Office of Academic Affairs

Paired Courses

California State University is committed to providing quality undergraduate and graduate education. The University understands that graduate education requires more advanced and rigorous instruction. For pedagogical and fiscal reasons, the University permits individual departments on a voluntary basis to develop courses for undergraduate and graduate students with similar subject matter and offer such classes with a single instructor and a common meeting schedule. Exceptions to this policy may be granted only by the campus Graduate Administrator.

This policy will be reviewed by Academic Affairs and the Curriculum Policies Committee after 2 years to assess the policy’s efficacy.

In order to ensure the integrity of the degree major and the individual courses that may be used to meet graduation requirements, approval to offer courses in a paired arrangement will be subject to the following conditions:

  1. Only advanced undergraduate courses (i.e., upper division and excluding general education) may be paired with graduate courses. Such courses must cover similar subject matter. The words used in the titles and descriptions of the two courses must reflect this similarity of subject matter and the same number of units. 
  2. The Class Schedule should make clear, by means of footnotes that both courses of a pair of courses meet at the same time and location, and with the same instructor, but that the two courses have differential requirements reflecting the different course levels.
  3. Paired offerings must be arranged through the use of regular courses which are published in the Catalog, and the course descriptions should indicate that the courses may be paired.
  4. Paired graduate courses may only be taken for elective credit and may not replace core or required graduate classes. Additionally, paired arrangements may not include thesis/culminating experience work, internship credit, or directed reading credit. 
  5. Neither paired course taken as an undergraduate may be repeated in a graduate program.
  6. Students shall neither be expected nor permitted to obtain a graduate degree with more than 10 units of paired courses.
  7. Faculty teaching paired courses will receive weighted teaching unit (WTU) credit based on an agreement between the department and the College Dean.
  8. Colleges will approve the pairing of courses for already approved courses through the University process. 
  9. Proposals to the college must address the following:
  • Justification for the pairing must be attached to each of the proposals at the College level.
  • Course descriptions and syllabi must be explicit about how the experience of graduate and undergraduate students is to differ. The syllabi must clearly establish additional requirements for graduate students that might include (but not be limited to) significant research papers, oral presentations of research, and/or demonstration of more sophisticated laboratory or studio skills than those required of students in the paired undergraduate course.