Sac State University Policy Manual

Degree Programs

Policy Administrator: Vice President for Academic Affairs
Authority: FS 12/13-36
Effective Date: July 1, 1987
Updated: February 28, 2013 (amends AS 84-85)
Index Cross-References:
Policy File Number: UMD03050.htm

DEGREE PROGRAMS

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; and

2. to provide the student with appropriate content, methodology and 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.

Graduate study is designed to advance knowledge and competencies in specific content areas of individuals holding baccalaureate degrees.  It is presumed that 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 in 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 Degree are made only upon the recommendation of the appropriate school/division, university review bodies, school dean/division chair, Vice President, Academic Affairs, approval of the President with the concurrence by 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.

Students seeking a second master's degree must offer at least 51 units total for both degrees when each degree is a 30-unit program.  Comparable totals may apply proportionately when degrees of more than 30 units are involved.  Basic requirements for level of courses, culminating requirements, residency, and other university rules apply to all second master's students.

Undergraduate degree programs are expected to include at least five courses with no fewer than fifteen units that are common to the degree program.  Graduate degree programs are expected to include at least three courses with no fewer than nine units, excluding independent study, field work, and the culminating experience, that are common to the degree programs.

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, 18 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 five years.