Master’s Degree Requirements

Master’s degree requirements vary according to the discipline of study and degree sought. Though the minimum requirements for a 30-unit master’s degree program 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 minimum 3.0 grade point average in each of the following three categories: all course work taken at any accredited institution subsequent to admission to the master’s program; all course work taken at CSU, Chico subsequent to admission to the program; and all courses taken in fulfillment of your approved program.

1. Development and completion of an approved program of at least 30 semester units of post-baccalaureate 400/500/600-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 600-level courses (those not cross-listed with 400/500-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 600-level courses.
  • c. Not more than 9 semester units of transfer and/or CSU, Chico Open University credit (correspondence courses and University of California extension course work are not acceptable).
  • d. Not more than a total of 10 units of Independent Study (597/697), Comprehensive Examination (696), and Master’s Study (699) combined; not more than 3 units of Comprehensive Examination (696) or 6 units of Master’s Study (699).
  • e. Not more than 10 units graded CR/NC; no courses in the major department graded CR/NC, with the exceptions of Independent Study (597/697), Comprehensive Examination (696), Master’s Study (699), and courses offered CR/NC only.

Any course to be counted towards a master’s degree program may not have been counted towards any previous degree at any institution. Further, it must be acceptable for graduate credit by the discipline offering the course (i.e., a 400/500/600-level course that is not acceptable for its department’s master’s degree cannot be counted towards 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 Graduate School.

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

  • a. Master’s Study (699 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 (699). You must submit to the Graduate School either your thesis or, if you have a terminal project, the written component or description of your project as well as any media components which will be catalogued by, and shelved in, the library (e.g., videos, DVDs, etc.). An oral defense of the thesis or project is required as part of a 699 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 Graduate School 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 Graduate School 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 Council on behalf of the faculty of the University.

Modifications of Requirements for MFA Program

Modifications of the general master’s degree requirements have been approved for the terminal MFA degree related to transfer credit limits and inclusion of course work from a previous graduate degree. Please refer to the MFA program description in the academic programs section of this catalog for more information.

Graduate Requirement in Writing Proficiency

All students must demonstrate competency in writing skills as a requirement for graduation. Each department has developed a method of assuring that its students have adequate writing skills. Refer to the "Graduate Requirement in Writing Proficiency" 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)

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 and Computer Engineering (Engineering)

  • Option in Computer Engineering
  • Option in Electronic Engineering

MA in English (English)

MS in Environmental Science (Geological and Environmental Sciences)

MA in Geography (Geography and Planning)

  • Option in Rural and Town Planning

MS in Geosciences (Geological and Environmental Sciences)

  • Option in Hydrology/Hydrogeology

MA in History (History)

MS in Instructional Design and Technology (Communication)

Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (Graduate Education)

MA in Kinesiology (Kinesiology)

  • Option in Athletic Training Education

MS in Mathematics Education (Mathematics)

MA in Music (Music)

MS in Nursing (Nursing)

MS in Nutritional Science (Nutrition and Food Science)

  • Option in Nutrition 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

Master of Social Work (Social Work)

MA in Teaching International Languages (International Studies

Post-baccalaureate Certificate Programs

CSU, Chico offers the following post-baccalaureate 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 and Adult Education (Education)

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Education)

Theory and Practice of College Composition (English)

Fellowships and Assistantships

The Graduate School currently administers the Graduate Equity Fellowship Program for underserved master’s dee 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 Graduate School 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 Graduate School.

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.