Chapter IV

Curricular Policies

Undergraduate Credit for Graduate Courses

(Senate: 11/15/69, 7/10/79, 4/17/07, 5/26/09; President: 12/31/69, 7/31/79, 5/11/07, 6/16/09; Editorial Amendment: 8/01, 1/21/15)

Under special academic circumstances as specified below, an academic program, department, division or school, may approve the granting of baccalaureate credit for 5000-level course work to a maximum of two courses not to exceed a total of six semester units.  Academic credits earned under this rule may not be used to satisfy requirements towards M.A. and M.S. degrees awarded by California State University, Los Angeles except through integrated degree programs.

Additionally, the following conditions must be met.

  • senior standing(completion of 90 semester units) at the start of the term in which the course will be taken;
  • a grade point average adequate for admission in classified standing to the master's program in that major;
  • permission of the instructor teaching the course, the student's advisor, and the chair or director of the department, division or school offering the course.

Graduate Course Credit for Undergraduate Students

(Senate: 11/15/69, 7/10/79, 7/10/07; President: 12/31/69, 7/31/79, 10/30/07; Editorial Amendment: 8/01, 1/21/15)

Undergraduate students with 90 semester units completed may take for graduate credit a maximum of nine semester units in courses beyond the minimum requirements for the baccalaureate degree, provided they have maintained a grade point average of 2.75.  Graduate credit is allowed for courses numbered in the 4000 and 5000 series only.  Enrollment in any course for which graduate credit is requested must be approved in advance by the instructor teaching the course, the student's adviser and the coordinator/chair/director of the program/department/division/school offering the course.

The approved application must be delivered to the Graduation Office, Administration 409, during the semester before that in which courses are to be taken.

Policy Regarding Collections of Native American Burial Remains and Associated Grave Artifacts

(Senate: 10/5/93; President: 11/3/93; Editorial Amendment: 1/21/15)

California State University, Los Angeles, recognizes that ancient human remains have cultural as well as scientific and historic values and that American Indian concerns about human burials should be taken into consideration. As of August 17, 1993, it has been certified that Cal State L.A. has no collection of Native American burial remains and associated funerary objects or cultural patrimony. If, in future research or in any other endeavors, any of the above is discovered by University personnel, after proper and necessary identification, the following will be adhered to:

  1. For future applicability, Cal State L.A. will not retain any discovered Native American burial remains or associated or unassociated funerary objects. Any and all remains and associated grave artifacts that are uncovered by Cal State L.A. personnel will be inventoried and deposited with government agencies following state and federal regulations. Proposed federal regulations for the Native American Graves Protection Law (Public Law 101601) will be adhered to.
  2. Human skeletal remains and associated grave artifacts that are discovered will be treated with care and respect in accordance with the best possible conservation techniques.
  3. It is noted that human skeletal remains excavated from state or private land must comply with state law (Section 7050.5 of the State Health and Safety Code and Section 5097.5 et. seq. of the State Public Resources Code, Division 5, Chapter 1.75, added by amendments, Senate Bill 297 of 1982, Chapter 1492.).

Repeating Courses, Repeating Courses for Grade Replacement and Repeating Courses with "Grades Averaged"

(Senate: 2/22/83, 10/24/95, 4/14/98, 2/6/01, 4/24/07, 10/19/10, 5/8/12, 5/31/16; President: 4/7/83, 12/1/95, 6/9/98, 10/19/01, 5/11/07, 11/18/10, 7/10/12; 7/21/16; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01)

Unless otherwise indicated in the University Catalog, undergraduate students may repeat a course no more than two times (a maximum of 3 times taking the same course). Undergraduate students who wish to repeat an individual course a second time must create an action plan with the appropriate academic advisor and receive approval from the college associate dean or designee of their major course of study. These limits apply to courses completed at Cal State LA, whether as a matriculated student or through the College of Professional and Global Education or Open University.

Repeating courses under this policy does not result in the removal of the original record and grade from the transcript.

Individual colleges and departments/divisions/schools/programs may have additional restrictions on repeating courses. 

Unless otherwise indicated in the University Catalog, undergraduate students may not repeat for credit any course already completed with a grade of C (2.00 grade points) or better and post-baccalaureate or graduate students may not repeat for credit any course already completed with a grade of B (3.00 grade points) or better.

Repeating Courses for Grade Replacement

Grade replacement is the circumstance under which the new grade replaces the former grade in terms of the calculation of GPA.  Grade replacement shall not be applicable to courses for which the original grade was a result of a finding of academic dishonesty.

Students may replace up to a maximum of 16 semester units of repeated coursework and this policy is limited to courses taken at Cal State LA, whether taken in a matriculated status or as coursework, completed through the College of Professional and Global Education or Open University. Grade replacement shall occur only when the same or equivalent course is taken a second or third time at Cal State LA.  For purposes of grade replacement, a repeated course is considered equivalent to the original course if the only alteration to the course is its name and/or course number. In the case of different courses with similar content, students must petition the chair of the department offering the original course to verify that the course is an appropriate replacement. In cases where the original course carries a different number of units than the course that will be replacing it, the number of units earned and calculated will be based on the new course.

In computing grade point averages for graduation with a baccalaureate from this institution, units attempted, units earned (if any), and grade points (if any) for up to two previous attempts of the same or equivalent course shall be excluded when conditions specified in this policy are met. 

Repeating Courses with "Grades Averaged"

In addition to the 16 semester units for which grade replacement is permitted, undergraduate students may repeat 12 semester units with the grade earned in the repeated course calculated into the student's overall grade-point average.  The original grade is not replaced by the repeated grade; both grades are used for the calculation of the grade point average and remain on the student's records.

Policy for Establishing Graduate Program Admissions Procedures

(Senate: 5/24/16; President: 10/5/16)

All departments must establish written admissions procedures for their graduate programs. These procedures should address new applicants and matriculated graduate students.  In addition graduate admissions procedures must be submitted to the college graduate dean (i.e., associate dean of the college) for approval and filed with the Dean of Graduate Studies. Any changes to the admissions procedures must be submitted prior to the admissions cycle to be implemented. Admissions procedures and criteria may not be changed during an admissions cycle. Department graduate admissions procedures must include, at minimum, the following:

  1. Admissions requirements that are published in the university catalog. 
  2. Establishment of an Admissions Committee with at least two faculty members.
  3. A description of the application review process including:
  1. how applicants are evaluated,
  2. how decisions are recorded (e.g., checklist, rubric),
  3. a statement that a complete record (written or electronic) of evaluation for each applicant (from 3b) will be retained (the format could be individual evaluations or a summary table),
  4. a timeline for review of applications and recommendation,
  5. a process for resolving split decisions, and
  6. a management plan for waitlists, if applicable.
  1. Procedure and timeline for notification of admissions recommendations to domestic and international applicants.
  2. Procedure for monitoring and resolving conditional admission status:
  1. how conditions are established
  2. how conditions are communicated to applicants
  1. A statement that special action graduate admissions will conform to existing policy.
  2. A statement that applications will be kept in a secure location (room/virtual space) and stored separately from the academic file of all admitted students for a time period consistent with Campus Records Retention Policy.

Admission to 5000-Level Courses

(Senate: 3/5/97, 7/10/07; President: 4/22/97, 10/30/07; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01, 1/21/15)

Students admitted with postbaccalaureate classified, graduate classified or graduate conditionally classified standing may enroll in 5000-level courses.  Colleges and programs/departments/divisions/schools may impose additional restrictions.  For all programs, no more than 20% of a student's total units may be completed at the 5000-level prior to the formal approval of the student's official program by the student's principal graduate adviser, the head of the student's academic unit, and the student's college graduate dean.  In addition, all such students must have completed either the prerequisites for the course or equivalent competency.

Other students may enroll in 5000-level courses with the following restrictions:

  1. Postbaccalaureate unclassified students may register for 5000-level courses if the department/division chair or school director determines that there is space available.  These students must have satisfied all prerequisites for the course and have obtained approval of the instructor, the principal graduate adviser, and the head of the academic unit offering the course.
  2. Undergraduate students may, with prior approval and subject to policies governing graduate credit for undergraduate students, enroll in a maximum of 9 units of 5000-level courses.  See "Graduate Course Credit for Undergraduate Students."
  3. Matriculated Cal State L.A. students may not enroll in Open University courses.   Students who are not matriculated at Cal State L.A. may enroll in 5000-level courses through the Open University (concurrent enrollment) Program administered by the College of Professional and Global Education.  These students must have satisfied all prerequisites for the course and have obtained approval of the instructor and the head of the academic unit offering the course.

Special Major for Master's Degrees: Admission to Special Major Program

(Senate: 8/7/79, 4/29/80, 4/17/90; President: 8/31/79, 6/30/80, 5/9/90; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01, 1/21/15)

In addition to meeting minimum University requirements for admission to graduate standing, applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree in an area cognate to the areas of the proposed special major, must have a minimum grade point average of 2.75 in the last 60 semester or 90 quarter units, and must meet all college requirements and such department/division/school requirements as course prerequisites, test scores, and grade point average for the master's degrees of the colleges and departments/divisions/schools in which course work or the special major is proposed. Special majors are approved on an individual basis. If coursework is to be taken in departments/divisions/schools in more than one college, students must make formal written application to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. If course work is to be taken in departments/divisions/schools within one college, students are required to make formal written application to the college graduate dean. All applications must include the following:

  1. A clear and concisely stated rationale for pursuing a special major and an indication of the professional/academic objectives to be achieved. This rationale must include evidence clearly indicating that the special major program could not be accommodated within any existing approved master's program on campus.
  2. A proposed list of available courses chosen from two or more departments/divisions /schools totaling a minimum of 30 units, of which at least 15 must be 5000-level.
  3. An indication of whether a comprehensive examination or thesis or project will be used to complete the graduate course of study. If a thesis or project is proposed, a preliminary description of the thesis topic or research project to be included. If a comprehensive examination is proposed, an indication of the area in which the student will be examined is to be included.
  4. The names and areas of specialization of at least two faculty members representative of those who might consent to serve on the advisory committee for such a degree program.
  5. If coursework to be taken is offered in more than one college, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research must also approve the program. The student's program is subject to University graduate procedures and regulations that govern all graduate degree offerings.

Written English Competency Requirement

(Senate: 4/3/84; 9/23/92 [EA], 5/21/96, 10/14/15 [EA], 5/9/17; President: 4/19/84; 11/18/92, 8/12/96, 1/27/16, 5/24/17; Editorial Amendment: 8/01, 2/8/18 [EA])

All CSU students subject to degree requirements listed in the 1977-78 and subsequent catalogs are required to demonstrate competence in writing skills as a requirement for the bachelor's degree. The development of competence in written English is a key institutional learning outcome that depends on the active participation of all University faculty. The main responsibility for teaching English Composition has historically resided within the English department, but because the University’s written English competency requirements span a student’s academic career, all faculty play an important role in helping students become effective writers.

At Cal State L.A., undergraduate students demonstrate competence in written English by meeting the following requirements:

First-Year Writing Requirement—completing successfully a first-year writing course that satisfies the CSU General Education Block A Written Communication requirement;

Critical Thinking/Composition Requirement—completing successfully a second course in written English that satisfies the Cal State L.A. General Education Block A Critical Thinking/Composition requirement;

GWAR— students will normally satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) by completing the Upper-Division Disciplinary Writing Requirement with a grade of "C" or better; they may also satisfy it by successfully completing a university approved upper division university writing course that has received a GWAR designation; students who previously satisfied the GWAR by passing the WPE under the prior policy will have also satisfied the requirement;

Writing-Intensive (WI) Courses Requirement—completing successfully at least two writing-intensive (WI) courses, at least one of which is in their major degree program;

Upper-Division Disciplinary Writing Requirement—completing successfully one upper-division course in their major degree program that emphasizes practices, conventions, and strategies appropriate to writing in the discipline, which if approved as a writing-intensive course can also count as one of the writing-intensive courses.

Lower Division Writing Requirements

Completion of the year-long course sequence or the one semester course or a transferrable CSU A2 Written Communications course with a grade of “C-” or better satisfies the first-year writing requirement. Completion of an approved Critical Thinking/Composition (GE A3) course or a transferrable CSU A3 Critical Thinking course with a grade of “C-” or better satisfies the Critical Thinking/Composition requirement.

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

Cal State L.A. students pursuing the baccalaureate who are subject to requirements of the 1984-85 or subsequent catalogs are required to satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). The GWAR is normally met by passing the Upper-Division Disciplinary Writing Requirement course with a grade of "C" or better. They may also satisfy it by successfully completing a university approved upper division university writing course that has received a GWAR designation; students who previously satisfied the GWAR by passing the WPE under the prior policy will have also satisfied this requirement.

Writing-Intensive (WI) Courses Requirement

Writing-Intensive courses are defined in the policy “Definition, Philosophy, Student Learning Outcomes and Criteria for General Education Breadth Requirements.”

Upper-Division Disciplinary Writing Requirement

Students will be required to complete successfully at least one upper-division course in their major degree program that focuses on teaching the practices, strategies, expectations and conventions of writing in English particular to their disciplines. Completion of GE Block A is a prerequisite for this course. Satisfactory completion of the Upper-Division Disciplinary Writing Requirement with a grade of "C" or better meets the graduate writing assessment requirement.

Graduate Writing Requirement

(Senate: 4/3/84, 8/5/86, 8/23/88, 9/23/92[EA], 5/4/99, 6/2/15, 4/4/17; President: 4/19/84, 5/9/87, 10/7/88, 11/18/92, 8/17/99, 10/13/15, 4/19/17; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01)

All CSU students are required by Trustee policy to demonstrate competence in writing as a requirement for all advanced degrees. All post-baccalaureate students at Cal State L.A. who are subject to requirements of the 1984-85 or any later Catalog and who are pursuing a graduate degree are required to satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement. Graduate students are considered to have met the GWAR requirement upon admission to the university if they (1) earned a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university where English is the medium of instruction; or (2) attained a score of 41 or better on the writing portion of the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) or a score of 4 on the analytic writing portion of the GRE or the GMAT.

Graduate students must satisfy this requirement before completing 12 semester units. Graduate students may take the writing proficiency exam once. Students who do not pass are required to pass the designated GWAR course. Students who do not satisfy the GWAR requirement within their first 12 units may be subject to a registration hold. Students must satisfy this Graduate Writing Requirement in order to be Advanced to Candidacy.

Departments/divisions/schools may require of their majors additional discipline-based coursework in writing.

A student who has satisfied the Graduate Writing Requirement shall continue to be certified with no time limit on such certification. A Post-baccalaureate unclassified student is not required to satisfy this Graduate Writing Requirement.

Study Load for Undergraduate Students

(Senate: 11/30/76; President: 12/6/76; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01, 1/21/15)

The recommended normal full-time undergraduate study load is 15 semester units.  Students earning a C average or better may register for 18 semester units with department/division/school approval.  Authorization for more than 18 units requires prior approval of an advisor and the department/division chair or school director.  Students on scholastic probation must limit their study loads to 12 semester units or fewer.  A student on probation may petition the University for a greater study load with the approval of an academic advisor and department/division chair or school director.

Full-Time Unit Load for Graduate Students

(Senate: 8/26/86, 9/28/16, 9/22/20; President: 10/6/86, 4/19/17, 11/5/20;  Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01, 1/21/15)

For the purposes of assigning University enrollment status in a given term (see University Catalog regarding Special Sessions), graduate students will be considered full-time if they carry a unit load of at least 8 units of graduate program courses or other courses approved by their graduate advisor. Upon the recommendation of a student's major department/division/school and approval by the appropriate college dean, a student enrolled in any of the following department/division/school courses may be certified as full-time with fewer than 8 units: 5970, 5990, 5995, 6990 or 5960 (Note: For financial aid purposes, students must be registered in at least one unit-bearing course in addition to 5960 to be considered full-time). The maximum unit load for students working towards a graduate degree is 16 units per semester.  Authorization to enroll in more than 16 units requires a petition approved by the student's major department/division chair or school director and the appropriate college dean. Graduate student study load for the purposes of assigning veteran benefits or for the international student status may have additional requirements or restrictions.

Requirements for Additional Master's Degree or Option within a Master's Degree

(Senate: 8/27/91, 2/8/94; President: 9/19/91, 3/11/94'; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01, 1/21/15)

Students who have earned a master's degree at Cal State L.A. and wish to obtain a subsequent master's degree or to add an additional option to a previously completed master's degree from this University must complete an approved program of at least 30 semester units.  At least half of the units must be new work not included on the previous degree or option.  The remainder can be from the previous degree provided that the courses have been completed within seven years of the award date of the degree and are otherwise eligible for inclusion.

Students who are currently enrolled in a master's degree program at Cal State L.A. may concurrently complete an additional option under the same degree if the department/division/school and college concerned verify that the additional option requires significantly different knowledge, skill and coursework.  The additional option must include a minimum of 15 semester units of coursework that is specific to that option (not included in the previous option) and an appropriate culminating experience (thesis/project or comprehensive examination).  An approved program plan for each option is required.

Students who have earned a master's degree at an institution other than Cal State L.A. may petition in order to apply for an identical degree at Cal State L.A.  Students must provide extraordinary justification and receive approval of the department/division/school and college concerned before entering the program.

Integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programs

(Senate: 5/26/09; President: 6/16/09; Editorial Amendment: 4/15)

Integrated bachelor’s and master’s degree programs provide an accelerated route to the attainment of the master’s degree.  An accelerated route may be appropriate for certain undergraduate students who have maintained an excellent academic record and have participated in, or plan to participate in, research or other creative, scholarly or professional activities in their senior year.  It is expected that students selected to pursue an integrated bachelor’s and master’s degree program will have demonstrated through the application process their intellectual maturity and the ability to think and work independently.

An integrated bachelor’s and master’s degree program allows a student to count up to 12 units of course work towards both degrees, excluding Directed Study units, thereby decreasing the total number of units required for both degrees.  For example, an integrated bachelor’s and master’s degree program could require 138 units total instead of the 150 units total that would be required to complete a separate bachelor’s degree that requires 120 units and a separate master’s degree that requires 30 units.

Integrated bachelor’s and master’s degrees may be approved either for degrees within the same academic unit or between closely related programs with existing bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Eligibility for Integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programs

The following are minimum eligibility requirements.  Individual programs may set more rigorous requirements to encourage applications from candidates most likely to succeed in graduate study.

1. Senior standing (satisfactory completion of a minimum of 90 units) by the time the integrated program commences.

2. Minimum 3.0 GPA in all coursework in the major completed at the time of application.

3. Successful completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).

4. Eligibility requirements that are at least as rigorous as the eligibility requirements for the non-integrated master’s degree program. However, programs are highly encouraged to establish more rigorous requirements in order to limit the program to highly qualified candidates.

Application to Integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programs

1. Approved integrated programs will establish their own procedures for review of applications and acceptance of applicants.

2. Graduate Degree Study Plans are prepared and submitted to the appropriate College Associate Dean prior to completion of 10 semester units on the Study Plan.  Study Plans may contain up to 12 units of 4000-level coursework that count towards bachelor’s degree requirements, although at least 50% of the units for the master’s degree (including those units that count towards the bachelor’s degree) must be at the 5000 level.

3. The Office of the Associate Dean submits a request to the Registrar’s Office to change the degree objective from BA or BS to the appropriate combination of bachelor’s and master’s degrees and to change the student’s classification to Graduate.

Retention in the Integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Program

To be retained in the program students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate courses in their major.

Awarding of Degrees

1. Both degrees are awarded at the same time.  The degrees are awarded when requirements for both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees are met.

2. If a student fails to complete the requirements for the master’s degree or opts out of the integrated program, the bachelor’s degree may be granted when all requirements for that degree are met.  In such cases the student’s degree objective must first be changed back to BA or BS and the classification back to undergraduate.

Degree Program Modification

Programs must submit proposals for integrated bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for curriculum approval.  Such proposals must include eligibility requirements and application procedures.

Upper Division Credit for Lower Division Course Work

(Senate: 6/30/96; President: 9/4/96; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01)

Students in a major may be given upper division subject credit for lower division courses taken at another accredited college and not required to make up the upper division units in the major program if:

  • the courses are deemed equivalent in content and level of presentation by the department/division/school
  • the courses are offered by the department/division/school
  • the department/division/school has agreed to this practice and it has been approved at the college level

Master's Student Enrollment and Master's Credit for CSULA Doctoral Level Courses

(Senate: 10/10/06; President: 11/6/06)

Master's students will be permitted to enroll in CSULA doctoral level classes subject to the following conditions:

  • classified standing in a master's program
  • GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • consent of instructor or advisor
  • completion of at least 16 units of 500-level coursework

With advisor approval, a maximum of twelve units of doctoral-level courses can be credited towards a master's program.

University Comprehensive Examinations

(Senate: 4/23/96, 5/17/05; President: 7/24/96, 6/28/05)

Each program offering the comprehensive examination for the master's degree shall implement, maintain in writing, and make readily available to students explicit current guidelines that address both content and procedures relating to the examination.  These guidelines shall include at least the following information: eligibility for the exam, registration procedures, exam frequency, exam format, method of administration, the nature of the exam questions, exam length, number of attempts allowed, grading procedures, and timeline for student notification of grades. All comprehensive examinations must conform to the following requirement of Title 5, i.e.,

"A comprehensive examination is an assessment of the students' ability to integrate the knowledge of the area, show critical and independent thinking and demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. The results of the examination evidences independent thinking, appropriate organization, critical analysis and accuracy of documentation.  A record of the examination questions and responses shall be maintained in accordance with the records retention policy of the California State University.

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