Chapter IV

Curricular Policies

Curricular Policies

(Senate: 1/30/96, 4/9/96, 3/16/21; President: 5/7/96, 7/24/96, 5/15/21; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01; 9/03)

Responsibility for the development of the curriculum rests with the faculty, subject to system guidelines in the Administrative Code, Title 5, and in other pertinent statutory documents.

New degree programs, including options and concentrations, are projected on the University's Academic Master Plan prior to their detailed design.  Undergraduate and graduate degree programs with options, concentrations, or special emphases must have a major or program core that comprises more than 50 percent of the total units required for the program. The major core or program core is the set of courses required of all students pursuing a degree program and should represent the majority of required uits so that the program learning outcomes can be achieved by all enrolled students, regardless of subprogram. Modifications in existing courses and programs also are given formal consideration, and all programs are reviewed in an ongoing process which has a five-year cycle.

The curriculum has both residence and external components, and includes undergraduate and graduate segments. Courses, degree and certificate programs, and modifications thereof are proposed by the faculty in the respective disciplines or interdisciplinary areas. Following departmental/divisional/school approval, these proposals are reviewed by the appropriate committee of the corresponding college.

At the university level, new major programs, options, minor/credential programs and certificates and resolution of unresolved challenges to curricular modifications are considered by the Curriculum Subcommittee or Graduate Studies Subcommittee.  The subcommittee submits approved proposals to the Educational Policy Committee, where the curricular actions stand approved unless questioned and agendized for further consideration.

Detailed policies and procedures on curriculum development appear in Appendix F.

Curriculum Calendar

(Senate: 1/16/90; President: 3/15/90; Editorial Amendment: 9/00; 8/01, 1/21/15)

Curricular proposals may be considered by departmental/divisional/school, college and University committees and subcommittees only during fall and spring semesters. Curricular proposals which did not receive final action prior to the end of spring semester shall be held on the agenda of the committee or subcommittee until fall semester.

The Educational Policy Committee subcommittees shall not meet during summer term. Non-curricular items which cannot wait until fall semester, such as policy issues requiring timely response and referrals of student petitions which cannot be handled by executive action, shall be referred to the Senate Executive Committee for consideration.

Academic Advisement

(Senate: 10/22/91, 10/28/97, 12/1/15; President: 11/5/91, 11/20/97, 3/2/16; Editorial Amendment: 1/21/15)

Advisement is central to the educational process. It is a multifaceted all-university function intended to facilitate student success. Advisement is an ongoing process during which the student develops an educational plan in consultation with an advisor and completes a curricular program of study. Students benefit from regular advisement to achieve their academic goals, clarify their career objectives and better understand how the University can assist them in realizing their goals and objectives in a timely and efficient manner.

To this end, advisement is a campus-wide, integrated support service which provides appropriate resources to students. The purposes of advisement include the following:      
  • Assist students to maximize the benefits of their educational experience by providing guidance in the selection of curricular programs and courses;
  • Familiarize students with academic policies, procedures and University requirements for graduation;
  • Help students develop a plan to complete all University requirements for graduation in an efficient and timely manner;
  • Familiarize students with career opportunities directly and indirectly related to their academic interests and professional ambitions;
  • Inform students about campus resources and services, including how these can help meet their educational goals and individual aspirations;
  • Encourage students to develop the independence and personal skills necessary to make informed judgments about their educational objectives, careers, and use of University support systems and other opportunities available on or through the campus. 
While the faculty bear responsibility for academic advisement, other campus personnel also provide important advisement services. All individuals involved in advisement are part of the overall system for advisement and must interact with each other in order to be effective,
An effective system of advisement is an important factor in student retention and is the essential first step in facilitating student success at Cal State L.A. Collectively and individually, each unit that provides advisement services makes an important contribution to each student's ultimate academic and personal success. This contribution notwithstanding, students share major responsibility in contributing to and ensuring their own success, and, as such, must be active participants in the advisement process.

Advisement is conducted with respect for the individual student being advised. The ultimate success of effective advisement depends on the individual commitment of faculty and staff to perform their duties in a professionally competent manner and professional expertise within a campus-wide system of support. 

Academic Progress Criteria and Milestones for Undergraduate Programs

(Senate: 3/21/17; President: 4/7/17)

I. Establishing Academic Progress Plans

Departments or colleges may develop academic progress plans requiring students to meet established milestones on a timely basis. Possible milestones may include but are not limited to: passing grades in specific required courses; program-established gpas; number of units earned; and excessive numbers of repeats or withdrawals.

Departments or colleges who wish to implement academic progress criteria must create plans that contain the following:

  1. Clearly identified milestones consistent with graduation requirements and university policy.
  2. Detailed descriptions of the intervention that will follow a missed milestone. The intervention must include mandatory academic advising to provide the student with guidance to meet the missed milestone.
  3. Clearly articulated timelines for dismissal from the academic program for students who have not satisfied the specified academic progress plan requirements.
  4. Detailed descriptions of the process by which students dismissed from the academic program will be advised into new academic programs.
  5. Clearly articulated plans to monitor impact on student success including underrepresented groups.

II. Plan Approval and Review Process

Plans for academic progress criteria, including plans for pre-majors, must first be approved through the regular school/department and college curricular approval process and then be submitted to the provost's office. All plans must be approved by the provost's office before they are implemented to assure that they adhere to University and State Education policies. Academic progress plans and their impact on student success shall be monitored through the program review process. Academic progress plans must be published in the University Catalog and included in advising materials. Departments or colleges may revise plans, subject to approval by the provost's office.

III. Dismissal from the Academic Program
Students must be warned in writing or via email that they are in jeopardy (or probation in the major) with regard to completing their academic milestones at least one semester before they are subject to dismissal. Students may be dismissed from their academic program only if they fail to satisfy the academic progress requirements established by their school/department. School/department chairs or college associate deans may decide that the student's performance merits additional time to complete a missed milestone; authority for this decision must be clearly articulated in the program criteria. School/department chairs or college associate deans must notify students in writing or via email that they have been dismissed from the academic program. The college dismissing the student must offer students an appointment with a faculty and/or professional advisor and provide information regarding processes for changing to a new academic program or moving to undeclared status. Students who are dismissed from an academic program have a right to appeal that dismissal to the Office of the Dean of the college, and if not satisfied they may file an appeal with the Academic Appeals Committee. The college must publish required timelines for the student to appeal and for the college to render a decision in a timely way. A list of dismissed students must be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Studies each semester, which shall ensure that students' change of major has been communicated to Enrollment Services in a timely manner.

Timely Progress to Degree Completion for Undergraduate Students - Milestones and Advising Guidelines

(Senate: 10/20/20; President: 11/5/20)

This policy is designed to provide clear guidelines that will help students graduate in a timely manner, remain in good standing with financial aid, and in compliance with CSU policies about time to degree.  It also provides information about the role that advisors and the University play in supporting students along the way.
First and Second Years:
During their first year, freshmen will be encouraged to explore their major options. Students who have selected a prospective major should validate their choice through their coursework, interactions with their departments, and engagement with other campus resources, including the Career Center and student clubs and organizations. Advisors will support students throughout this process. They will proactively identify and support students who are off track and help students select and affirm their major and degree pathway by the end of their second year.

Third Year and Beyond:
When first-time freshmen reach their third year, and transfer students are in their first year, they will have declared a major.  Advisors and faculty will encourage students to explore their major more deeply through coursework, research, scholarly and creative activities, and by participating in co-and extra-curricular activities that will prepare them to embark upon a career or pursue a post-baccalaureate degree.

By the time first-time freshmen reach the second semester of their third year (and transfer students their first year), students should be working with advisors to ensure that they are completing degree requirements needed in order to apply for graduation in the fall of their final year.

Students are expected to meet the following milestones along the pathway to their degree:

Advising for First-Time Students

  • First-time freshmen and transfer students are required to participate in academic advising before the beginning of their first year at Cal State LA
  • First-time freshmen are required to meet with an advisor during their first year to validate that they are on the right path and/or to explore alternatives.

Declaring a Major

  • First-time freshmen shall declare a major by the end of the second year; an option or concentration within the major must also be declared at that time if applicable.
  • First-time freshmen who are pre-majors and are not on track to be able to complete their major specific criteria by the end of their second year may be granted an extra semester under the following conditions:
    o    If they need an additional semester to pursue a major in their home college
    o    If they need an additional semester to complete pre-major requirements for a different major within their home college
  • Students who are not able to meet major specific criteria for a major in their home college will be referred to the University Academic Advisement Center as “exploring” students to find a major that they can complete in a timely manner.

Changing Majors or Adding a Major or Minor (i.e., changing degree objectives)

  • Students may only change degree objectives if they can complete those requirements in six years (first-time freshmen) or four years (transfer students).
  • Changing majors in or after their third year (for first-time freshmen) or in their first year or later year (for transfer students) is permitted under certain circumstances. Students seeking to do so should be able to complete their degree requirements within six years (for first-time freshmen) or four years (for transfer students). They should meet with an advisor to review a degree plan and discuss career goals. The advisor shall review and approve the degree plan to ensure that it does not exceed these limits.

Preparing for Graduation

  • First-time freshmen should apply for graduation during the fall term of their fourth year if they are planning to graduate in four years (during the fall term of their second year for transfer students);
  • First-time freshmen who have not applied for graduation by the end of their fifth year and transfer students who have not applied for graduation by the end of their third year may be required to meet with an advisor to agree upon a timely graduation plan.  In rare circumstances, should the advising plan prove unsuccessful, the University may initiate additional actions designed to facilitate graduation, including the following:
    o    Identification and implementation of appropriate course substitutions that will help the student complete degree requirements;
    o    Limiting students to one major that can be completed in a timely manner;
    o    Restricting enrollment to courses required to graduate in the major for which graduation is most likely to occur in a reasonable time;
    o    In the rare case of students who have met graduation requirements but have not applied for graduation, the University may automatically
          graduate them; such students will be charged graduation fee.

Exceptions: Some students, such as students who are not able to be continuously enrolled, or students who are unlikely to meet graduation requirements for their current majors, may require an exception to the limits in this policy. Students requesting an exception to the limits in this policy should file an appeal for an exception to Academic Policy to the AVP of Undergraduate Studies. The appeal must include a rationale, such as specific circumstances beyond the student’s control, and an advisor-approved plan to graduate.

Implementation of Advisement at Cal State, Los Angeles

(Senate: 10/22/91, 12/1/15; President: 11/5/91, 3/2/16)

In order to accomplish the goal of providing effective and successful advisement, the University shall:

  1. Maintain a coordinated, integrated system of advisement that supports the teaching and academic mission of the University, meets the needs of a culturally diverse student body, increases the retention of students, and promotes their educational success.
  2. Provide advisement services to students in a manner that encourages them to be responsible, informed and active participants in the achievement of their educational goals.
  3. Make available to students, especially prior to and during their first term, comprehensive information about student academic policies and procedures and advisement programs and services on campus.
  4. Provide faculty with the necessary resources, including training to ensure that they effectively perform their academic advisement responsibilities (including workshops, on-line training, mentors, manuals, resource guides, etc.).
  5. Maintain a University advisement center that provides advisement services to undecided majors and provides staff advisors with appropriate resources, including training and information on all aspects of academic advisement, including General Education.
  6. Support college advisement centers that provide advisement services for majors in that college and provide staff advisors with the necessary resources, including training and information on all aspects of academic advisement in their college, as well as General Education requirements.
  7. Establish an assessment plan to evaluate the effectiveness of academic advisement.

Entry Level Proficiency in Mathematics and English

(Senate: 8/27/85, 5/26/15; President: 9/9/85, 10/13/15; Editorial Amendment: 8/01)

The CSU requires all entering undergraduate students to demonstrate entry level proficiency in Mathematics and English. Entry level proficiency is determined in Mathematics by the CSU Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) examination, and in English by the CSU English Placement Test (EPT). A student might also demonstrate entry level proficiency in Mathematics and/or English by qualifying for one of the CSU approved ELM and/or EPT exemptions listed in the general catalog. Entry level proficiency in Mathematics is a prerequisite to enrollment in a course that satisfies the General Education Breadth Requirement in quantitative reasoning. Entry level proficiency in English is a prerequisite to enrollment in a course that satisfies the General Education Breadth Requirement in written English communication.

Students who do not demonstrate the requisite proficiency in Mathematics, English, or both shall be required to begin remediation prior to the term for which they have been admitted (by participating in the CSU Early Start Program), to continue to enroll in appropriate developmental courses/activities during the first term of enrollment and progress every term toward achieving entry level proficiency. Those who have not completed their developmental courses/activities within one year of matriculation are subject to disenrollment.

Proficiency scores on the English Placement Test (EPT) and the Entry Level Math examination (ELM) for placement in developmental courses shall be set by the Educational Policy Committee in accordance with CSU policy and/or guidelines and with recommendations from the Departments of English and Mathematics regarding GE basic subjects and developmental courses in their department.

Early Entrance Program

(Senate: 3/8/83, 3/21/17; President: 3/30/83, 4/7/17)

Purpose. The Early Entrance Program (EEP) provides the opportunity for highly gifted students between the ages of 11 and 15 to begin their college studies early at Cal State LA and bypass part or all of high school, and offers them the support and guidance necessary to prepare them for success at the university level.  

Admission Criteria. The criteria for EEP selection include maturity, motivation, and readiness for early college admission. Admission is based on a holistic assessment of the student's overall academic performance. The Admissions Committee considers various factors, including an interview with the applicant and the student's performance in the Honors Academy Summer Program. Those students whose academic and personal performances are judged adequate and appropriate during the Honors Academy and who receive final approval from the Admissions Committee and the Honors College are admitted as matriculated students for the fall term.

Academic Program. Upon admission, EEP students are assigned to a class cohort that is enrolled in special EEP honors classes for their first year and are required to attend regular meetings with EEP staff, and participate in scheduled EEP activities. EEP students maintain enrollment as full-time, degree-seeking undergraduates and are responsible for tuition and fees. EEP students are provisionally admitted to the Honors College. After completion of their first year with a gpa of 3.3 or above, EEP students will be recommended for formal admission to the Honors College with the approval of the director of the Honors College. If a student's gpa falls below 3.3 during their first year, the student will not be recommended for formal admission to the Honors College, but they may remain in EEP. They are, however, eligible to reapply to the Honors College in future terms should their gpa meet the threshold.

All Honors College policies apply to EEP students admitted to the Honors College. In addition, EEP students may not enroll in more than 15 units per semester if they earned a term gpa lower than 3.0 in the immediately preceding academic term.

Definition, Purpose, and Guidelines for Assessment

(Senate: 11/23/93, 12/1/98; President: 1/13/94, 2/1/99; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01)

General Definition of Assessment. Assessment is the process by which academic institutions evaluate student progress in learning and success in achieving educational goals. Assessment of courses, programs, and University activities, involve among other things, a measure of student outcomes.  Achievement may be assessed directly by measuring the changes, progress and/or gains that occur with students or indirectly, by using other indicators such as employment, employers' satisfaction and the percent of students who continue their education in graduate or professional programs.

Purpose of Assessment. The purpose of assessment is to assist in improving learning, teaching and academic advising at the individual, course, program and institutional levels. Assessment should be on-going, consistently applied, and based on teaching and learning goals and objectives.  Each academic department/division/school or program should utilize information from assessment to analyze and improve the effectiveness of its academic programs in such areas as curriculum, academic advisement, faculty development and student services. Data from outcomes assessment will not be used for cross-program rankings or comparisons of individual faculty.

Assessment Plan. Faculty, students and academic administrators shall work together to develop a campus strategy for coordinating and supporting student outcomes assessment activities that includes:

  1. development of an institutional plan for assessment;
  2. incorporation of evaluation of assessment data in the review of the effectiveness of the general education program;
  3. incorporation of the evaluation of assessment into program review procedures; and
  4. development of an assessment program to review the academic support programs (e.g. Writing Center, Library, Tutoring Center).

Assessment of Programs

Assessment is a significant portion of both the academic and academic support programs review.  It should assist in unit planning and improvement.  Program review shall include an evaluation of the extent of assessment measures have been used to document effectiveness and to improve the program.

Each unit shall develop, in consultation with the college dean or other college level entity as determined by the college, an assessment plan based on the goals and objectives of the unit, college and University.  The assessment plan shall identify the methods for evaluating the student outcomes of the program.  The plan shall include a description and justification for the selection of current evaluation practices, as well as a description of other assessment measures the unit might consider using in the future, and a timetable for implementation of the plan.  Assessment methods should generate both quantitative and qualitative information.  A summary of assessment activities shall be provided triennially to the college dean and included as part of the program review self-study.

The General Education Subcommittee, working with units that offer courses in General Education, shall be responsible for assessing the General Education program. The program review of General Education shall include an evaluation of the extent to which student outcomes assessments have been utilized to improve the program.

Administration and Students

Academic Administrators shall support faculty and departments by providing resources for a reference library, workshops and other appropriate activities.

Student input shall normally be sought in the development of assessment activities of academic programs and departments/divisions/schools.

Academic Senate | Faculty Handbook | Chapter 4 TOC | Back to Top