Graduate Degree and Program Requirements

Students pursuing a doctorate degree in the Educational Leadership program should contact the Office of Doctoral Studies at (909) 537-5651 for information on program requirements.

The following standards apply to all master's degree approved graduate programs:

  1. The program must include at least 30 semester units of upper-division and graduate course work (i.e., courses numbered 3000-7999) taken while in post baccalaureate standing. At least 70% of this work must be in courses organized primarily for graduate students (courses numbered 5000-6999).
  2. The program must include 70% or more semester units of course work taken in residence in the program on this campus. Previous work taken in summer session on this campus may be counted as residence credit. Credit by examination and credit for extension work are not considered as residence study.
  3. Except for students with coursework from accredited graduate social work programs, the program may not include more than 30% total program units in extension and transfer credit from other colleges. California State University, San Bernardino will not consider for transfer credit course work from an institution which will not accept that work in its own advanced degree program.
  4. The program must follow the department curriculum in effect at the time the student is officially admitted (classified) in the major program or at the time the program is filed with the program graduate coordinator. Recommendations for any substitutions to the program must be approved in writing by the program coordinator and attached to the program.
  5. All courses taken to satisfy the requirements for the degree must be completed with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 ("B") or better, except that a course in which no letter grade is assigned shall not be used in computing the grade point average.
  6. The program must include only courses with grades of "C" (2.0) or better. (Grades of "C-" (1.7) or less cannot be used.)
  7. The program may not include more than 9 semester units of work taken in unclassified status or before classified status was attained.
  8. The program must be completed within a seven-year period. No more than seven years may elapse between the time of registration for the earliest course listed on the program and the completion of all requirements for the degree. Some programs must be completed within a four- or five-year period. (See specific program requirements.)
  9. Courses numbered 1000 to 2999 and in the X1000 to X9999 series cannot be applied toward a master's degree. Courses taken to satisfy quantitative or qualitative deficiencies cannot be applied toward a master's degree.
  10. A course taken at another college with a grade such as CR, S, or P cannot be accepted on a master's degree study plan unless such a course with such a grade is accepted by that college or university toward a graduate degree.
  11. The Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) (FAM 841.97) must be satisfied before a graduate student is awarded a master's or doctoral degree. Demonstrated competency in writing skills is a California State University requirement.  The graduate program shall determine the manner by which a student satisfies the GWAR by requiring one of the following options: 
    1. The student shall have taken an existing upper division writing intensive course and attain a grade of B or better; or
    2. The student shall achieve an acceptable standardized test score, such as the Analytical Writing subtest of the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), as determined by the program; or
    3. The student shall complete a program-specific writing intensive course with a grade no lower than a B-; or
    4. The student shall submit a paper(s) that receive(s) a passing score as evaluated in the following four areas: A) Integration/Critical Analysis, B) Content/Organization, C) Style/Format, and D)Grammar/Usage; or
    5. The student shall complete a master's thesis or project, or a doctoral dissertation. 

Contact the Office of Graduate Studies at (909) 537-5058 for questions about the graduate writing requirement as it relates to post baccalaureate students.

  1. Graduation Requirement in Writing Proficiency. All students must demonstrate competency in writing skills as a requirement for graduation. Information on currently available ways to meet this graduation requirement may be obtained from each program office. Each program has identified what the student must do to satisfy this requirement.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students pursuing an advanced degree through the university should prepare and file an official document titled "an approved graduate program plan" with the department from which they plan to receive the degree. This program plan lists the specific requirements to be completed before the degree can be awarded. It should be filed after completing at least 12 semester units but no later than the semester before graduation. It must be approved by the student's major advisor and the graduate coordinator of the student's program. Once the program is accepted and approved, the student is officially advanced to degree candidacy.

Standards for Graduate Study

In general, graduate study deals with more complex ideas and demands more sophisticated techniques, searching analysis and creative thinking than undergraduate study. Extensive research is required in both primary and secondary sources, and high-quality writing is expected. The student is advised to consider these factors when deciding the amount of course work to be undertaken during any one semester. Post-baccalaureate students will be held to all prerequisites for all courses.

All students are required to maintain a 3.0 ("B") grade-point average in all courses taken to satisfy the requirements for the degree, except that a course in which no letter grade is assigned shall not be used in computing the grade point average. Students should check with their program for program-specific requirements.

Basic teaching credentials, single or multiple subject, accept no grade lower than a "B-" in all work attempted with the exception of the designated subjects credential which requires a 2.5 grade point average in all work. Students should check with their program for program-specific requirements.

Academic Probation. Failure to maintain the appropriate grade point average will result in the student's being placed on probation. Students on probation must rectify their grade point deficiencies by the end of the semester of notification of probationary status; students who do not raise their GPA may be subject to disqualification. To apply for reinstatement to a graduate degree or credential program after disqualification, the student must petition the appropriate program graduate committee.

A student who has been disqualified from a master's degree program may be admitted to another program only on the recommendation of the department to which the student has applied and with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Nursing students seeking a second bachelor's degree must maintain a 2.5 grade point average in all work attempted. Students in this category who are dismissed from the university for failure to maintain these standards must petition the Dean of Graduate Studies for readmission to the university.

Administrative Academic Disqualification

A graduate student may also be placed on probation or may be disqualified by appropriate campus authorities for unsatisfactory scholastic progress regardless of cumulative grade point average or progress in the program. Such action shall be limited to those arising from repeated withdrawal, failure to progress toward an educational objective and noncompliance with an academic requirement and shall be consistent with guidelines issued by the chancellor.

Retroactive Withdrawal

Requests for withdrawal from a course(s) following the close of the term (retroactive withdrawal) will be considered only for: accident or illness (physical or mental), serious personal or family problems, or military transfer. Documentation is required. In addition, extenuating circumstances must be shown to have prevented withdrawal in a timelier fashion. Partial withdrawal of grades during a term is not permissible for any reason. All courses must be withdrawn and will be noted with a "W" on the official transcript. Lack of awareness of the withdrawal procedures is not an extenuating circumstance.

Employment-related reasons are not acceptable.

Requests by graduate students, unclassified post baccalaureate and credential candidates must be made in writing to the Dean of Graduate Studies, CE-356. Contact the Office of Graduate Studies for the appropriate form at Documentation is required.

Full Time Academic Load

Full time academic status for a post-baccalaureate or graduate student is six units of 5000 through 7000-level courses, following the unit loads used for veteran certification (see Enrollment Verification).

Course Overloads: To enroll in more than 15 units in any one semester, a student must have approval of the graduate coordinator of his/her graduate program. Course Overload Permit Cards are available at the Office of the Registrar Information Center, UH-171 and from the department office. Additional units may be added once "Late Registration" begins, if classes remain open and the overload is approved. Students who must work to support themselves, who have time-consuming family responsibilities, who commute long distances, or who are in other difficult circumstances should, in conjunction with their advisors, weigh these factors and alter their course loads accordingly. Financial aid recipients should consult the Financial Aid Office for their definition of eligibility.

Late Registration

The dates of late registration each term will be announced in the Class Schedule. The Academic Calendar lists registration dates. Late registrants may find themselves handicapped in arranging their programs due to closed classes. A $25 late registration fee is required.

Adding Classes

During the Open Enrollment and Schedule Adjustment period (see Class Schedule for specific dates) students may add classes by following the Registration Instructions detailed in the Class Schedule. It is important to note that students who add a class or classes after the first scheduled class session may find themselves at a distinct disadvantage in terms of doing well in the class(es). Students should also be aware that they are responsible for any material they may have missed as a result of adding after the first day.

Grade/Grievance/Complaint Procedures

Student Affairs website

Information concerning academic or nonacademic matters may be obtained from the Office of Advising and Academic Services. Generally, a grade grievance must be initiated by the student within no more than 40 calendar days after the grade is recorded. The complete policy statement is available from the Assistant Vice President of Undergraduate Studies, AD-183.

Information concerning non-academic grievances and discrimination complaints against the university and its employees by a student may be obtained from the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, UH-231, the Women's Resource Center, the Adult Re-Entry Center, the Cross-Cultural Center, Vice Presidents' offices, and College Deans' offices. A grievance or complaint must be filed within no more than 40 calendar days after the student learned or reasonably should have learned of the occurrence of the grievance/complaint event.

Election of Graduation Requirements

A student remaining in continuous attendance in regular sessions and continuing in the same graduate curriculum in the university may, for the purposes of meeting graduation requirements, elect to meet

  1. those requirements in effect at the time the student is admitted into a formal graduate program and enters the curriculum, or
  2. those requirements in effect at the time of graduation from the university.

Substitutions for discontinued courses may be authorized or required by the department or college graduate committee and by the graduate program coordinator.

Changing Master's Degree Programs and Concentrations

Each master's program and/or concentration may have its own professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards for graduate study, including qualifying examinations. All graduate students desiring to change (or add) a master’s, concentration or credential program must submit either a Graduate Change of Program form or a new application on CSU Apply. Please contact the Office of Graduate Studies, CE-356 for information regarding changing or adding a specific graduate program.

Two Master's Degrees

Students who wish to secure two different master's degrees may do so if the program allows it. At the discretion of the program, credits from one master's degree may be applicable to a second master's degree up to the maximum number of transfer units allowed within each program. In no case shall a student be awarded a given master's degree more than once. Students interested in obtaining two master's degrees should contact Graduate Studies at

Culminating Experience: Examination, Thesis, or Project

Comprehensive Examinations. Each program that offers the comprehensive examination for the master's degree shall implement and maintain in writing explicit guidelines that address both content and procedures relating to the examination. All comprehensive examinations must conform to the following requirement of Title 5, i.e., "A comprehensive examination is an assessment of the student's 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 provide evidence of 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."

Students must fulfill all department/division requirements for the written and/or oral comprehensive examinations. Such requirements include, but are not limited to, the date and time for the comprehensive examinations, length of testing, topics covered, and the number of questions for the comprehensive examinations.

Students whose program requires a comprehensive examination must declare to their major department/division, at least one semester in advance, their intent to take it, obtain department/division permission, and register for the appropriate comprehensive examination course in their major discipline. Students must consult with their program advisor regarding specific requirements for the comprehensive examination. Those who do not pass the comprehensive examination must fulfill any department, division, and/or college requirements for subsequent enrollments in these examinations.

Continuous Enrollment (Comprehensive Exam). Students who have completed all course work and are preparing for the comprehensive examination must remain in continuous enrollment until their degree is granted. To maintain continuous enrollment, students must register each term for the appropriate continuous enrollment course (Continuous Enrollment for Graduate Candidacy Standing) in their major discipline.

Thesis, Project, and Dissertation Requirements. Students who choose to write a thesis, project, or dissertation as their culminating experience work with a thesis, project, or dissertation committee to meet the specific requirements for their program. For document formatting requirements and archiving procedures, students should consult A Guide to Thesis, Project, and Dissertation Format available online on the Graduate Studies website. 

Continuous Enrollment (Thesis and Project). Students who have completed all course work and are working on the thesis/project must register for the thesis or project course required in their major discipline for the master's degree. IMPORTANT NOTE: Students register ONLY ONE TIME for the thesis/project course. If the thesis/project is not completed in the semester in which the student first registered for the thesis/project course, then the student will receive a grade of RP (Report in Progress) for the course for that semester. The RP grade in the course remains until the thesis/project is completed and approved by the student's thesis/project advisor and the Dean of Graduate Studies, at which time the student's professor will submit a "Change of Grade" form, replacing the RP grade with a letter grade. 

In addition, students who have completed all course work and are enrolled in a thesis/project course must also register every semester for one of the 6990-6996 courses (Continuous Enrollment for Graduate Candidacy Standing) in their major discipline until their degree is granted. Earned units are not degree-applicable nor will they qualify for financial aid. This is a variable unit course, see the fee schedule.

Students in the doctoral program will follow their program's procedures for continuous enrollment.

Once officially accepted and processed, master's theses and projects are made available to the public through CSUSB ScholarWorks.

Graduation Requirement Check

Degree candidates must submit an online Graduation Requirement Check (Grad Check) via myCoyote at least one term prior to the end of the term of their expected graduation. Graduate students must request a Grad Check at least one term prior to their expected graduation and have been advanced to candidacy in order to submit an online Grad Check via myCoyote.

Students not completing their degree in the term applied for will need to refile and pay for the later term. Access to registration for terms subsequent to the stated graduation term will not be granted until the graduation check is refiled.


Special Events and Guest Services- Commencement Office
(909) 537-7360

Participation in commencement activities is voluntary.

For dates and deadlines, please visit

Master's and Doctoral Students

To participate in commencement, candidates completing a master's or doctoral degree must file a grad check AND meet the eligibility requirements specified by their program. For the specific requirements, candidates should consult their program coordinator.

Credential Students

Students who complete a Multiple Subject, Single Subject, Education Specialist Basic credential, Pupil Personnel Services, or Designated Subjects credential can participate in a Credential Recognition Ceremony rather than commencement. The Credential Recognition Ceremony on the San Bernardino campus will be held in May. Specific information can be obtained from the College of Education, Student Services Office, CE-102, (909) 537-5609. The Credential Recognition Ceremony on the Palm Desert Campus will be held in May at PDC. Specific information can be obtained from the Palm Desert Campus College of Education Office at (760) 341-2883.

Change in Approved Graduate Program

If during graduate study a master's candidate wishes to change the approved program by adding or removing a course, this may be done under certain circumstances. A request for such a change must be initiated by the student and approved by the graduate coordinator.

Credit by Evaluation (Examination)

A graduate program, while building upon course work previously completed, should be used to acquire new knowledge and skills. Acquisition of units through credit by evaluation, on the other hand, relies inherently on old knowledge and skills. Therefore, prerequisite courses and other requirements outside of the formal program may be challenged, but units gained through credit by evaluation cannot be included within the formal program of study.

In cases where a graduate student may possess the necessary knowledge and skill and wishes to challenge a course within the formal program of study, a petition must be submitted sequentially to the instructor of the specific course, the department or school graduate committee, and the Dean of Graduate Studies. Contingent to approval of the petition by the Dean of Graduate Studies is the condition that an additional course be added to the formal program as elective credit to replace each course that is successfully challenged through credit by evaluation.

Students may not enroll in a course they plan to challenge but must register for credit by examination in the office of the college or department concerned before the first day of classes of the term in which the course is offered. Some presumptive evidence is required to indicate that the student has a reasonable chance of passing the examination. The student must complete the examination within the first two weeks of the term. Those students who are unsuccessful in challenging may add the course subject to the regulations for adding a class printed in the Class Schedule. A student who passes an examination is given the grade of CR for that course. No official record is made of failures in these examinations. A fee may be charged for these examinations, and they are available only to currently enrolled students.

Phi Kappa Phi

Academic Affairs Office, AD-101
(909) 537-5024 Phi Kappa Phi website

The university has an active chapter of the national honor society of Phi Kappa Phi, whose purpose is the recognition and encouragement of superior scholarship in all academic disciplines. Membership is by invitation issued to selected juniors, seniors and graduate students who have excelled in scholarship and who meet the chapter's requirements. Graduating seniors who are members of Phi Kappa Phi have an opportunity to apply for a Fellowship from the national office to be used towards the first year of graduate study.

Graduate Council

Elected faculty from each college, one graduate student, the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Faculty Senate Chair make up the Graduate Council, which is a Faculty Senate committee.  This group discusses all issues of policy and practice related to graduate study at the university.

The Coyote Graduate Student Guidebook

The Coyote Graduate Student Guidebook is updated annually by the Office of Graduate Studies with information relevant for graduate students. It is available on the Graduate Studies website. 

Concurrent Enrollment

A graduate student enrolled at the university may enroll concurrently for additional courses at another institution only with advance written approval from the graduate program coordinator and the Dean of Graduate Studies. Ordinarily, permission will not be granted when the study load in the proposed combined program exceeds 12 semester units.

Post Baccalaureate Credit for Senior Students

Senior students who need fewer than 12 semester units to graduate may be permitted to enroll for post-baccalaureate credit during the final term of their senior year. Post baccalaureate credit is used to signify courses taken after the baccalaureate degree, but does not necessarily mean graduate credit, i.e., credit applicable toward an advanced degree. Only 4000- to 6000-level courses will be considered. A petition for this purpose is available in the Office of the Registrar. Note: Some 5000- and 6000-level courses require prerequisites and are open only to students classified in a master's program.

Repeat of Course (Discount of Grade)

Classified and conditionally classified graduate students may be permitted to repeat one course at CSUSB that was taken for graduate credit (i.e. that is applied towards a master's degree) one time only by petition to and approval of the college or department graduate committee. The petition requesting this permission includes an automatic request to discount the first attempt. When approved, the original course grade on the student's permanent record will be discounted. Only the second grade earned shall apply to the student's cumulative post-baccalaureate grade point average. The first attempt will show on the transcript with the repeat (discount) noted.

Classified and conditionally classified graduate students may be permitted to repeat a course taken as an undergraduate once with approval of the advisor and only to remove a deficiency. A subsequent repeat must be approved by the college or department graduate committee. In no case shall such credit be counted toward the units required for a master's degree. The second grade earned shall apply toward the student's cumulative post baccalaureate grade point average and shall not replace the grade in the undergraduate record. Subsequent repeats of course will be averaged.

Classified post baccalaureate students (for example, students officially admitted to teaching credential programs) may be permitted to repeat a course taken as an undergraduate only by petition to and approval of the appropriate college or department committee and the grade earned shall not replace the grade in the undergraduate record. Courses taken for post baccalaureate credit may be repeated at CSUSB only by petition to and approval of the appropriate college or department committee. In both cases the second grade earned shall apply to the student's cumulative post baccalaureate grade point average. Subsequent repeats of course will be averaged. A petition, available through the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies, CE 356, (909) 537-5058, must be filed and approved.

Leave of Absence

Degree and credential seeking students who plan to be absent from the university must file a leave of absence to preserve their current catalog rights (Title 5, Article 5, See. 40401). A petition, available through the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies, CH-123, (909) 537-5058, must be filed and approved. The petition is also available on the Forms page of the Graduate Studies website

The leave of absence policy covers both involuntary and voluntary interruptions. In most instances, with an approved leave of absence, a student may be absent from the campus without losing their rights to specific degree requirements under an earlier catalog.

Petitions for leaves of absence should be filed in advance of the interruption in enrollment. Each leave commences with the first regular semester of non-attendance. Medical and military leaves may be considered retroactively if supported by individual circumstances, but those leaves must be filed no later than census date of the first regular semester of non-attendance. Personal and planned educational leaves cannot be retroactive since they constitute an agreement or "contract" which must be set in advance. The maximum duration for any leave is two calendar years.

Leaves of absence will not be approved for students subject to disqualification or dismissal due to academic deficiencies or disciplinary action.

Other students ineligible for leaves of absence are those who are not completing any degree applicable course work, those who are enrolling only in extension courses, those who are only auditing courses, and those who have not yet completed the first semester of their current program.

Students who do not return to CSU, San Bernardino at the conclusion of their planned leaves and those who enroll elsewhere without permission of the Office of the Registrar will be considered to have withdrawn from the university at the end of their last semester of regular enrollment.

International students must submit a copy of the leave of absence petition to the Center for International Studies and Programs (CISP), CE-356. Visa students must be registered as full-time students except, when after one semester of regular enrollment they decide to take a semester off. All leave of absence periods must be approved by CISP prior to taking the leave in order to report the students properly to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS). As a general rule, visa students must go back to their home country when applying for a leave of absence, as their primary goal in the U.S. is to obtain an academic degree.

The following Leaves of Absence may be requested:

Medical Leave of Absence

Requests must be accompanied by a statement from a medical doctor explaining why the student must interrupt enrollment. Exceptions to the two-year limit may be granted under extenuating circumstances.

Military Leave of Absence

CSUSB supports students called to active duty in the U.S. Military. The Military Leave Policy and forms are available from the Veterans Success Center.

Personal and Planned Educational Leaves of Absence

These leaves are defined as a planned interruption or pause in a student's regular education during which the student temporarily ceases formal studies at CSU, San Bernardino. The student must plan to return to CSU, San Bernardino at the end of the leave. Such activities may be for the purpose of clarifying or enriching educational goals or to allow time to address personal matters and thus enhance the prospect of successful completion of the student's academic program.

Since students usually maintain their catalog rights, courses completed at other institutions must have received prior approval in order to be transferred back to CSU, San Bernardino. Therefore, a student must also file a concurrent enrollment form with the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies to obtain that approval. Failure to file a concurrent enrollment form may result in coursework not being accepted and revised major requirements being required.

Returning from Approved Leave of Absence

When students return from their leave earlier than planned, a readmission form, available through the Office of the Registrar, UH-171, (909) 537-5200, must be submitted within the filing period for the semester of return. No application fee will be assessed for leaves of absence that meet the terms of the leave agreement.


Applicants must furnish unofficial transcripts from each college or university attended. The following unofficial transcripts will be required to determine eligibility:

  • Transcripts with earned degree posted
  • Transcripts where coursework was completed that counted toward earned degree(s)
  • Transcripts with any post-baccalaureate level coursework taken
  • Transcript from the last institution attended

A separate transcript from each college or university is required even though one transcript may show work taken at another institution. CSUSB graduates do not need to furnish a CSUSB transcript. Some credential and master's programs may require more than one transcript from each institution. Check with the program for application requirements.

Applicants who are officially admitted to CSUSB are required to submit official transcripts to the Office of Graduate Studies in order to secure their enrollment for the following term.

Admission from Nonaccredited Schools

Graduates of nonaccredited schools who give evidence of unusual promise and superior background may petition the Dean of Graduate Studies for admission as unclassified post baccalaureate students. Such students who wish to enter a specific graduate program must then petition the appropriate school or department for admission to conditionally classified graduate status. Requirements for admission to conditionally classified status shall be determined by the concerned department and approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Limitations of Enrollment

Entrance of post baccalaureate students to any program may be subject to limitations (i.e., each master's degree or credential program may restrict enrollment whenever limitations of facilities and/or staff warrant).

Enrollment Verification

Student enrollment certification is based on the following minimum unit loads for graduate students:

Full Time Master's Student 6 units of graduate-level coursework
Half Time Master's Student 3 units of graduate-level coursework
Full Time Credential Student 12 units
Half Time Credential Student 6 units
Full Time 2nd BA and Certificate Student 12 units
Half Time 2nd BA and Certificate Student 6 units

Veterans Enrollment Certification

California State University, San Bernardino, is approved for the training of veterans of the military services and their dependents under educational assistance programs, established by the state and federal governments. Applications for educational benefits may be obtained directly from the veterans certification clerk. Student enrollment certification is based on the following unit loads:

Full Time Master's Student 6 units of graduate level coursework
Half Time Master's Student 3 units of graduate level coursework
Full Time Credential Student 12 units
Half Time Credential Student 6 units
Full Time 2nd BA and Certificate Student 12 units
Half Time 2nd BA and Certificate Student 6 units

The university will certify course loads to the Veterans Administration based on the criteria above for units which are degree or objective applicable. Veterans enrolled less than half time are eligible for reimbursement of tuition and fees only.

Independent study and self-paced courses will be certified for monthly educational benefits as regular residence courses.