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Graduate Student Guide
Welcome current graduate students!
This guide will help support you in finding information you need to be successful in the pursuit of your degree.
Advising and Registration
- Academic advising is done by the individual departments, please contact the specific program you are interested in applying to.
- Credential candidates may contact the department office dealing with their specific area (e.g. Special Education, Teacher Education, and/or Bilingual/Multicultural Education) or the Teacher Preparation and Credentials Office (e.g. Single Subject Credential, Multiple Subject Credential) 916.278.6403.
- For general information or University graduate policy questions you may also contact the Office of Graduate Studies (916) 278-6470.
My Sac State offers you access to your Student Center, where you can access features including registration, wait listing, fee payment, financial aid status, and holds.
- Registration Helpline (916) 278-8088. Available Monday - Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm
- University Help Desk (916) 278-7337
- Step One: Log into the Student Center to find your registration appointment. Before your registration appointment, you need to clear any holds or outstanding fees due from a current or prior semester. Continuing students register first so make sure you are good to go before you register. Registration fees will not be due until after you enroll in classes.
- Step Two: The next phase of registration is for new transfer or freshmen to register for classes at orientation. During this time, continuing students may resume adding, dropping or swapping classes. You may also be added to a class you have wait listed. During this time, fee payment will most likely be due for continuing students who registered earlier so be sure and pay your fees.
- Step Three: The final phase of registration is called Late Registration and Change of Schedule. It begins three weeks before the semester begins and continues through the second week of the semester.
Your registration day and time are scheduled in accordance with University priority policy in this order: disabled students, retention programs, graduating seniors, seniors, classified graduates, juniors, sophomores, freshmen, and unclassified graduates. Within each class level, students are scheduled according to total units completed. Registration fees should be paid during the Priority Registration period to avoid the late fee.
Before your registration day, you should:
- Obtain academic advising from your major department.
(Undeclared students: see Academic Advising in LSN-1012.) Do not delay, since some departments have mandatory advising requirements, and they may block your registration if you do not comply.
- If your My Sac State Student Center shows any holds, clear them immediately. Do not incur any new ones before your Registration Appointment!
- Decide on the courses in which you want to enroll. Identify several alternate courses in case the ones you prefer are already full. Remember, the class search shows real time class information. You will be immediately enrolled if there is a seat for you in the class, so you may not need your alternate selection. If the section you request is full or cancelled, you may choose to Wait list the class if that option is available. For more information on wait lists refer to the Definitions sections.
- Pay attention to class notes describing course prerequisites, session dates, etc. Note especially class notes 4 and 15, which mark distance education courses having special technology requirements.
Transcripts and Academic Records
Sacramento State does not mail semester grade reports. You can access your grades and unofficial transcript by logging onto My Sac State via one of the kiosks or from your personal computer. You can also order an official copy of your transcript from the Registrar's Office. Sacramento State does not issue 'unofficial' transcripts.
Please refer to the current Sacramento State catalog for additional information regarding grading and records policies.
Your student record is protected by FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). Certain kinds of information are released to individuals and/or agencies that have your written authorization (such as student loan guarantors and employers), Sacramento State academic advisors and department chairs and other authorized campus officials. If you wish to view your record, you must go to the Admissions and Records service counter in Lassen Hall between 8 am and 5 pm. Be sure to bring a photo id (i.e. driver's license or student id card).
Graduate enrollment verification for loan deferments or employment is available through your loan company. You must submit a signed official deferment request form supplied by the Lender. Verifications are processed and notification of enrollment is sent to your Lender.
GPA Requirements and Academic Standing
Graduate and Post-baccalaureate* Academic Standing Regulation Categories
*does not apply to post-baccalaureate students pursuing a second bachelor’s degree
Graduate, credential, certificate and unclassified students whose Sacramento State and cumulative grade point average (GPA) is 3.0 or above are considered in good academic standing. No grade below a “B” may be counted toward the degree requirement unless expressly permitted by a campus-approved graduate programs’ written policies.
Students whose Sacramento State grade point average or cumulative grade point average falls below 3.00 will be placed on academic probation. Students on probation are eligible to enroll in the subsequent semester.
Students on probation will be placed on Continued Probation if they:
- Earn a 3.00 GPA in the current semester, but have a cumulative GPA below 3.00.
- Students placed on Continued Probation will be limited to a maximum course load of 9 units per semester until they return to academic good standing.
If a graduate, credential, certificate, or unclassified student is on academic probation and the Sacramento State or cumulative grade point average is below 3.0 for the active term, the student will be academically disqualified.
Students not on probation will be disqualified if the Sacramento State or cumulative GPA is 2.000 or less.
Disqualified students will not be allowed to register unless they are formally reinstated and/or readmitted to the University.
Administrative Probation and Administration Disqualification
Graduate, credential, certificate, and unclassified students are subject to Administrative Probation for the following reasons:
- Withdrawal from all or a substantial portion of their courses in two successive terms or in any three terms.
- Repeated failure to progress toward a degree or other program objective, when such failure is due to circumstances within the control of the student.
- Failure to comply, after due notice, with an academic requirement or regulation.
Students who do not meet the conditions for removal of administrative probation may be subject to further administrative actions, including Administrative Disqualification.
Students will be notified of their academic status (academic probation, continued probation, or academic disqualification by letter, and/or My Sac State message and/or email) at the end of each semester. Graduate, credential, certificate and unclassified students on Probation or Continued Probation are required to meet with an advisor in their major department, the credential office or the Office of Graduate Studies. Academic departments and units may block registration of students who fail to meet advising appointments. Students receiving veterans’ educational benefits may be ruled ineligible for continued benefits if, after one semester of unsatisfactory achievement (probation or disqualification), they do not return to academic Good Standing at the completion of the next semester.
Reinstatement of Disqualified Students
Students who have been academically disqualified may petition for reinstatement. The Petition for Reinstatement is obtained from the Forms & Manuals section of the Office of Graduate Studies website. If reinstated, students will be placed on an academic contract that may stipulate maximum units, specific courses and achievement levels. Failure to meet the conditions of the reinstatement contract and/or failure to achieve a subsequent semester GPA of 3.000 or higher will result in academic disqualification.
Students who are administratively disqualified or not recommended by their academic department for continuation in the graduate degree, credential, or certificate program must formally apply to the University as well as a graduate degree, credential, or certificate program and submit a petition for reinstatement. Reinstated unclassified students will not be allowed to enroll in graduate level courses during the period of the reinstatement contract without the permission of the department chair or designee for that major.
Deadlines to petition for immediate reinstatement are as follows:
- Spring Semester: Third week of January
- Fall Semester: End of June
NOTE: Please check the Office of Graduate Studies website for specific dates.
Students whose petitions are approved are subject to review each semester until the Sacramento State GPA and overall cumulative GPA reach the minimum standard of 3.00. Students may not earn the degree, credential, or certificate unless they are in good academic standing and their Sacramento State GPA and overall cumulative GPA reach the minimum standard of 3.00.
Steps to Graduation
In preparation for graduation, The Office of Graduate Studies is providing you with some basic steps to ensure you have met all the requirements to successfully complete the Masters and Doctorate Program here at California State University, Sacramento.
- Maintain a 3.0 or above GPA
- Complete the GWAR Requirement.
- Submit an Advancement to Candidacy.
- In order to enroll in your degree program's culminating experience course, students must have an approved advancement to candidacy.
- Check your degree program's advancement requirements in the University Catalog.
- Submit your advancment to candidacy the semester before you intend to enroll in the culminating experience. For Spring enrollment, submit your advancement form by October 1st. For Fall enrollment, submit your advancement form by February 1st.
- Complete a Petition for Exception if you have made changes to your initial submission of Advancement to Candidacy form.
- Masters students: Check with your department if you have courses seven (7) years old or older on your Advancement to Candidacy. Petition for Currency.
- Doctoral students: Check with your department if you have courses five (5) years old or older on your Advancement to Candidacy. Petition for Currency.
- Maintain Continuous Enrollment through the semester of graduation.
- Once a student has successfully completed their culminating experience course, they must maintain continuous enrollment through the semester of graduation. Students needing more time to complete their thesis, project, or dissertation can apply for continuous enrollment (599 courses).
- Check with your department to guarantee you have met all of their graduation requirements.
- Complete Application for Graduation.
- Move Graduation Date (If changing your graduation date after initial submission of Application for Graduation.)
- Register and complete Culminating Experience Workshop in the semester of graduation.
- Information about registering for a Culminating Experience Workshop can be found on our Thesis/Project/Dissertation webpage.
- This workshop is designed to help students:
- Understand the final steps to degree completion;
- Format their culminating experience (for those who are completing a thesis, project, or dissertation);
- With strategies for studying for the Comprehensive Examination (for those completing a Comprehensive Examination).
- Schedule one (1) Thesis/Project/Dissertation/Doctoral Project format review appointment, if your Thesis/Project/Dissertation/Doctoral Project will be uploaded to University Repository.
- Information about review appointments can be found on our Thesis/Project/Dissertation webpage.
- Finalize edits/revisions with your committee members before uploading to the University Repository.
- Upload four (4) documents to Canvas (only after meeting with a Degree Evaluator)
- Thesis/Project/Dissertation Receipt form
- Title page of your (Thesis/Project/Dissertation/Doctoral Project)
- Culminating Experience Processing Receipt form. This fee can either be paid at the Bursar’s office or online. For online payments: please look for the Culminating Experience link on the list of available payments.
- Confirmation of “Culminating Experience Processing” Payment
- Your committee members will upload the Culminating Experience Signature approval to Grad Studies via AdobeSign.
- Clear all holds from your student record.
- For commencement requirements visit the Commencement Office website
As a reminder: RP to CR grades will post 10-14 weeks after the semester conferral date, therefore degrees will post 10-14 weeks after semester conferral date. Please keep in mind that processing times will vary, if you need assistance with degree verification, please contact the Office of Graduate Studies.
Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)
Graduate students will follow a two-step process to meet the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)
- Your writing will be assessed to determine your readiness for graduate-level writing tasks.
- The second step is the completion of the culminating experience.
To complete the first step of the Graduate GWAR, all graduate students must earn a grade of B or higher in the required Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course within your graduate program.
To complete the second step of the Graduate GWAR, all graduate students must successfully pass their culminating experience (e.g. thesis, project, dissertation, doctoral project, comprehensive exam).
The Graduate GWAR requirement ultimately is met through completion of your graduate program requirements.
Advancement to Candidacy
Enrolling in Culminating Experience Requirement Units (Thesis/Project/Dissertation/Comprehensive Exam)
Enrollment into culminatiung experience units is by department permission only. Students wishing to enroll in their culminating experience units must have an approved Advancement to Candidacy form on file with the Office of Graduate Studies. Before submitting your advancement, confirm your degree program's advancement requirements in the University Catalog. Students should file their Advancement to Candidacy the semester before they intend to enroll in their culminating experience: October 1st for Spring enrollment and February 1st for Fall enrollment.
After your advancement has been approved by the Office of Graduate Studies, students should file any necessary paperwork with their department to have the units added.
Classified graduate students normally retain rights to the catalog under which they were classified providing they retain continuous enrollment as defined by the University. Students not maintaining continuous enrollment lose classified graduate standing and will therefore be required to apply for readmission. Such students may be held for additional program or degree requirements which are current at the time of readmission.
Students who have been advanced to candidacy and who have completed all coursework can maintain the required active degree program status without additional University registration by submitting a Continuous Enrollment Form and paying a 'Continuous Enrollment' fee through CCE.* There are no units associated with this enrollment. Continuous enrollment is only valid for as long as the student is within the time period allowed for the completion of the culminating experience requirement. For example, students completing a thesis or project are allowed a maximum of three academic year semesters past the semester of first registration for the culminating requirement units to be completed. If not otherwise actively registered, the student must enroll in 'Continuous Enrollment' each of the three semesters beyond the initial university enrollment for culminating requirement units.
Students who do not finish the thesis or project within the semester of original enrollment will receive a grade of Report in Progress (RP) in their thesis course. Provided adequate progress has been made the following three semesters and continuous enrollment is maintained, the 'RP' grade will stand until the thesis or project is completed. If the student does not complete the culminating experience within the 4 semester time limit, he or she will receive a No Credit (N/C) grade for these units. Such students are then required to re enroll in the culminating requirement units before continuing their programs.
*Please note that some departments require their students to enroll in the culminating requirement units each semester that they are working on the thesis or project, rather than allowing them to enroll in 'Continuous Enrollment'. This is at the department's discretion.
Effective Fall 2011 Continuous Enrollment Fee:
- $281 for Master's Degree
- $438 for Ed.S. and Doctorate Degree
- Late fee (Master's, Ed.S, and Doctorate): $25 (if submitted after the deadline: September 10 for Fall; February 10 for Spring)
Last day to submit Continuous Enrollment for Fall: October 31
Last day to submit Continuous Enrollment for Spring: March 31
Seven Year Deadline Masters
Master's students have seven years, inclusive of the semester in which they took the earliest courses counted toward their degrees, to complete all requirements for a graduate degree. The end of this seven year period is determined by adding 14 semesters onto the term of the oldest course listed on the Advancement to Candidacy form. For example, if a student began his/her coursework in Fall 2004, his/her seven-year deadline would be Spring 2011. Please view the Seven Year Deadlines Table below to determine your deadline. If a student exceeds his/her seven-year limit, only those courses that are older than seven years are out of currency, and thus expire.
At this point, the graduate student may repeat the expired course(s) or request an exception to the seven-year deadline using the Currency Petition form. The form must be signed by the department, declaring that the student has been tested and is current in the course content. Currency is extended on out-of-date courses for one semester only. In requesting currency, programs must sign the petition for currency and attach a copy of the documentation used to establish currency in course content. The Dean of Graduate Studies must approve the petition. If approved, the OGS would then regard the students as still current in the material for the expired course(s), and effectively retain degree credit for these courses. The Graduate Council has recommended that the Dean of Graduate Studies approve only one semester currency for up to a maximum of six units.
Programs may, of course, refuse to reestablish currency for such courses and instead require that the student take replacement courses, or the Program may opt to declassify the student for lack of sufficient progress toward the degree.
Seven-year Deadlines Table
To find your Seven Year Deadline, find the semester and year of the oldest course you are using toward your Master's degree in the left column and find the corresponding deadline in the right column.
Five Year Deadline Doctorate
Doctorate students have five years, inclusive of the semester in which they took the earliest courses counted toward their degrees, to complete all requirements for a graduate degree. The end of this five year period is determined by adding 10 semesters onto the term of the oldest course listed on the Advancement to Candidacy form. For example, if a student began his/her coursework in Fall 2004, his/her five-year deadline would be Spring 2009. Use the Five Year Deadlines Table below to determine when your Five Year Deadline is. If a student exceeds his/her five-year limit, only those courses that are older than five years are out of currency, and thus expire.
At this point, the graduate student may repeat the expired course(s) or request an exception to the five-year deadline using the Currency Petition form. The form must be signed by the department, declaring that the student has been tested and is current in the course content. Currency is extended on out-of-date courses for one semester only. In requesting currency, programs must sign the petition for currency and attach a copy of the documentation used to establish currency in course content. The Dean of Graduate Studies must approve the petition. If approved, the OGS would then regard the students as still current in the material for the expired course(s), and effectively retain degree credit for these courses. The Graduate Council has recommended that the Dean of Graduate Studies approve only one semester currency for up to a maximum of six units.
Programs may, of course, refuse to reestablish currency for such courses and instead require that the student take replacement courses, or the Program may opt to declassify the student for lack of sufficient progress toward the degree.
Five-year Deadlines Table
To find your Five Year Deadline, find the semester and year of the oldest course you are using toward your Doctorate degree in the left column and find the corresponding deadline in the right column.
|First Term||Completion Deadline|
|Fall 2015||Spring 2020|
|Spring 2016||Fall 2020|
|Summer 2016||Spring 2021|
|Fall 2016||Spring 2021|
|Spring 2017||Fall 2021|
|Summer 2017||Spring 2022|
|Fall 2017||Spring 2022|
|Spring 2018||Fall 2022|
|Summer 2018||Spring 2023|
|Fall 2018||Spring 2023|
|Spring 2019||Fall 2023|
|Summer 2019||Spring 2024|
|Fall 2019||Spring 2024|
|Spring 2020||Fall 2024|
|Summer 2020||Spring 2025|
|Fall 2020||Spring 2025|
|Spring 2021||Fall 2025|
|Summer 2021||Spring 2026|
|Fall 2021||Spring 2026|
|Spring 2022||Fall 2026|
|Summer 2022||Spring 2027|
|Fall 2022||Spring 2027|
|Spring 2023||Fall 2027|
|Summer 2023||Spring 2028|
|Fall 2023||Spring 2028|
|Spring 2024||Fall 2028|
|Summer 2024||Spring 2029|
|Fall 2024||Spring 2029|
|Spring 2025||Fall 2029|
|Summer 2025||Spring 2030|
|Fall 2025||Spring 2030|
|Spring 2026||Fall 2030|
|Summer 2026||Spring 2031|
|Fall 2026||Spring 2031|
|Spring 2027||Fall 2031|
|Summer 2027||Spring 2032|
|Fall 2027||Spring 2032|
|Spring 2028||Fall 2032|
|Summer 2028||Spring 2033|
|Fall 2028||Spring 2033|
|Spring 2029||Fall 2033|
|Summer 2029||Spring 2034|
|Fall 2029||Spring 2034|
|Spring 2030||Fall 2034|
|Summer 2030||Spring 2035|
|Fall 2030||Spring 2035|
|Spring 2031||Fall 2035|
|Summer 2031||Spring 2036|
|Fall 2031||Spring 2036|
|Spring 2032||Fall 2036|
|Summer 2032||Spring 2037|
|Fall 2032||Spring 2037|
|Spring 2033||Fall 2037|
|Summer 2033||Spring 2038|
|Fall 2033||Spring 2038|
|Spring 2034||Fall 2038|
|Summer 2034||Spring 2039|
|Fall 2034||Spring 2039|
|Spring 2035||Fall 2039|
|Summer 2035||Spring 2040|
Degree Posting Timeline
Thesis/Project/Dissertation Final Approval
When a student submits his/her final and approved Thesis/Project/Dissertation to the Office of Graduate Studies, it is reviewed for general formatting and consistency. If any mistakes are found, the student will be given time to make corrections even if it is submitted on the deadline day. During high volume submission periods waiting periods for review time may be extended. Check the Office of Graduate Studies website for thesis project/dissertation submissions dates and times. Please note there are periods of time when degree evaluators are unavailable for thesis/project/dissertation submission.
Degree Posting (10 - 14 weeks)
Posting of degrees begins on the official last day of the semester and is completed within 10 - 14 weeks.
During this time, Degree Evaluators will be checking each student’s Advancement to Candidacy file to ensure that all of the courses approved by the department were completed.
- Any changes to the Advancement require a completed Petition for Exception with department approval.
- Students who have not yet completed an Application for Graduation and paid the necessary fees are required to do so before their degrees can be posted to their transcripts.
- Students must be a currently enrolled and matriculated student during the term in which they wish to graduate.
Ordering Official Transcripts
Once the degree has been posted, official transcripts can be ordered from the Registrar’s office. The official transcript is considered the legal document stating that all degree requirements have been met. To order transcripts, please call (916) 278-1000 (option 4) or complete an electronic order form through the Registrar's website.
What is a ‘RP’?
A “grade” of RP (Report in Progress) is assigned to your culminating experience or dissertation coursework at the end of the semester and is changed to “CR” (Credit) during the 10-14 week degree posting period described above.
Tip: It is recommended that students ordering official transcripts during the degree posting period request that transcripts not be mailed until the degree has posted.
Diplomas (4 – 6 months)
Diplomas, considered the ceremonial document, are mailed to students approximately 4 – 6 months after the official last day of the semester (see above).
Thesis/Project/Dissertation to Sac State Scholars
After your thesis/project/dissertation is approved by the Office of Graduate Studies, your work will be sent to the University Library for publication in Sac State Scholars, Sacramento State’s institutional repository. Your work will be published 4-6 weeks after it is approved in ProQuest ETD Administrator. Students wishing to have a personal Thesis/Project/Dissertation copy bound may request this at the time of submission through the ProQuest ETD Administrator, or retroactively through Thesis on Demand.