Bachelor's Degree Requirements

There are nine basic graduation requirements which all students must meet in order to earn the bachelor’s degree from California State University, Chico. These provide the framework within which you develop your academic program. The more you understand your progress towards meeting these requirements and relate them to the many programs available to you, the better your chance of creating an exciting educational experience and avoiding errors which may delay graduation. You are responsible for meeting all requirements, though assistance is available from faculty advisors assigned through your major department, through the Office of Advising and Orientation, and from evaluators in the Student Records and Registration office.

Plan your degree program carefully and review it frequently with your academic advisor. The basic graduation requirements are as follows:

1. Total Units

Bachelor of Arts Degree
120–124 units
Bachelor of Science Degree
120–128 units
Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering
132 units
Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree
132 units

2. Upper-Division Units

You must pass a minimum of 40 units of upper-division course work (CSU, Chico courses numbered 300–499). Of these 40, a minimum of 12 units must be in the major for a BA degree or 18 in the major for a BS or BFA degree. Enrollment in upper-division courses is normally restricted to students with junior, senior, or graduate standing. See

3. Residence Units

You must complete a minimum of 30 units in residence at California State University, Chico. At least 24 of the 30 units must be in upper-division course work (numbered 300 or above), and 12 of the 30 must be in the major. At least nine of the 48 units required for General Education must also be taken in residence at Chico.

CSU, Chico summer/special session classes, including Open University course work, generate residence credit. General extension courses do not. No more than 24 units of Open University and 24 units of extension credit will count towardss the bachelor’s degree.

4. General Education

You are required to take 48 units of a prescribed General Education program. The 48 units are counted as part of the total unit requirement. See "General Education Requirements" for details. At least 9 of the 48 units required for General Education must also be taken in residence at Chico.

5. Cultural Diversity

You must complete a minimum of two courses that focus primarily on cultural diversity. At least one course must be in Ethnic Studies and at least one in Non-Western Studies.

Ethnic Studies

You must complete at least one course concerned primarily with the aspirations and history of ethnic subcultures within the United States.

See "General Education Requirements" for a complete listing of applicable courses. Some courses used to satisfy this requirement may also be counted towards the 48-unit General Education requirement. Courses from other institutions which meet the intent of this requirement will be accepted.

Non-Western Studies

You must complete at least one course concerned primarily with cultures and societies outside Western heritage. See "General Education Requirements" for a complete listing of applicable courses. Some courses used to satisfy this requirement may also be counted towards the 48-unit General Education requirement. Courses from other institutions which meet the intent of this requirement will be accepted.

6. American Institutions Requirement

You must demonstrate competence in your understanding of the Constitution of the United States, of U.S. history, including the study of U.S. institutions and ideals, and of the principles of California state and local government. Competence may be demonstrated either by passing examinations or completing appropriate course work in the Departments of History and Political Science. If you are a transfer student, you may have completed these requirements at the school you previously attended; if so, your transfer credit summary will certify completion. Direct your questions regarding transfer credit for this requirement to the Evaluations section of Academic Advising Programs.

The U.S. history portion of the requirement may be fulfilled by the course HIST 130, United States History (or an equivalent transfer course), or by a challenge exam. The latter is administered by the Department of History once each semester during the first three weeks of classes. Details may be obtained from that department. A passing grade not only meets part of the requirements, but also carries 3 units of credit towards graduation.

The Constitution and Ideals (including California state and local government) portion of the requirement may be fulfilled by POLS 155, American Government: National, State, and Local (or an equivalent transfer course), or by a challenge exam. The latter is administered by the Department of Political Science during the week immediately preceding the beginning of classes each fall and spring semester. Details may be obtained from that department. A passing grade not only meets part of the requirement, but also carries 3 units of lower-division credit. If you have completed the requirement in the Constitution of the United States, but not the requirement in California state and local government, you should take either POLS 402, State Government, or POLS 403, Local Government. A special California state and local government exam is also administered by the department for students who wish to demonstrate competence with or without earning credit. See the Political Science Department for details.

You may not count HIST 130 or POLS 155 or their equivalent as part of the 48-unit General Education requirement, unless an exception has been formally granted for your specific major or unless certified by your transfer institution.

7. Mathematics and Writing Requirements

You must demonstrate competence in your use of writing and mathematics.

To satisfy the University’s writing requirement, you must pass two courses with a grade of C– or better: ENGL 130, and a writing proficiency course in your major. Unless exempt, you must take the English Placement Test (EPT) before your first semester here. Your EPT score is used to determine whether or not you must enroll in English 030 (Writing Workshop) concurrently with ENGL 130: Freshman English. English 030 is a remedial course which must be completed within your first year. If you do not fulfill the remedial writing requirement in your first year, you are subject to Administrative-Academic Disqualification. Upon satisfactory completion of ENGL 130 you are eligible to take the writing proficiency (WP) course in your major.

To satisfy the University’s mathematics requirement, you must pass a GE mathematics course with a grade C– or better. Unless exempt, you must take the Entry Level Mathematics Test (ELM) before your first semester. Your ELM score is used to determine whether or not you need to enroll in one or more remedial mathematics classes. If you do, you will need to complete the remedial mathematics requirement in your first year before you can enroll in a GE mathematics course. If you do not fulfill the remedial mathematics requirement in your first year, you are subject to Administrative-Academic Disqualification.

8. An Approved Major

You must complete an approved major program. Major program requirements are described fully in the University Catalog.

9. Grade Point Average

You must attain at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average, which includes both transfer and CSU, Chico work, at least a 2.0 in courses required for the major, and at least 2.0 in all work taken at CSU, Chico. Some majors may have additional grade point average requirements; they are described in each major program description.

Exceptions and Waivers of Academic Policy

Exceptions to the University’s academic policies will be considered only by petitioning the department office in the case of major requirements, or the Office of Student Records and Registration for university requirements. The latter petitions may require departmental, college, and administrative approval and will be considered only during the student’s last semester before graduation. Direct your questions to the Office of Student Records and Registration or Academic Advising Programs.

How to Apply for Your Bachelor’s Degree

A well-planned course of study, as well as a clear understanding of requirements, will help you avoid problems in your final semester and graduation delays. While you are responsible for meeting all degree requirements, as well as administrative deadlines for graduation, assistance is available from faculty advisors assigned through your major department, and from academic advising staff in MLIB 180 (Evaluations) and MLIB 190 (Advising).

Overview of the Steps to Graduation

  1. Obtain graduation application in the Office of Student Records and Registration lobby (MLIB 180).
  2. Prepare major clearance form with faculty advisor.
  3. Submit graduation application, major clearance form, and application fee to Office of Student Records and Registration.
  4. Evaluators, located in MLIB 180, send you your official "grad check."
  5. Pay any debts you owe the University.
  6. Participate in the spring commencement ceremony.
  7. The Evaluations staff will send your diploma or a non-qualifying letter.

Commencement Ceremonies/Graduation Clearance

Graduation ceremonies: Formal commencement ceremonies occur once a year in May. Candidates for spring graduation may participate, as well as the previous summer and fall graduates. If you need information regarding special permission to participate in ceremonies, check with Evaluations, MLIB 180, 530-898-5957.

Participation in commencement does not mean that you have officially graduated and qualified for the bachelor’s degree. If, in your final semester, you don’t complete a course or earn a grade as anticipated or if you are approved for special participation in ceremonies, you will still need to complete all course and credit requirements required for your degree. Additionally, you will need to refile for graduation for the semester of actual completion.

In April, the Alumni Relations and Commencement Office mails information regarding commencement ceremonies to potential spring graduates, as well as to graduates of the previous summer and fall terms.

Official graduation clearance: There are three graduation cycles and official graduation dates, one to coincide with the end of each term–summer, fall, and spring. In order to qualify for graduation, you must complete all requirements for the bachelor’s degree by the official graduation date: August 31 for summer, December 31 for fall, and May 31 for spring. For information on honors at graduation, see "University Honors Program" in the University Catalog.

Graduation Clearance Documents: When you meet all graduation requirements, you will qualify for a bachelor’s degree: Bachelor of Arts/BA, Bachelor of Science/BS, or Bachelor of Fine Arts/BFA. Final clearance of a semester’s graduates is processed after faculty have submitted grades to the Office of Student Records and Registration. Diplomas to those who qualify are mailed four to six weeks after the official graduation date. If you finish all requirements well in advance of this date, and you need a statement certifying degree completion for purposes of employment, the Evaluations staff, located in MLIB 180, will provide you with this statement for a small fee. Candidates who do not meet all graduation requirements receive a non-qualifying letter which explains deficiencies that still remain for the degree.

The name of your degree, major, option, and date of graduation are included on your diploma. If you are applying to graduate with two majors, one of which leads to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the other to a Bachelor of Science (BS), only one of the two degrees will be awarded. Only that degree, the major(s) leading to it, and honors will be listed on your diploma and posted under "Degrees Awarded" on your permanent record. The other major will also be posted on your academic record, but as a "second major."

An official transcript of your permanent record, available from the Student Records and Registration Office, is the most complete document of your academic history. It indicates all degrees, majors, options, minors, certificates, and honors completed at CSU, Chico.

Once graduation data–your degree and completed major(s)–have been certified and posted to the permanent record, this record–prior to the date of graduation–and your diploma cannot be altered by grade changes, retroactive withdrawals, academic renewal, or other actions. Grades of "Incomplete" (I) that may be needed for a postgraduate program cannot be changed. Therefore, it is very important that you take steps to make up all incompletes before your bachelor’s degree is awarded. "I" grades that are not made up within one year revert to "F" and may adversely affect your grade point average and your anticipated graduation. ("I" grades earned in courses taken in your final semester, if not required for graduation, will remain on your record and will not revert.)

Applying for Graduation

Your application for graduation and filing fee entitle you to a graduation check ("grad check"), and, if you are qualified, participation in annual commencement ceremonies and a diploma. Your grad check will indicate your status towardss meeting bachelor’s degree requirements.

Graduation applications are available in the Office of Student Records and Registration lobby, MLIB 180. Complete the application, clearance forms (see below), and initializer card, and self-address the envelope provided to the address where you want your grad check sent. Submit all papers to the Office of Student Records and Registration, MLIB 180, according to the filing deadlines indicated below, together with the graduation filing fee, payable to CSU, Chico (the fee structure is listed below and fees paid are non-refundable). You may apply for graduation and a grad check by mail, if necessary. To do so, send your application card, fee, and clearance forms to Evaluations, CSU, Chico, Chico, CA 95929-0720.

If you need to request a change in the intended date of graduation, notify Evaluations, located in MLIB 180, fill out new forms, and pay the refiling fee. Students who are unable to meet graduation requirements by the intended graduation date must submit another application card and a small fee to cover the cost of the new diploma. If you previously applied for a graduation date a year or more ago and did not meet requirements, you must also submit a new major clearance form (see "Clearance Forms" below), an application card by the appropriate deadlines, and pay the refiling fee.

You will not be cleared to graduate if you owe money to the University. To avoid graduation delays, check every department where you might owe money for equipment, books, fines, or other fees.

Filing Deadlines:

If you are filing to graduate at the end of: Deadline* You will hear by
Spring semester Summer session Fall semester
May 15* August 15* December 15*
November 1 December 1 June 1
*of the previous year.

If you file by the deadline you will receive a graduation check before your final semester begins. If any of these deadlines falls on a Saturday or Sunday, applications submitted the following Monday will be accepted.

Filing Fees:

Graduation fee
$28
Late fee
$10
Refiling fee
$8
Diploma replacement fee
$12

All fees are subject to change.

Clearance Forms: Complete a Clearance Form, available from your major or minor department, for each major and/or minor you plan to finish. In consultation with your faculty advisor, list all courses which comprise your major(s) and/or minor(s). Carefully follow all directions, completing both sides of the form where necessary. List only those courses required for the major(s) and minor(s) you plan to complete, using the exact course numbers which appear on your academic records. If you do not have copies of your records, you may obtain unofficial copies from the Office of Students Records and Registration for a copying fee. Be sure that you and the chair of the department sponsoring your major or minor (or official designee) approve your form by signing all copies. Unapproved and/or improperly completed forms will be returned to you, which will delay preparation of your grad check. Complete the clearance forms in triplicate: the original is to be submitted with your graduation application card to the Student Records and Registration Office; the second copy is for the department sponsoring your major or minor; the third copy is for your personal file. Any changes to requirements listed on your clearance forms (including substitutions and waivers) must be approved and submitted by the chair/major advisor of the sponsoring department to Evaluations, MLIB 180, by the end of the intended semester of graduation.

If you are refiling for graduation after more than a year has passed, you need to submit a new major clearance form or request that the department of your major approve the former one as a current statement of graduation requirements.

Graduating with Honors in General Education/Honors in the Major: If you are graduating with honors in General Education or honors in your major, check with the Honors Program advisor for the appropriate approval procedures.

Graduating with Multiple Majors and Minors: Clearance forms must be submitted for each major and minor which you are declaring for graduation. If you are applying to graduate with two majors, one of which leads to the BS degree and the other to a BA, the academic evaluations staff automatically processes your papers for the BS degree. If you want to be processed for the BA instead, carefully note that fact on your graduation application card or call Academic Evaluations at 530-898-5957. See Graduation Clearance Documents above for information on what majors and degrees are indicated on your diploma and permanent record.

"Double Counting": With the exception of the Special Major, double counting courses between major and minor is allowed without restriction or special approval as to number of units, courses, or sponsoring department(s). However, students should consult with major, minor, and option advisors in the departments of interest to determine whether there are program-related requirements or advising considerations that may affect the extent of double counting allowed. All minors require department approval. Approval of all double counting is transmitted via the courses being listed on the graduation clearance form(s) or by a written memorandum to the Academic Evaluations office from the signatory advisor. This "double counting" is allowed in all major/major, major/minor, option/option, minor/minor combinations. A student may not graduate with both a major and a minor of the same name but may receive a major and a minor from the same department.

Minors

Completion of a minor may be a requirement for some major programs; check with your major advisor. Usually, a minor is not a graduation requirement; however, completing one may be a useful addition to your academic program. The number and type of units required for a minor are specified in the University Catalog. Minors range from 18 to 30 semester units; at least 6 units must be in upper-division courses (those numbered 300 or above). All courses comprising a minor must be taken for a letter grade, except for those courses graded CR/NC only. A cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better is required in all courses applicable to a minor. General Education courses required for a minor may count for both General Education and the minor. There is no residence requirement for completion of a minor. An academic department may approve completion of all minor requirements based on equivalent course work transferred from other accredited institutions.

Declaring and Changing Academic Programs

Forms for declaring, changing, or adding an undergraduate major, major option, or minor prior to the time you apply for graduation are available in the Office of Advising and Orientation (Meriam Library 190).

Requirements for a Second Bachelor’s Degree

Graduation requirements for a second bachelor’s degree are the same as those for the first:

  • a) 30 units in residence at Chico subsequent to the first degree (even if it was earned at Chico), 24 of which must be upper-division, and 12 of which must be in the major of the second degree;
  • b) All courses required for the major, including the Writing Proficiency (WP) course; and
  • c) A 2.0 GPA for all Chico, cumulative, and major course work comprising the second bachelor’s degree. Additionally, if you earned your first degree at an institution outside the California State University system, you may be required to meet all or part of the two-course U.S. History, Constitution, and American Ideals requirement. Course work used to meet requirements for the first degree may be applied to the second major with departmental approval.

Students whose first degree was earned at a specialized postsecondary school or an institution outside the United States may also have to complete General Education courses that shall, at a minimum, include: English composition/language arts; two courses from mathematics, life, and/or physical science; two courses from humanities and fine arts; and two courses from behavioral and social sciences. Ethnic and Non-Western Studies requirements shall be waived if, as part of the first degree, the student satisfied the minimum humanities and behavioral and social sciences areas.

If you have questions, or need to know your status towards the second bachelor’s degree, consult Evaluations, MLIB 180, during your first semester of enrollment.

Election of Graduation Requirements and Your Catalog Rights

As long as you maintain continuous attendance at CSU, Chico, or a combination of CSU campuses and California Community Colleges (CCC), your catalog rights are protected according to the following regulations:

You may elect to meet the graduation requirements in effect 1) at the time you began your college program at any one of the California State University campuses or California community colleges, 2) when you entered the CSU campus from which you intend to graduate, or 3) at the time you graduate from a campus of the California State University.

Continuous attendance is defined as "regular attendance....one regular semester or two regular quarters per each calendar year." Once you have established your "catalog rights," your absence related to an approved educational leave or for attendance at another accredited institution of higher learning shall not be considered an interruption, providing the absence does not exceed two years.

If you are following an earlier version of a program in which your department has discontinued or modified required courses, the department may authorize appropriate substitutions.

If while enrolled you declare or change your major, major option, or minor, you should normally expect to follow the requirements 1) in effect at the time of the declaration or change; or 2) in effect when you file for graduation. For details see your advisor.

Whether you choose option 1) or 2) concerning your major, major option, or minor requirements, you may continue to follow the University, General Education, and Mathematics and Writing Requirements listed in the University Catalog for which you claim "catalog rights" as defined above.

Direct your questions regarding election of graduation requirements to the Evaluations staff in the Office of Student Records and Registration, MLIB 180.

Courses in Excess of Bachelor’s Degree Requirements

Courses taken in the final undergraduate semester in excess of all degree requirements may apply towards a credential or towards a master’s degree. Only the Department of Education, Department of Professional Studies in Education, or the Office of Graduate and International Programs can determine the suitability and application of any excess courses towards specific postbaccalaureate objectives. If you wish to apply excess undergraduate units towards a master’s degree, you must request permission in the Office of Graduate and International Programs before the end of your terminal undergraduate semester. This is a local policy, and employers and other schools and agencies are not obligated to accept undergraduate units as postbaccalaureate credit.