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Master's Degree Requirements

Master's Degree Requirements Page Navigation

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 information 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 coursework taken at any accredited institution subsequent to admission to the master's program; all coursework 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 postbaccalaureate 400/500/600-level courses as follows:

  • At least 18 units in the program discipline.
  • 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.
  • Not more than 9 semester units combined of transfer and CSU, Chico Open University credit (correspondence courses and University of California Extension coursework are not acceptable).
  • Not more than a total of 10 units of Independent Study (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).
  • Not more than 10 units graded CR/NC; no courses in the major department graded CR/NC, with the exceptions of Independent Study (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 a master's degree in its home department 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 Office of Graduate Studies early in the program.

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

  • 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 Office of Graduate Studies 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.
  • 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 Office of Graduate Studies 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.
  • Comprehensive Examination and Supplementary Component (research paper, professional paper, 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 Office of Graduate Studies 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 in Art

Modifications of the general master's degree requirements have been approved for the terminal MFA degree in Art related to transfer credit limits and inclusion of coursework from a previous graduate degree. Please refer to the Art (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 link provides a list that summarizes the programs available. Information on each of the degrees is provided by clicking on the academic program name.
Graduate Degree Programs and Options

* Note: No applicants will be accepted to these programs because admissions have been suspended indefinitely.

  • MS in Accountancy (Business Administration) *
  • MA in Geography (Geography and Planning) *
    • Option in Environmental Policy and Planning*

Postbaccalaureate Certificate Programs

CSU, Chico offers the following postbaccalaureate 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 referenced in parentheses.

  • Advanced Study in History (History)
  • Community College Faculty and Adult Education (Education)*
  • Enterprise Information Systems (Business Administration)
  • International Business (Business Administration)
  • Teaching College-Level Writing (English)
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Education)

*Note: No applicants will be accepted to these programs or options because admissions have been suspended indefinitely.

Fellowships and Assistantships

The Office of Graduate Studies currently administers the Graduate Equity Fellowship Program for underserved master's degree 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 Office of Graduate Studies also administers the California Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program and the Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program. The California Pre-Doctoral Scholars 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 Chancellor's 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.

For additional information and applications for all of the above programs visit the Graduate Studies website, or contact a campus coordinator.

Many master's programs also have Graduate Assistant 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.

Catalog Cycle:14