2003-205 University Catalog spacer
California State University, ChicoTable of ContentsSearchDegreesCoursesScheduleHome spacer

Master's Degree Requirements

Master’s degree requirements vary according to the discipline of study and degree sought. Though the minimum requirements are indicated below, you should also refer to the appropriate academic program chapter in this catalog for the requirements specific to your degree objective.

You must complete all requirements for a master’s degree within the time limit specified by your department, either five or seven years from the end of the semester of enrollment in the oldest course on the approved program. You must also maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 in all course work on the approved program, as well as in all course work taken subsequent to admission to the master’s program.

1. Development and completion of an approved program of at least 30 semester units of post-
baccalaureate 200/300-level courses as follows:

a.     At least 18 units in the program discipline.

b.     At least 18 of the units required for the degree in stand-alone 300-level courses (those not cross-listed with 200-level courses). In programs requiring more than 30 units, at least 60 percent of the units required for the degree must be in stand-alone 300-level courses.

c.     Not more than 9 semester units of transfer and/or extension credit (correspondence courses and University of California extension course work are not acceptable). CSU, Chico Open University courses are counted in this limit.

d.     Not more than a total of 10 units of Independent Study (398) and Master’s Study (399) combined; not more than 6 units of Master’s Study (399). (NOTE: Independent Study 299 may not be counted toward a master’s degree.)

e.     Not more than 10 units graded CR/NC; no courses in the major department graded CR/NC, with the exceptions of Independent Study (398), Master’s Study (399), and courses offered CR/NC only.

Any course to be counted toward a master’s degree program may not have been counted toward any previous degree at any institution. Further, it must be acceptable for graduate credit by the discipline offering the course  (i.e., a 200- or 300-level course that is not acceptable for its department’s master’s degree cannot be counted toward a master’s degree in another discipline).

The program must be planned in consultation with the graduate coordinator and your graduate advisory committee; a Master’s Degree Program Plan should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Programs.

2. Completion and final approval of one of the following, as specified by the department:

a.     Master’s Study (399 enrollment), whether thesis or project, as specified by your advisory committee:
Enrollment is required in a minimum of 1 unit and a maximum of 6 units of Master’s Study (399). You must submit to the Office of Graduate Programs either your thesis or, if you have a terminal project, the written component or description of your project as well as the components which will be catalogued by, and shelved in, the library (e.g., slides, tapes, etc.). An oral defense of the thesis or project is required as part of a 399 enrollment.

b.     Comprehensive Examination (written or oral) in the field of study, with a written report prepared by the examining committee describing your examination and performance:
The report will be sent to the Office of Graduate Programs no later than three weeks prior to the date of your expected graduation and will be made available to you by the graduate advisory committee chair.

c.     Comprehensive Examination and Supplementary Component (research paper, professional paper, recital, etc.) in the field of study:
The examining committee will prepare a written report describing your examination and performance and will send it to the Office of Graduate Programs no later than three weeks prior to the date of your expected graduation. The report is to be made available to you by the graduate advisory committee chair.

3. Approval of the Graduate Coordinators Committee on behalf of the faculty of the university.

Modifications of Requirements for MFA Programs

Modifications of the general master’s degree requirements have been approved for the terminal MFA degrees related to transfer credit limits, inclusion of course work from a previous graduate degree, continuous enrollment, and mode of enrollment in Master’s Study (399). Please refer to the individual MFA program descriptions in the academic programs section of this catalog for more information.

Graduate Literacy Requirement

California State University policy requires that all students graduating with the master’s degree demonstrate their writing competence. At the direction of the Graduate Coordinators Committee, each department has developed a method of assuring that its students have adequate writing skills. Refer to the “Literacy Requirement” section of individual master’s degree program descriptions for specific information.

Master’s Degree Programs and Options

The master’s degrees and options offered by CSU, Chico encompass a broad spectrum of liberal arts, scientific, and professional fields. The following list summarizes the programs available. Detailed information on the MA/MS in Interdisciplinary Studies follows this section; information on each of the other degrees is provided in The University Catalog under the academic program chapter referenced in parentheses.

MS in Accountancy (Business)
MA in Anthropology (Anthropology)
       Option in Museum Studies
MA in Art (Art)
MFA in Art (Art)
MS in Biological Sciences (Biological Sciences)
MS in Botany (Biological Sciences)
Master of Business Administration (Business)
MA in Communication Sciences and Disorders (Communication Sciences and Disorders)
MA in Communication Studies (Communication)
MS in Computer Science (Computer Science)
MFA in Creative Writing (English)
MA in Education (Education)
       Option in Curriculum and Instruction
       Option in Linguistically and Culturally
Diverse Learners
       Option in Reading/Language Arts
       Option in Special Education
MS in Electrical Engineering (Engineering)
       Option in Computer Engineering
       Option in Electronic Engineering
MA in English (English)
MS in Environmental Science (Geosciences)
MA in Geography (Geography and Planning)
       Option in Rural and Town Planning
MS in Geosciences (Geosciences)
       Option in Hydrology/Hydrogeology
MA in History (History)
MS in Instructional Technology (Communication)
Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and
Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (Graduate Education)
MA in Music (Music)
MS in Nursing (Nursing)
MS in Nutritional Science (Nutrition and Food Science)
       Option in Nutrition Education
MA in Physical Education (Physical Education and Exercise Physiology)
       Option in Athletic Training Education
MA in Political Science (Political Science)
MA in Psychology (Psychology)
       Option in Applied Psychology
       Option in Psychological Science
MS in Psychology (Psychology)
Master of Public Administration (Political Science)
       Option in Health Administration
       Option in Local Government Management
MA in Recreation Administration (Recreation and Parks Management)
MA in Social Science (Social Science)
       Option in Social Science Education
MSW in Social Work (Social Work)
MA in Teaching International Languages (International Studies)

Postbaccalaureate Certificate Programs

CSU, Chico offers the following postbaccalaureate certificate programs that may be completed as independent objectives or in conjunction with a master’s degree program. The specific requirements for each program are provided in this catalog under the academic program chapter referenced in parentheses.

Community College Faculty Preparation/Adult Education (Education)
Theory and Practice of College Composition (English)


The Office of Graduate Programs currently administers the Graduate Equity Fellowship Program for underserved master’s degree students. The program is designed to encourage students to enter doctoral programs and provides fellows with a stipend and a research assistantship with a faculty mentor.

The Office of Graduate Programs also administers a California Pre-Doctoral Program and a Forgivable Loan/Doctoral Incentive Program. The California Pre-Doctoral Program provides funds for selected upper-division and graduate students to participate in scholarly activities and visit doctoral-granting institutions to explore opportunities for doctoral study. The Forgivable Loan/Doctoral Incentive Program provides loans for students to complete doctoral study in disciplines of particular interest and relevance to the California State University, with forgiveness of the loans at a rate of 20 percent for each year of full-time teaching in the CSU after they complete the doctorate.

Information and applications for all of the above programs are available from the Office of Graduate Programs.

Many master’s programs also have Graduate Assistant and/or Teaching Associate positions available for qualified master’s students. Check with your graduate coordinator to learn more about these options and their availability for your discipline.