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Office of Graduate Studies Academic Affairs

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Graduate Student Guide

Welcome current graduate students!

This guide will support you in finding all information you need to be successful in your pursuit of your degree.

Advising and Registration

Advising

  • 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.

Registration

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.

Regisration Support
  • 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.

Registration Period

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.

Before your registration day, you should:

  1. 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.

  2. If your My Sac State Student Center shows any holds, clear them immediately. Do not incur any new ones before your Registration Appointment!

  3. 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.

ENROLLING IN CULMINATING REQUIREMENT UNITS (THESIS/PROJECT/DISSERTATION/COMPREHENSIVE EXAM)

Enrollment in these units is by department permission only. Students wishing to enroll in Culminating Requirement Units must have an approved Advancement to Candidacy form on file with the Office of Graduate Studies. Registration fees should be paid during the Priority Registration period to avoid the late fee. Students should then file the necessary paperwork with their department to have the units added.

REGISTERING FOR 'CONTINUOUS ENROLLMENT

Registration for 'Continuous Enrollment' must be approved by the department and the Office of Graduate Studies and is available only for graduate students who have advanced to candidacy and enrolled in culminating requirement units. Contact the Office of Graduate Studies for the registration form or download the pdf file. Please refer to our more detailed explanation of continuous enrollment if you are unsure of your eligibility.

Transcripts and Academic Records

Sacramento State does not mail semester grade reports. You can access your grades 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 Regulations

Graduate and Post-baccalaureate* Academic Action Categories
*does not apply to post-baccalaureate students pursuing a second bachelor’s degree

Good Standing

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.

Academic Probation

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.

Continued Probation

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.

Academic Disqualification

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:

  1. Withdrawal from all or a substantial portion of their courses in two successive terms or in any three terms.
  2. Repeated failure to progress toward a degree or other program objective, when such failure is due to circumstances within the control of the student.
  3. 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.

Notification

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.

  1. Maintain a 3.0 or above GPA
  2. Complete the GWAR Requirement.
  3. Submit an Advancement to Candidacy.

    • Complete a Petition for Exception if you have made changes to initial Advancement to Candidacy.

    • 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

  4. Maintain Continuous Enrollment through the semester of graduation.

  5. Check with your department to guarantee you have met all of their graduation requirements.

  6. Complete Application for Graduation.
  7. Move Graduation Date (If changing your graduation date after initial submission of Application for Graduation.)

  8. Attend one (1) Format and Information Workshop if your Thesis/Project/Dissertation will be uploaded to ScholarWorks.

  9. Schedule one (1) Thesis/Project/Dissertation format review appointment.

  10. Submit your unbound Thesis/Project/Dissertation to your department for review and signatures.

  11. Submit your Thesis/Project/Dissertation (Title, Format Approval, Approval and Abstract pages) on plain white paper to The Office of Graduate Studies and upload the electronic versions to Scholarworks (only after Graduate Studies has accepted your signature pages).
  12. Submit paid Culminating Experience Processing Receipt This fee can either be paid at the Bursar's Office or online at https://commerce.cashnet.com/csusacevent. Please look for the Culminating Experience link on the list of available payments:

  13. Submit two (2) Thesis/Project/Dissertation Receipt Forms

  14. Submit Thesis/Project/Dissertation workshop certificate

  15. Clear all holds from your student record.

  16. For commencement requirements visit the Commencement Office website

As a reminder: RP to CR grades will post 10-12 weeks after the semester conferral date, therefore degrees will post 10-12 weeks after semester conferral date.

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement

Graduate students will follow a two-step process to meet the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

  1. Your writing will be assessed to determine your readiness for graduate-level writing tasks.
  2. The second step is the completion of the culminating experience.

There will be three methods by which graduate students may take this first step in the graduate GWAR process. All graduate students must complete one of these options before they may advance to candidacy. Then, the Graduate GWAR requirement ultimately is met through completion of your graduate program requirements.

Choose one of the three options below:

Option A:

If you meet one of the equivalency standards below upon entry to the university, you do not need to take a GWI course or take the WPG:

  • Have an M.A./M.S., Ph.D., or J.D. from a US-Accredited University or equivalent degree with coursework in the English language as evaluated by the Office of the Graduate Dean (attach copy of school transcript with degree noted).

  • Published a refereed first- or single-authored academic journal article in the English language (attach a copy of the journal/publication cover and first page of the article with your name).

  • Graduated with a baccalaureate degree or equivalent from a US-accredited University with a cumulative GPA of 3.7 or above (attach copy of school transcript).

  • Received 4.5 or higher on the analytical writing portion of the GRE/GMAT (attach verification).

  • Have been Instructor of record of a college-level writing course taught in the English language at a US-accredited University approved by the Office of the Graduate Dean.

Writing Placement for Graduates (WPG) Waiver Form

Option B:

If you do not meet one of the equivalency standards, then you may complete the first step of the Graduate GWAR by earning a grade of B or higher in a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in your graduate program.

Option C:

If you do not meet one of the equivalency standards and your graduate program does not offer a GWI course, then you will need to take the Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG), a timed essay examination or retake the GRE/GMAT and obtain a score of 4.5 or better on the analytical writing section. The minimum score required to pass the WPG exam is 80.

The WPG will ask writers to compose two essays, after reading a selection of brief texts, which represent a variety of genres typical in scholarly and professional writing, such as graphs, charts, tables, bullet lists, and scholarly prose. Those students who are identified as needing additional help in order to complete graduate-level writing tasks after taking the WPG exam will be required to satisfy this requirement via one of the following options before they can advance to candidacy:

  1. Take a GWI course in their program (if program offers a GWI course) and earn a grade of B or better;

  2. Take ENGL 220W (offered through CCE) and earn a grade of B or better;

  3. or Retake the GRE/GMAT and obtain a score of 4.5 or better on the analytical writing section.

For general information on the WPG Exam, visit Writing Program - GWAR.

Please note:

  • The next exam date is August 24, 2019.
  • Registration will be available from August 5, 2019 to 12:00pm on August 16, 2019.
  • There is a $20 fee for the exam. Please read instructions on the registration website for how to pay this fee, as payment will no longer be accepted on the day of the exam. Note: This fee is Non-Refundable and Non-Transferable.

Continuous Enrollment

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: $25 (if submitted after the deadline: September 10 for Fall; February 10 for Spring)

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 13 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.

REFUSING CURRENCY

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 colum.

First Term Completion Deadline
Spring 2010 Fall 2016
Summer 2010 Spring 2017
Fall 2010 Spring 2017
Spring 2011 Fall 2017
Summer 2011 Spring 2018
Fall 2011 Spring 2018
Spring 2012 Fall 2018
Summer 2012 Spring 2019
Fall 2012 Spring 2019
Spring 2013 Fall 2019
Summer 2013 Spring 2020
Fall 2013 Spring 2020
Spring 2014 Fall 2020
Summer 2014 Spring 2021
Fall 2014 Spring 2021
Spring 2015 Fall 2021
Summer 2015 Spring 2022
Fall 2015 Spring 2022
Spring 2016 Fall 2022
Summer 2016 Spring 2023
Fall 2016 Spring 2023
Spring 2017 Fall 2023
Summer 2017 Spring 2024
Fall 2017 Spring 2024
Spring 2018 Fall 2024
Summer 2018 Spring 2025
Fall 2018 Spring 2025
Spring 2019 Fall 2025
Summer 2019 Spring 2026
Fall 2019 Spring 2026
Spring 2020 Fall 2026
Summer 2020 Spring 2027
Fall 2020 Spring 2027
Spring 2021 Fall 2027
Summer 2021 Spring 2028
Fall 2021 Spring 2028
Spring 2022 Fall 2028
Summer 2022 Spring 2029
Fall 2022 Spring 2029

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 9 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.

REFUSING CURRENCY

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 colum.

First Term Completion Deadline
Spring 2010 Fall 2014
Summer 2010 Spring 2015
Fall 2010 Spring 2015
Spring 2011 Fall 2015
Summer 2011 Spring 2016
Fall 2011 Spring 2016
Spring 2012 Fall 2016
Summer 2012 Spring 2017
Fall 2012 Spring 2017
Spring 2013 Fall 2017
Summer 2013 Spring 2018
Fall 2013 Spring 2018
Spring 2014 Fall 2018
Summer 2014 Spring 2019
Fall 2014 Spring 2019
Spring 2015 Fall 2019
Summer 2015 Spring 2020
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

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.

Thesis/Project/Dissertation approval will be communicated to the student via the My Sac State account. Credit will be posted after the official last day of the semester. The official last day of the semester\final day for faculty grade submission can be found in the university catalog or website.

Degree Posting (10 - 12 weeks)

Posting of degrees begins on the official last day of the semester and is completed within 10 - 12 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.

Note

  • Any changes to the Advancement require a completed Petition for Exception with department approval. The form may be found on our Forms

  • 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) 278-5507 or print out a request form from 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 8 – 10 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).

View a printable version of the Degree Posting Timeline.