Chico State offers a wonderful array of courses and academic programsincluding
majors, minors, options, credentials, and certificatesin an enriching
residential environment. The quality and character of your undergraduate
experience is determined by the choices you make in developing your program.
Your program represents a considerable commitment of your time, money,
resources, and effort. The decisions you make are closely linked to the
satisfaction and growth you will experience. These will influence your
attainment of academic, personal, and career goals and the contributions
you will make to society. The earlier you assume responsibility for the
direction of your education and begin to discover its rewards, the more
you will gain.
It is a goal of the university to offer you the best education possible
within its resources and to help you develop and achieve academic goals
consistent with your interests and abilities. It is likewise a goal of
the university to help you do so as efficiently as possible through timely
provision of courses, advising, and support services. Any baccalaureate
program offered by the university can be completed within four years by
students just beginning their college career if they follow the guidelines
outlined later in this section.
If you are a transfer student, you will have less flexibility than freshmen,
depending on choices you have already made. Nonetheless, you too can develop
an efficient program plan that will result in an outstanding academic experience.
THE THREE COMPONENTS OF A DEGREE PROGRAM
You will plan your program most effectively by understanding the three
basic course components of the baccalaureate and the relationship of these
to each other: 1) the major; 2) general education and other requirements;
and 3) elective courses. These three are structured around a framework
of nine graduation requirements, described in the section Bachelors Degree
Requirements, which are the building blocks of your degree program. If
you have already completed some college course work, you need to determine
as early as possible how that credit applies to these requirements.
1. THE MAJOR
The most easily identifiable portion of your academic program is your major.
A major is defined as a program of related courses, and all university-level
prerequisites to those courses, which focus on a field of study. These
include majors in broad areas of accumulated knowledge in what are often
referred to as the liberal arts such as English, history, psychology,
mathematics, and chemistry. Other majors are professionally or technically
oriented. These draw heavily on the liberal arts in applied settings such
as business administration, computer science, recreation administration,
and engineering. Successful completion of a major, along with other requirements,
is recognized by award of the appropriate degree.
You may declare your major on your application for admission to the university.
If you are a freshman or sophomore and, like many, still deciding on your
academic or career goals, you may elect to remain undeclared until you
determine the direction you plan to take. As an undeclared studentstill
deciding your major your home for advising purposes is the Office of
Advising and Orientation (MLIB 190), whose staff will assist you with your
program planning and academic career decisions.
Many of the majors offered by the university have Major Program Options.
For example, within the business administration major, you may choose the
accounting or finance option, among several other choices. An option is
an officially recognized program of specialization within a major. It includes
requirements specific to the option plus a core of courses taken by all
students in the major regardless of option selected. Successful completion
of an option is noted on your transcript.
Some majors and major program options offer additional Advising Patterns
which, while not identified on transcripts, are specific ways of completing
the major which allow you to emphasize a subspecialization or area of concentration
within your program.
When you declare your major, if it contains an option or advising pattern,
you will be required to declare both the option or pattern of your choice.
This combination of an option and/or pattern within a major will be recorded
in your student record as a Concentration, and may appear as such on your
registration or advising materials provided to you each semester by mail
or via a required conference with your academic adviser. It will also appear
on the various Student Information System (SIS) and On-Course degree audit
screens used by your academic adviser.
For those considering a career in education, Chico offers several programs
leading to various Teaching Credentials. Programs include those which lead
to the Multiple Subject (elementary) Credential, to a Single Subject (secondary)
Credential in many academic areas, or to any of a variety of specialist
credentials. Completion of the subject matter requirements for many of
these include all requirements for the corresponding major, and most are
identified as a specific option within the major. For more information
on any of these, see the Education chapter in The University Catalog.
If you are considering continuing on in a professional training program
at another university, you may need to enroll in specialized courses of
study within, or in addition to, your major, which are called Preprofessional
Programs. Pre-professional programs and advising are designed to provide
a solid background for further study in dentistry, law, library science,
medicine, optometry, physical therapy, veterinary medicine, and other professions
requiring advanced study. The academic departments which provide pre-professional
advising are committed to their students. They have spent many years building
relationships with professional schools so that their students receive
the best possible information and assistance in their efforts to be admitted
to and succeed in professional programs.
In addition to the major you select, you will complete a General Education
Program (GE). You will also take courses to satisfy the United States History,
Constitution, and American Ideals, the Cultural Diversity, and Literacy
Requirements as part of the overall course requirements for your degree.
The GE program is designed to acquaint you with a variety of academic disciplines
and to provide as broad an understanding as possible of your scientific,
cultural, social, intellectual, and artistic heritage. GE balances the
in-depth study in your major by strengthening basic skills and increasing
your understanding and awareness of issues and aspirations of people throughout
With only a few exceptions, majors are not independent of the GE requirements.
In fact, one or more specific GE courses are required or are elective credit
for almost all of the majors offered by the university. As you plan your
program consider those GE courses which are required for majors of interest.
Additionally, in several high-unit majors of the university, such as engineering,
nursing, and agriculture, modifications to the GE requirements have been
authorized. These modifications reduce the total number of GE units that
otherwise would be required for the degree.
Chicos GE program includes two unique alternatives. The Freshman General
Studies Thematic Program is an outstanding integrated approach to the first
year of college. Students selected for this program complete 33 of the
48 required GE units in a team-taught setting. The General Education Course
Link program provides students the opportunity to take three GE courses
with the same group of students. Both are described in this catalog.
All students in the CSU must complete as part of the 48 GE units 9 upper-division
units. At Chico this 9-unit requirement has been organized into themes,
each one of which considers a significant concern of humankind. You must
complete a total of 45 units before you begin your upper-division theme.
In addition to GE, you will take courses to satisfy the California State
Education Code and additional university graduation requirements. These
courses are designed to increase your understanding of United States history,
its constitution, ideals, and cultural diversity; and English and mathematics.
3. ELECTIVE COURSES
The remaining component of your study at Chico, and the part most easily
personalized, is the elective courses portion. Except in a few high-unit
majors, considerable freedom remains for you to take courses which satisfy
your individual interests or needs. Such courses might include an activity
in music or physical education, an opportunity for service through Community
Action Volunteers in Education (C.A.V.E.), or additional courses in an
area which complements your major.
You may direct available elective credit toward the completion of a minor
or certificate, an additional major, or a self-designed block of courses
concentrating in a single field of study.
A Minor is an approved group of related courses, 18-30 units in length,
successful completion of which is also recognized on your transcript. Minors,
like majors, consist of a set of required courses and all prerequisites
to these courses. A minor is not usually a graduation requirement, although
it may strengthen your undergraduate program, increase employment opportunities,
and broaden your intellectual perspectives.
The university offers Certificate Programs, a group of university-level
courses or related experiences certified by academic units as equivalent
to university course work on this campus. Successful completion of a program
shall be recognized with a certificate of completion awarded by the university.
For details on requirements for certificate programs or qualifying for
the certificate, see the academic department sponsoring the certificate
Students completing certificate programs are not obligated to meet other
university graduation requirements. Course work completed to satisfy certificate
programs might be applied to related majors.
Students will qualify for admission to certificate programs only if they
are admissible by university and departmental standards, policies, and
procedures. Students qualifying for admission may be completing or have
completed a bachelors degree and may wish to receive additional certification
in a professionally oriented field of study, or may choose not to go beyond
the program of courses required for the certificate.
The undergraduate certificate program will include no fewer than 21 units,
of which at least 15 must be upper-division or graduate work. Lower-division
prerequisites may be included in the program as necessary. A maximum of
9 units of transfer credit may be allowed in a certificate program. Students
may apply up to 24 units of Open University enrollment towards the certificate
program. A grade point average of 2.5 must be earned for courses required
for the certificate program with at least a C or better earned in each
COMPLETING THE DEGREE IN FOUR YEARS OR LESS
Admissions counselors and academic advisers are often asked, Can I [or
my son or daughter] complete the degree in four years? In this age of
shrinking financial resources and family incomes stretched to the limit,
it is easy to understand the concern behind the question. The answer, however,
is not a simple yes or no. There are a number of factors that directly
affect the quality of your education as well as the length of time it may
take to finish your program. These factors have to do with the choices
you make, effective advising, and the universitys ability to balance its
resources to meet your needs.
It is possible to complete any bachelors degree program offered by the
university in four years or less. In fact many students do it even in our
most demanding majors. Others do not finish within four years, nor could
they given the choices they make and the circumstances in which they find
To assist students in planning a four-year program of study, each department
makes available a suggested Four-Year Degree Plan for each major and
option program it offers. These plans list suggested eight-semester sequences
of major, GE, and other required courses, and elective credit that will
fulfill all graduation requirements.
It is important to distinguish between (1) the number of units you complete
in any given year at the university and (2) the number of courses and units
which you include in your degree program.
1. The Number of Units Completed per Year
If you work or for other reasons carry less than a full load (fifteen to
sixteen units per semester) or stop-out one or more semesters, it may
take you longer than four years to graduate.
You may elect to travel abroad or pursue an internship or cooperative-education
for a semester or longer. For many students, such experiences become the
testing ground for reality in helping them refine goals and sharpen educational
commitment. These experiences may prove to be the high points of their
education even though they may delay graduation.
2. The Number of Courses Included in Your Program
If you enroll in courses not needed for your major or other graduation
requirements that are in excess of the number of elective units you need
to graduate, you may delay your graduation. Following are four specific
circumstances which may result in excess units:
a. Many students change majors one or more times or do not decide on their
majors until well into their college careers. This is often inevitable,
even desirable as you mature and expand your interests, self-awareness,
and understanding of the complexities of the world of work.
b. Students enroll intentionally or otherwise in courses which do not apply
to either their majors or General Education and are in excess of the number
of available elective units. This may happen by choice because of your
interest in an area, or as a consequence of misunderstanding requirements
or failure to seek adequate advising. You may elect to study a second major,
minor, foreign language, performing art, or other skill which may extend
your time to graduate. You may decide to participate in an internship,
the National Student Exchange Program, or one of the numerous study abroad
programs. It is not uncommon for these choices to be those which prove
most beneficial to your career development and employability.
c. Students may need preparatory course work for specific programs which
they could have taken in high school but did not, such as trigonometry
prior to taking calculus.
d. And there are those who fail or drop courses required for their programs
which they must then repeat in a subsequent term.
If you desire to finish within four years or less, these guidelines will help.
PLANNING YOUR COURSE OF STUDY
By understanding how your major requirements, general education (GE), and
elective units work together, you can create an academic program that is
interesting and satisfying to you, and you can minimize problems that may
delay your graduation. Here are some strategies to help you plan your course
work at CSU, Chico.
(1) During your years in college your interests, skills, and understandings
will change. This fact affects how you plan your program. For example:
Most students change their major. Be open to the possibilities. This university
offers over 200 different majors, options and patterns, minors, credentials,
and certificates. Begin your exploration early.
Conserve your elective credit. In your first year or so concentrate primarily
on meeting GE and courses which introduce you to or are required for majors
of interest. Explore, but keep in mind that if you use up elective credit
too soon, you may have little or none left later when you have decided
on a major.
Recognize that most majors and minors include courses which meet both GE
and program requirements. By taking advantage of these you may explore
programs of interest, conserve elective credit, and reduce the time required
Keep things in perspective. Many graduates find in the long run that the
major was of less significance than other interests and skills cultivated
during their college years.
There are many opportunities from which to choose: internships, cooperative
education, exchange and travel-study abroad programs, student government,
clubs and organizations, fine arts, and athletics, to name a few. Many
may be included in a well-planned program.
Develop relationships with faculty who can offer you insight and perspective
on careers, educational opportunities, values, and issues.
Invest time exploring educational and career alternatives. Seek help from
several sources: family, people working in careers in which you are interested,
faculty whose courses you particularly enjoy, university career and academic
counselors, and academic advisers.
Immerse yourself in the academic, cultural, and intellectual life of the
university. You may develop lifelong commitments and interests that make
you and the world better.
(2) Plan your program in consultation with academic advisers. Review your
plan frequently and meet with your adviser every semester.
When you have decided on a major, make a plan for the balance of your program.
Obtain a copy of the suggested Four-Year Degree Plan for your major from
your department office, adviser, new student orientation session, the Advising
and Orientation Office, or the CSU, Chico Web. Carefully review requirements
for the major in The University Catalog and the sequence of courses in
the Four-Year Degree Plan, and develop and refine your personal plan with
If you are enrolling in a high-unit major, determine whether or not there
are modifications to GE and other graduation requirements. Take advantage
of these to avoid adding more semesters to your program.
Pay careful attention to course prerequisites. Make certain that you take
courses in the proper sequence.
If you are considering a teaching credential, be sure you have a clear
understanding of the special requirements you must meet in order to be
admitted to the professional education preparation program. Contact the
Professional Preparation Program for information.
(3) Determine in consultation with your adviser or evaluator how much,
if any, elective credit you will have available to you in addition to your
major, GE and other requirements.
Discuss with advisers effective uses of available elective credit. Are
you going to graduate school? Have you room for a second major or minor?
A certificate program? Are there courses which count for both the minor
Consider using elective credit to develop a specific competency such as
a foreign language or computer skills, or to enrich your life through literature
or the arts, or to expand your understanding of a social or other concern.
Following are samples of the distribution of units in three of over sixty
majors from which you may choose. Units required to complete majors vary
from thirty to over one hundred. The examples suggest how the above strategies
apply in programs of various sizes. NOTE: If you have already accumulated
college credit, these models may not accurately reflect your circumstances.
See your adviser.
PSYCHOLOGYa low unit major:
40 units required for the major
(3) units in major count for GE
45 additional GE units
6 units American history and government
29 elective units
120 total units for the BA degree
15 average number of units per semester in order to complete a
carefully planned program in 8 semesters.
Psychology majors frequently complete combinations of second majors, one
or more minors, internships, and additional psychology credit in preparation
for graduate work. Majors choose from several areas of emphasis within
the major. Though the total units required for the major are few, careful
attention to the four semester sequence of prerequisites is important.
BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (Marketing Option)a medium sized major:
72 units required for the major
(9) units in major count for GE
39 additional GE units
6 units American history and government
3 elective units
120 total units for the BS degree
15 average number of units per semester in order to complete a
carefully planned program in 8 semesters.
Business administration majors who complete minors must plan carefully
and take advantage of courses which count for both GE and the major or
minor. Many complete a cooperative education program and are actively involved
in various professional student groups sponsored within the College of
MECHANICAL ENGINEERINGa high unit major:
105 units required for the major
(27) units in major count for GE
21 additional GE units
6 American history and government are required
but by GE modification count as GE credit
0 available elective units
132 total units for the BS degree
16.5 average number of units per semester in order to complete a carefully
planned program in 8 semesters.
Mechanical and other engineering majors must plan their programs carefully
and take full advantage of GE modifications, and the overlap between GE
and the major. Sequencing of courses is very important, especially with
regard to mathematics. Inadequate preparation in math and science may extend
the time required to complete the program. Some majors complete math minors,
much of the credit for which counts for both programs.
HOW TO GRADUATE WITHIN YOUR PLANNED TIME FRAME
California State University, Chico is committed to helping all students
graduate within their planned time frame. At the same time we believe there
is no substitute for a high-quality learning and growing experience. Thus,
if you choose to change majors, enhance your education by taking additional
courses, involve yourself in extracurricular activities, study abroad,
engage in internships, or work, it is possible that you may need to adjust
your time frame to accommodate these choices.
Time is important; quality is paramount. We will strive to provide you
with an enriched educational experience within a residential community
of faculty and students for however long you choose to study at Chico State.
JOIN ONE OF THE BEST!
CSU, Chico is among the top three campuses in the CSU system for the speed
at which freshmen reach graduation, and for the percentage of freshmen
who choose to stay at Chico and do not transfer or drop out.
Transfer students also discover that advisory assistance and good planning
speed them along their path towards graduation at Chico State.
To maximize the likelihood of meeting your educational goals, plan to attend
the New Student Orientation Program before beginning your first semester
with us, and follow these guidelines for graduating on time, that is, within
your planned time frame, be it four or more years.
TAKE PLACEMENT TESTS ON TIME
Prior to enrolling in classes the first semester, take and pass the English
Placement Test (EPT) and the Entry Level Mathematics Test (ELM) or be eligible
to take GE level math and English upon admission to the university.
If your ELM score is not passing, enroll in preparatory math course work
each semester until you become eligible to take GE level math. If your
EPT score is not passing, immediately enroll in the writing workshop, ENGL
001A, along with ENGL 001.
PLAN YOUR FUTURE
Obtain the four-year plan for your major even if you are a transfer student.
This plan will enable you and your adviser to plan for each semester.
Meet each semester with your adviser. Confirm that you are taking courses
in the proper sequence and that these will be offered when you need them.
Also check your progress once a year with your evaluator. Arrive prepared
for each meeting with your questions in writing, notes from previous meetings,
and all relevant materials. Complete your plan for each year. If possible,
plan out the entire balance of your program semester-by-semester and review
your plan with your adviser.
Double-count classes whenever possible. If you are enrolling in a high-unit
major, take full advantage of any GE modifications which may have been
approved. Double-count Ethnic and Non-Western requirements with GE requirements,
preferably in the GE breadth section.
Declare a major as soon as possible but only after careful consideration
of your options.
Complete satisfactorily a minimum of 31-33 non-remedial units per year.
A BA requires a total of 120-124 units; a BS requires a total of 120-132
units. January intersession and summer sessions are available as a means
of earning additional credit during the year. A minimum grade point average
of 2.0 is needed for graduation.
Be sure you read and understand the rights, responsibilities, and rules
found in The University Catalog and The Class Schedule. Ask your academic
adviser for clarification if you do not understand any part of The University
Catalog and The Class Schedule.
MEET ALL DEADLINES
Each semester, register in advance through TRACS and pay fees by the deadline.
Meet all financial aid deadlines and clear holds. Consider year-round registration.
File for graduation by the deadline for the term in which you plan to graduate.
Students who have an interest in graduating within their planned time frame
should go to or call
Advising & Orientation
Meriam Library 190
Academic rigor means the consistent expectation of excellence and the aspiration
to significant achievement. It should pervade the entire atmosphere of
the universityteaching and learning, curriculum, evaluation of students
and faculty, outreach, admissions, advising, and student life.
Rigorous faculty are role models for the behaviors and accomplishments
the university seeks to promote. They demonstrate a high level of professionalism
and commitment to the university and to their discipline and inspire in
students an excitement about learning. Guiding students toward excellence,
communicate high expectations and demonstrate them through a demanding
syllabus and well-prepared classes.
encourage student-faculty contact in and out of class and offer conscientious
advising and consistent availability.
encourage collaboration and active learning, fully involving students in
the learning experience.
provide students early, prompt, and frequent feedback and develop appropriate
emphasize time on task, clearly communicate time required for learning,
make it clear that full-time study is full-time work, and design learning
experiences so that homework matters.
develop approaches and strategies geared to diverse talents and ways of
learning, while maintaining high standards of accountability.
reduce opportunities to engage in academic dishonesty and challenge its
Rigorous students are part of the equation of rigorous teaching and learning.
A rigorous education is vigorous, difficult, deeply satisfying work, and
it requires a lifestyle conducive to achieving excellence. College is not
a temporary diversion or a period of entertainment, but a fundamental piece
of student character, citizenship, and employment future. A diploma and
good grades from a demanding institution count for something. Rigorous
Set high personal standards, develop a strong sense of purpose, come to
class well prepared, and complete assignments on time.
Develop an effective relationship with the instructor, in and outside of
class, and make the most of university advising and other services.
Treat fellow students and the classroom environment with complete respect.
Give each class full attention and participation. Do not miss class, arrive
late, or leave early.
Accept continuing responsibility for learning and for grades earned.
Approach each class in a professional manner, as if the class were real
employment. Treat a full-course load as full-time work and spend no less
time on it. Determine exactly what is expected.
Experiment with all teaching and learning strategies used in classes, and
also determine which work best for them.
Demonstrate complete honesty and integrity.