Sac State University Policy Manual

Undergraduate and Graduate Degree Programs

Policy Administrator:  Vice President for Academic Affairs
Authority:  FS 12/13-36
Effective Date:  12-2-80; amended February 28, 2013
Index Cross-References:  Degree Programs
Policy File Number:  FSU00010.htm



The University structures its academic degree programs in such a way that sufficient breadth and depth experiences are required to ensure maintenance of degree objectives. In the Bachelor of Arts programs, primary degree objectives are:

  1. To provide the student with a balanced and coherent liberal arts education that expands one's knowledge and appreciation of the world and enhances his or her ability to deal constructively with life's experiences;
  2. To provide the student with appropriate content, methodology, applications in a recognized discipline sufficient to support entry into related vocations or advanced study, or to enhance one's own personal knowledge or skill. The liberal arts function is provided through the University's general education program and related liberal arts electives. The second function is provided by academic major and minor requirements.

Bachelor of Arts Degree majors require a minimum of 24 semester units in the major academic program with at least 12 semester units at upper division, and are limited to no more than 48 semester units in the major.

The Bachelor of Science Degree has the same primary objectives as the Bachelor of Arts Degree but is grounded in scientific methodology and emphasizes applications in a wide range of technical and professional fields. Bachelor of Science majors require a minimum of 36 semester units in the major academic program with at least 18 semester units at upper division, and are limited to no more than 60 semester units in the major.

Bachelor’s degrees in designated disciplines such as Bachelor of Music carry the same primary objectives as the other baccalaureate degrees, but are more structured and prescribed in major content in order to meet specific professional goals. Such degrees require a minimum of 36 semester units in the major academic program with at least 18 semester units at upper division.

Exemptions to unit limits are granted only upon the recommendation of the Faculty Senate's Curriculum Committee and approval of the college dean and the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Currently, the comprehensive Bachelor of Arts Degree in liberal studies that includes both major and general education requirements is exempt from the 48-unit limitation.

Undergraduate degree programs are expected to include at least five courses with no fewer than fifteen units that are common to the degree program. Requests for waivers must be submitted through the College and University approval process.

Graduate study is designed to advance knowledge and competencies in specific content areas of individuals holding baccalaureate degrees. It is presumed those engaging in graduate education possess the requisite undergraduate preparation in the liberal arts and appropriate discipline areas to support scholarly discourse and activity. Students found deficient in undergraduate foundation preparation may be denied graduate admission or required to take additional undergraduate work to qualify for classified graduate standing.

The Master of Arts Degree, an extension of the Bachelor of Arts Degree, is grounded in liberal traditions and directed toward the mastery or application of specific content material. Degree programs are designed to prepare individuals for entering related career fields, doctoral programs or other professional areas of study. Master of Arts programs are limited to a 30-unit requirement exclusive of qualifying undergraduate prerequisites, including units associated with the culminating experience.

The Master of Science Degree, an extension of the Bachelor of Science Degree, is grounded in liberal traditions, scientific methodology, and is directed toward the mastery or application of scientific or technological principles in specific content areas. Degree programs are designed to prepare individuals for entering related career fields, doctoral programs or other professional areas of study. Master of Science programs are limited to a 30-unit requirement, exclusive of undergraduate prerequisites, including units associated with the culminating experience.

Master's degrees in designated professional fields such as Business Administration (MBA), and Social Work (MSW) are designed to prepare individuals to enter specific career fields. These degree programs commonly considered training for practitioners in the field are grounded in liberal traditions, with appropriate foundation study in related arts and science curricula necessary to support the acquisition of professional knowledge and skill in the specific content area. Master's programs designated professional areas are limited to a 60-unit requirement, exclusive of undergraduate prerequisites, including units associated with the culminating experience.

Exemption from the unit limitation for Master's Degrees are made only upon the recommendation of the appropriate College, College Dean, University review bodies, Vice President for Academic Affairs, approval of the President with the concurrence of the Chancellor. Current exceptions are the interdisciplinary Master of arts program in International Affairs with a limitation of 48 units, the Master of Science program in Counselor Education with a limitation of 60 units, and the Master of Arts program in Speech Pathology and Audiology which exceeds the maximum by 1-3 units.

All graduate majors or programs within a major must have a core curriculum requirement which emphasizes integration of knowledge and preparation of specialization and which is designed to assure mastery of requisite knowledge and skills. The core, which is a common body of knowledge specific to a discipline, will consist of a minimum of nine units. Excluded are independent study, field work, internships and thesis units. At least six of the required units must be common to all programs within the major. The remaining three units must be describable as meeting a particular education objective within the major.

Exceptions to this nine-unit core requirement will be considered on a program-by-program basis. Exceptions will only be made under extraordinary circumstances and must be approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Requests for exceptions must be made to the Associate Vice President for Research,Graduate & Extended Programs and the appropriate Faculty Senate curriculum committee.

CSU, Sacramento graduate programs shall normally require that a minimum of 18 units in a 30- to 40-unit degree program and 36 units in a 60-unit program be earned in regularly scheduled 200-level courses requiring student participation (e.g., discussion) as the primary instructional method, and seminar courses requiring formal presentations by students and student responses to presentations as well as formal evaluation by the instructor.

Seminar 200-level enrollments should, whenever possible, be limited to fifteen. All 200-level courses shall require students to demonstrate writing and/or presentation abilities appropriate for thesis/project and professional work and provide opportunities for interaction among students and between students and the instructor.

To maintain program viability, graduate programs are to be scheduled so that enough courses are offered to insure completion of a 30-unit program within two academic years. As a standard, graduate programs shall offer each year the nine units common to the degree program and at least nine units of degree applicable course work. Over a two-year period, eighteen units of 200-level courses shall be offered, exclusive of supervisory units, and these units shall not include repeated offerings of the same course. The offerings should be varied enough to allow, and the scheduling pattern should permit, students to take at least 27 units of degree applicable course work, exclusive of supervisory units, over a two-year period. Consideration shall be given to the diverse nature of programs and courses when evaluating program and enrollment viability. Graduate programs whose enrollments do not support consistently the offering of this scheduling pattern may be discontinued or admission to the program may be suspended upon the recommendation of the Graduate Policies and Programs Committee after a formal review of the program. such program reviews, unless otherwise scheduled, normally take place every six years.

Developed by University Planning Committee: Spring 1980
Approved by President: Summer 1980
Approved by Chancellor's Office: 12-2-80
Revised and Approved by Graduate Policies and Programs Committee: 10-11-82; 1991
Revision Approved by Academic Senate: 11-10-82; 1991
Revised and Approved by Academic Senate Curriculum Committee: 11-21-83
Policy Approved by Academic Senate: 12-14-83
Edited by Academic Affairs Fall 2002