3. You may reserve one of the lockers that are available in the library
for graduate students by making application at the Circulation Desk and
by paying a refundable deposit and a service fee.
Maximum Course Load
Masters degree students may not register for more than 16 units of work
in any semester without the approval of the Office of Graduate Programs.
The typical masters degree requires two years for completion, and it is
strongly recommended that masters degree students register for no more
than 12 units each semester. If you are pursuing a second baccalaureate,
you will be governed by the same regulations as undergraduate students.
Repeating Courses with Forgiveness
Once you have a bachelors degree, you may not raise your undergraduate
grade point average by repeating a course originally taken as an undergraduate.
If you wish to repeat a postbaccalaureate course with forgiveness of the
original grade, you must file a petition in the Office of Graduate Programs.
The petition must be approved by the appropriate program adviser, and approval
may be granted according to the following stipulations:
1. The earlier attempt resulted in a grade of B- or lower.
2. A maximum of one course may be repeated with forgiveness (unless the
undergraduate policy is applicable as indicated below).
3. No regression is allowed.
4. A course which may be taken more than once for credit may not be repeated
5. Equivalency must be clearly established for courses originally completed
at another institution.
6. You may not petition to repeat at another institution a course which
was originally taken at Chico.
7. You must be enrolled in the class.
If the petition is approved, only the last grade earned in the course will
be calculated in the grade point average. If a petition to repeat with
forgiveness is not submitted or approved and the course is completed, then
the repeated course grade will be governed by the General Repeat Policy
outlined in the Academic Policies and Regulations section of this catalog.
Postbaccalaureate students pursuing a second bachelors degree, a second
major, a credential, or a minor are subject to the undergraduate repeat
policy but must file the postbaccalaureate petition in the Office of Graduate
Masters Degree Program Time Limit
You must complete all requirements for a masters degree no later than
five or seven years from the end of the semester of enrollment in the oldest
course on the approved program. Consult the academic program chapter for
your discipline elsewhere in this catalog to determine the time limit applicable
to your program.
In special circumstances, an extension of the program time limit may be
granted to a maximum of no more than two additional years. The extension
may require taking additional course work and dropping expired courses
from the approved program, or validating expired course work (see Validation
of Expired Course Work). The approval for the extension and the duration
of the extension are determined by the petitioners graduate advisory
committee, the departmental graduate coordinator, and the Office of Graduate
Programs, in that order.
Specifications for Masters Theses and Projects
Preparation of masters theses and projects is governed by guidelines established
by the Graduate Coordinators Committee. You should obtain a copy of these
guidelines, A Guide to Graduate Studies: Policies, Procedures, & Format,
from the Office of Graduate Programs before you begin work on the thesis
or project. Questions concerning thesis or project specifications should
be directed to the thesis editor. Failure to follow the prescribed regulations
may delay your graduation.
Human and Animal Subjects in Research
Any research involving human or animal subjects is governed by policies
of the Human Subjects in Research Committee and the Institutional Animal
Care and Use Committee. Proposals for all research using human or animal
subjects must be reviewed by the applicable committee before the study
begins to determine that it is either exempt from the need for review,
or that it complies with policy. Guidelines on the use of human or
animal subjects are available from the Office of Graduate Programs.
Transfer and Extension Credit
A maximum of 9 semester units of transfer and/or extension course work
is acceptable toward meeting masters degree requirements, provided that
the courses have not been counted toward any previous degree. CSU, Chico
Extension and Open University course work are counted in this maximum.
Masters Study (399) may not be taken through Extension, Special Session,
or Open University. Any transfer or extension credit used to meet masters
degree requirements is subject to the program time limit.
The transfer credit limits for the terminal MFA degrees are different than
the general requirement stated above. In addition, a certain amount of
course work counted toward a previous graduate degree may also be counted
toward MFA program requirements. Please review the individual MFA program
descriptions elsewhere in this catalog for specific information.
If the institution granting the credit you wish to transfer is regionally
accredited and would accept the work for graduate credit toward its degree
programs, the Office of Graduate Programs and your department may do the
same. If you have transfer or extension credit that you would like to use
as part of your approved masters degree program, you should discuss it
with both your graduate coordinator and an Office of Graduate Programs
evaluator at the time you are developing your program. (Note: Neither University
of California extension course work nor correspondence course work of any
kind may be applied toward a masters degree.)
Validation of Expired Course Work
In conjunction with an approved extension of the time limit for completing
a masters degree, expired courses must be validated by registration, examination,
or other appropriate means. Expired courses are those taken five years
or more prior to the date of graduating with the masters degree, or seven
years or more prior to that date for those programs under a seven-year
time limit. A request for an extension and permission to validate credit
must be approved by your graduate advisory committee, your graduate coordinator,
and the Office of Graduate Programs (in the order stated) before you begin
Validation by registration requires you to enroll in the expired courses
as an auditor and complete all assigned work. The instructor of each course
will notify the Office of Graduate Programs of your satisfactory completion
of course requirements. Validation by examination requires the successful
completion of a written examination or report covering the essential materials
of the course. The instructor will file in the Office of Graduate Programs
the final report or examination together with a written statement that
it satisfactorily demonstrates current knowledge of course content. The
report or examination will be kept on record in the Office of Graduate
Programs until you receive the masters degree.