Sac State University Policy Manual

Graduation Requirements, (Applicable Catalog)

Policy Administrator: Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs/Head of Undergraduate Studies and Educational Support Services
Effective Date: January 24, 1990
Index Cross-References: Community College Transfers
Policy File Number: UMG05200.htm


Provisions for electing a campus catalog under which to meet graduation requirements are provided in the California Administrative Code, Title 5, Section 40401, Election of Regulations. Section 40401 provides for the establishment of catalog rights, defines continuous attendance, authorizes campuses to establish time limits for completing graduation requirements, and provides for changes in requirements when students change majors or minors. These provisions, along with any campus-specific information, are discussed in the sections that follow.


"Catalog rights" is a term used to define the specific set of requirements ordinarily as established in the catalog for a specific year, which the student must satisfy to qualify for a degree, certificate, etc.

Students may choose to qualify for graduation under the requirements in effect either (1) at the time they began attending any California community college or CSU campus, or (2) at the time they entered the CSU campus from which they will graduate, or (3) at the time they graduate from the CSU. In order to maintain their "rights," students must remain in continuous attendance (see definition below).

Establishment of catalog rights based on first attendance at a California community college allows students to plan and complete the general education course pattern while attending the California community college.

Although students may be required to meet updated major or minor requirements, general education and other non-major requirements may be secured through "catalog rights."


Students who transfer directly from California Community Colleges or California State University campuses may use the CSUS catalog in effect when they first entered the prior institution provided that:

1. the transfer was not delayed for more than one semester or quarter;

2. no break in enrollment at the CCC or CSU campus was of more than one semester's or quarter's duration; and

3. the student does not attend a school other than another CSU campus or a California Community College during the break in enrollment.


Continuous attendance is defined as attendance in at least one course for at least one semester or two quarters in any one calendar year at any accredited college. "Attendance" is a term, regardless of the length of time, grade(s) received, or the number of courses completed, is established if it results in a record of enrollment on the official transcript of an accredited college for that term.

Absence related to an approved educational leave or for attendance at another accredited institution of higher learning is not considered an interruption, providing the absence does not exceed two years. The absence must be consistent with the CSU definition of educational leave and CSU policy. Students who have been academically disqualified may lose catalog rights previously established.

The Academic Standards Committee adjudicates issues related to matters of "catalog rights" in addition to the foregoing, the Committee is guided by the following:

If a student's major department approves (possibly with conditions) a request to graduate under a previous catalog, then the Committee will regard this approval as a statement that the department regards the coursework/degree as being current, and the Committee shall honor this portion of the student's request.

For students requesting graduation under a catalog which is seven years old or less, the Committee may require completion of any current general University requirements (e.g. a passing score on the WPE). If the student is requesting graduation under a catalog that is over seven years old, then the Committee shall require satisfaction of the current general University requirements (e.g., General Education, WPE, minimum grades, etc."

The intent of this policy is to allow students old catalog rights for major requirements, if the department approves, regardless of how "old" the catalog is. The Committee will assume that a department has considered the issue of "currency" when recommending approval to permit "old" catalog rights for these requirements.

The Committee will also require that an up-to-date graduation evaluation be completed utilizing the catalog rights being requested to determine exactly what requirements remain. Departmental approval of this evaluation will constitute a recommendation in support of the student's request