Requirements for Graduation

The following requirements must be met in order to graduate with your Master’s degree in Chemistry from CSUS:

1.  Coursework

  • A total of 30 units of coursework must be competed to graduate.  This includes 14 units of core courses, 6 units of elective courses, and 10 units of culminating requirements.  Required courses for each of these categories and course descriptions can be found in the current University Catalog.

o A schedule of courses currently being offered by the chemistry department with linked course descriptions can be seen on the university’s on-line class schedule.

o Proficiency exams in organic and physical chemistry will be administered once each semester.  Students that do not score above 50% on these exams must make up the deficiency, usually by taking the corresponding undergraduate coursework and receiving a grade of 3.0 or better.  All deficiencies should be removed before beginning the third semester of study.

  • A minimum overall and semester GPA of 3.00 must be maintained to sustain good standing in the graduate program.  A GPA of 2.00 or better in individual courses is required to count the course toward graduation requirements.  Students not meeting these requirements are subject to probationary status and potential disqualification from the program.
  • Graduate students must demonstrate English proficiency by passing an English proficiency exam or by demonstrating that English proficiency has been gained through past coursework or experience.

o Please see the University's office of graduate studies webpage regarding the details of this requirement.

o If appropriate, a waiver may be filed to complete this requirement.

2.  Seminars

  • Students must enroll in the seminar course for 4 semesters and attend a minimum number of seminars each semester as outlined by the CHEM 294 syllabus.
  • Each student will present two seminars during their graduate career.  The first will be a literature seminar, preferably given in the spring semester of their first year.  The second will be a seminar based on their completed thesis research.

o To schedule your literature seminar you must first select a topic and do some preliminary research. A completed seminar form must be submitted by the due date to show that you have started working on your seminar.  Due dates will generally be one month before the semester begins and are given on the form.

3.  Thesis Research

  • Students should have a faculty member research advisor by the end of their first semester.  Under some circumstances, off-campus research may be allowed for fulfillment of the thesis requirements.  This must be approved by the on-campus research advisor.

o To find a research advisor, students must discuss potential research projects with at least three different chemistry faculty.  A completed research advisor search form must be placed into the student’s file to show that they have fulfilled this requirement.

  • A thesis committee consisting of the student’s research advisor, a second chemistry faculty member with expertise in the student’s area of research, and a third member that has expertise in a different area of research needs to be organized before significant work on a research project begins. 
  • A research proposal must be completed that describes the background, the specific aims, and an experimental plan for the research that will be completed.  The specific format of the proposal must be agreed upon by the student and their research advisor.  The proposal should be presented to and approved by the student’s research committee before significant work on a project is initiated.  You must present a completed graduate research approval form to the graduate coordinator when getting the advancement to candidacy form signed.
  •  Committee members must approve the final version of the thesis before the student may give the thesis seminar.  Committee members must be given at least two weeks to review each version of the thesis.

o The written thesis must follow the format laid out by the CSUS graduate office.

  • Students must attend a thesis formatting workshop, which is offered by the University graduate office each semester.  Additional resources regarding the writing of a thesis are available from the University graduate office website.

4.  Advancement to Candidacy

  • Before a student may enroll for culminating experience credits (CHEM 500), give a thesis seminar, and ultimately graduate, the student must apply for advancement to candidacy.  Requirements include:

o classified status as a graduate student

o at least the equivalent of a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry

o removal of all coursework deficiencies

o completion of 40% of graduate coursework credits

o completion of at least 6 course units of the 14 units of core courses at CSUS with a 3.0 grade point average or better

o a successful a literature seminar

o a completed research proposal

o fulfillment of the English proficiency requirement

  • The deadlines for submitting an advancement to candidacy form to the CSUS graduate office is February 1 for the following fall, and October 1 for the following spring.

5.  Continuing Enrollment

  • If a student is advanced to candidacy, and has taken their culminating experience units, but is not ready to graduate for some reason, the student may file for continuous enrollment for up to 3 semesters without taking any additional coursework.  The cost of continuous enrollment without taking courses is approximately equal to the cost of 1 unit.
  • Deadlines for submitting the form for continuous enrollment are October 1 for the fall, and February 1 for the spring.
  • After 7 years, courses that have been completed towards a Master’s degree will no longer be valid.  If there is a compelling reason to waive this deadline, a petition must be filled out and approved by the department’s graduate committee and the University's graduate dean.
  • Students that do not maintain at least part-time continuous enrollment at CSUS during their degree program will have to re-apply to the program through the CSUS graduate office.

6.  Graduation

  • Once all of the requirements explained above are finished, the student is ready to graduate.  In order to graduate an application for graduation form must be filed.  The deadlines for filing this form are October 1 for fall graduation and February 1 for spring graduation.  You can apply later if you do not plan to participate in commencement ceremonies.  This form must be signed by the research advisor, and will only be signed if the thesis is near its final form and has been approved by the thesis committee.  So it is important to plan ahead.
  • After submitting the application for graduation, the written thesis may be submitted.  Please refer to the Thesis/Project Submission Checklist for detailed instructions.
  • Please see the College of Natural Scince & Mathematics' commencement website for details on participating in the commencement ceremony.

The information listed here is a summary of the complete information given in the Graduate Program Policies for the Chemistry Department.  Please see these official policies for more detailed information.  They are available in the Chemistry Department’s main office.  In addition, due dates for various things commonly change without notice.  Be sure to check with the University's graduate office if you are not sure what the deadline is for a specific requirement.  Remember that it is entirely the student’s responsibility to keep track of their own progress towards the Master’s degree.