Degree Requirements

Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

A student must complete the following requirements in order to earn a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree. Requirements are described in detail in the latter part of this section. Most students accumulate a combination of units in the major, General Education, and nondesignated electives in order to fulfill the requirements of a baccalaureate degree. These requirements are fulfilled when a student successfully completes:

  1. a minimum of 120 semester units for the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science degree programs
  2. an academic major
  3. General Education requirements
  4. Specific course/skill requirements: (a) English Composition (English 5A-B, 10, or equivalent); (b) United States History (History 11 or 12); (c) United States and California Constitution (Political Science 2 or 101); (d) Upper-division writing skills
  5. a minimum of 30 residence units, of which 24 must be upper division, 12 in the major, and 9 in General Education
  6. a minimum of 40 upper-division units
  7. a minimum of a C average for units in the major, all California State University, Fresno units, and total units.

To receive the degree, a student files an application for graduation obtained from the Degree Advising Office after paying the graduation fee at the cashier's window in the Joyal Administration Building by one of the published deadlines.
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Double (Concurrent) Major Requirements

Undergraduate students may desire to complete the requirements for more than one major at the time of completion of the baccalaureate degree (i.e., graduate with a double major). All requirements for each degree must be met. When students apply for graduation, they must designate which is the primary degree major. Minimum requirements and exceptions for double majors are as follows:

  • Double B.A. majors must include a minimum of 24 units exclusive of the other major, 12 of which must be upper-division.
  • Double B.S. majors must include a minimum of 36 units exclusive of the other major, 18 of which must be upper-division.
  • Units may be double-counted for both majors above 24 mutually exclusive units (12 upper-division) in B.A. programs and 36 units (18 upper-division) in B.S. programs.
  • Courses in General Education may be used to fulfill secondary major requirements.
  • Students may not earn a special major as a double major.

One Degree with Multiple Majors and/or Minors: Two or more majors leading to the same baccalaureate degree (B.A. or B.S.) do not constitute separate baccalaureate degrees. Only one degree and one diploma will be awarded. Only one application fee is required for one degree, regardless of the number of majors and minors. A student may earn a maximum of two majors and two minors so long all work can be completed within 144 units.

Graduating with Multiple Degrees: A student may be awarded more than one baccalaureate degree (such as a B.A. and B.S.) at the same time provided that requirements of all degree programs have been completed. Students who complete two or more different baccalaureate degrees may apply for all degrees in a single degree period by submitting separate applications simultaneously. A fee is required for each application submitted. Students who concurrently complete the requirements for two or more baccalaureate degrees will be acknowledged on separate diplomas for each degree earned.

Note: Students may not pursue a baccalaureate and master's degree concurrently.
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Special Major for the Bachelor's Degree

The special major for a bachelor's degree (either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science) provides an opportunity for students to engage in an individualized course of study leading to a degree when legitimate academic and professional goals are not accommodated by standard degree majors. The special major consists of correlated studies in two or more fields. It is not intended as a means of bypassing normal graduation requirements or a means by which students may graduate who fail to complete the degree major in which they are enrolled. Also, students may not earn a special major as a double major, and postbaccalaureate students are not eligible to earn a special major at the baccalaureate level.

The special major must be approved by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, with approval based upon a case-by-case justification. Candidates must have one full year of academic work (at least 30 units) still to be completed to meet minimum degree requirements. The minimum total unit requirement for a special major is 120 units. The minimum requirement for the special major is an approved program of 45 units, at least 30 units of which must be upper-division work. Units applied to General Education requirements may not be counted. Also, a maximum of 6 independent study units may be included in the special major program. Any exception to this limit must be approved in writing by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies upon written recommendation by the special major adviser prior to registration for the additional units. Students may not exceed a total of 144 earned units.Students requesting a special major must obtain application forms from the University Advising Center. On these forms students must do the following:

  1. prepare a statement giving their reasons for desiring a special major in terms of academic and professional goals and why these goals cannot be met through a standard major
  2. develop a specific list of courses which would, in their opinion, lead to the stated academic and professional goals
  3. secure the signed approval from the University Advising Center, as well as from the special major adviser and department chair in the areas from which the special major courses are drawn

Students must submit the foregoing material to the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for final approval. All established campus requirements and procedures for awarding bachelor's degrees will apply, including residence units, the upper-division writing requirement and number of acceptable transfer units.

B.S. Program Requirements: At least 25 units of the B.S. Special Major must be from campus colleges offering a broad range of instructional programs in science- or technology-based disciplines. These colleges include the following: Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Craig School of Business, Engineering, Health and Human Services, Science and Mathematics, and Social Sciences. Coursework must be taken in at least two different subject areas or fields of study, with no less than 9 units each from a minimum of two areas.
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Residence Requirements

The residence requirement for the baccalaureate degree specifies that 30 units shall be earned in residence at the campus granting the degree. Twenty-four of these units shall be earned in upper-division courses, 12 of the units shall be in the major, and 9 units shall be in General Education. The residence requirement for graduate students is 21 units.

Extension credit and credit by evaluation, including credit by examination, may not be used to fulfill the above described requirements.
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Specific Course/Skill Requirements

English Requirement. English 1, Composition, or its equivalent is a university graduation requirement that should be completed before the end of the fourth semester of university attendance. (A grade of C is the minimum acceptable grade to satisfy this requirement.) The English Placement Test does not substitute for English 1. Search English Placement Test for test scores prerequisite to enrollment in English 1.

U.S. History and Government Requirements. Undergraduate and second baccalaureate degree candidates must demonstrate competence with respect to the Constitution of the United States, American history, and in the principles of state and local government of California in order to graduate. This may be done by passing examinations or by completing History 11 or 12 and Political Science 2 or 101. (In cases in which students have completed the federal government requirement, Political Science 102 [1 unit] will fulfill the California government requirement.) (Search History Department -- American History Requirement , Political Science Department -- United States Constitution Requirement, and General Education.)

Upper-Division Writing Skills (UDWS) Requirement. All undergraduate and second baccalaureate degree candidates must demonstrate competency in writing skills at the upper-division (junior-senior) level as a requirement for graduation. After completing 60 units and English Composition (ENGL 5A, 5B or 10) or its equivalent with a C or better, students may meet this requirement in one of two ways:

  1. either
    Pass the Upper-Division Writing Examination (UDWE) composed of two essays. This examination is given five times each year, including once before the beginning of each semester. Students are permitted to take the examination a maximum of two times. Upon successful completion of the UDWE, undergraduate students may request 1 unit of credit (ENGL 100W), which will be posted to their transcripts the semester following the date the UDWE was passed. For details, call Testing Services, 559. 278.2457.
  2. Obtain a C, CR, or letter grade of C or better in an approved upper-division writing course at this university. Approved writing courses can be identified in the catalog and Class Schedule by the letter W (e.g., ENGL 160W, BA 105W).

It is imperative that the UDWS requirement be met within two semesters after completing 60 units. The UDWS requirement cannot be fulfilled by a class or test taken outside of The California State University system and cannot be satisfied at a CSU campus at which the student has not matriculated.

The UDWS requirement is not part of the General Education requirement. Passing the UDWE does not exempt students from taking a W course if it is required in their major, e.g., PLANT 110W.

Graduate students should consult Graduate Studies regarding the graduate-level writing proficiency requirement.

Remedial Courses. Students admitted to a CSU campus are expected to possess basic competence in the English language and mathematical computation. Students who require remediation should be placed in remedial classes during their first term of enrollment and should demonstrate proficiency by the end of the first academic year. Such remedial courses are usually designated by the letter R following the course number. Credits earned in remedial courses cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements. (Search Learning Center.)

Unit Limitations

The following unit limitations apply to all bachelor's degrees:

  1. A maximum of 70 transferable semester units (105 quarter) is allowed from two-year institutions (community/junior colleges).
  2. A maximum of 8 semester units of Kinesiology (P.E.)/Dance Techniques/Athletics activity is allowed. (Kinesiology and dance majors may have credit for 12 semester units.)
  3. A maximum of 12 semester units is allowed for work experience/internship/agricultural projects. (A maximum of 6 semester units may transfer into the university. A maximum of 6 semester units of the 12 is allowed in agricultural projects.) All work experience and internships are graded on a credit/no credit basis.
  4. A maximum of 24 semester units at California State University, Fresno is allowed for CR/NC grading, excluding Credit by Examination. (Search Credit/No Credit Grading for other limitations.)
  5. A maximum of 30 semester units is allowed for Credit by Examination (excluding Credit for Advanced Placement Examination).
  6. A maximum of 24 semester units is allowed for credit through Extension and/or correspondence coursework.
  7. A maximum of 6 semester units is allowed for independent study coursework.
  8. A maximum of 6 semester units is allowed for coursework in typing/keyboarding.
  9. A maximum of 30 semester units is allowed for military service and/or education.
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Second Baccalaureate Degree or Undergraduate Major Requirements

Postbaccalaureate students (i.e., those who already hold a bachelor's degree) may pursue a program leading to an additional baccalaureate degree or undergraduate major. Students are urged to consult with a departmental adviser and with the Division of Graduate Studies to determine whether a second baccalaureate or graduate program better meets their needs.

  1. Postbaccalaureate students seeking an additional undergraduate degree must complete the following requirements: (a) A minimum of 30 units in residence at California State University, Fresno since completion of the most recent degree, including 24 upper-division units. ( b) At least 12 units in the major in residence at this university since the last baccalaureate degree. (Departments may set higher requirements.) (c) All state and university requirements for that degree, including English 1, General Education, United States Constitution and California state and local government, American history, and the upper-division writing skills requirement. (These requirements may be met by courses taken in the students' undergraduate programs.) (d) All units required in the major. No credit may be applied from courses taken for an earlier degree. If required major courses were previously taken, the student must substitute, with the approval of the department, additional major courses. Graduate -level courses (200 series) may not be applied toward the requirements for a second baccalaureate degree or additional undergraduate major. (e) Completion of 40 upper-division units taken since the most recent degree was granted. (f) Filing of an undergraduate degree application and payment of graduation fee. (Search Graduation.)
  2. Postbaccalaureate students seeking an additional undergraduate major must complete items b and d above. The transcript will indicate that all coursework for the additional major has been completed. Students pursuing a second baccalaureate degree or additional undergraduate major cannot select the catalog used for the initial undergraduate degree. If students do not remain in continuous attendance, the requirements will be those in effect at the time they reenter the university or complete their programs. (Search Choice of Catalog under Academic Regulations.)
  3. Postbaccalaureate students may not earn a minor or a second minor.
  4. Determination of honors at graduation for students earning a second baccalaureate degree will be calculated based on grades earned in all courses required in the major by the university to complete the second degree which are taken subsequent to completing their first degree.
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Postbaccalaureate Credit

Upper-division and/or graduate-level units earned at Fresno State in the semester or summer session in which the bachelor's degree is granted are automatically listed on the student's permanent record as postbaccalaureate credit as long as

  1. the courses are not needed for the bachelor's degree.
  2. the student is neither on academic probation nor academic disqualification at the beginning of the final term.
  3. the units are not in excess of stated maximum limitations (e.g., 6 units of independent study.)

In addition, only credit for courses in which grades A, B, C, or CR are earned may be counted. No course may have its credit divided between baccalaureate and postbaccalaureate programs; use of such credit for graduate degrees at California State University, Fresno requires special approval and is limited to one-third of the total units required in a graduate degree program. (Search Graduate Studies - Advancement to Candidacy.) Only students with graduate standing may enroll in the following courses: 290, 298, 299. (Search Graduate Studies - Criteria for Thesis and Project.) Use of postbaccalaureate credit for other purposes is to be determined by the appropriate authority.
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Students who anticipate meeting bachelor's degree requirements by the end of a term should obtain and file a completed application for a degree (with appropriate fees) with the Degree Advising Office within the first two weeks of that term. The Graduate Office processes graduate degree applications. See Academic Calendar for filing dates and deadlines. Failure to apply before the final deadline will delay the granting of the degree.

The Degree Advising Office checks students' applications for bachelor's degrees and reports to them regarding eligibility for the degrees. Degrees are not awarded to students with I or RD grades remaining on their records. Students receiving I grades during the final year that have not been completed (or changed to F grades) by the appropriate clearance deadline will not be considered for graduation that semester and must reapply for the degree. (Search Incomplete.)

In order to be eligible for graduation, students must:

  1. Submit an application for the degree and pay the graduation fee
  2. Have been approved for graduation by the faculty
  3. Have completed with appropriate scholastic standing all courses required for the degree. (Graduates receive their official diplomas by mail.)
  4. Have filed official transcripts for all coursework attempted prior to graduation

It is the responsibility of students to be sure that all requirements have been met and that documentation has been filed with the Degree Advising Office, or Graduate Office, by the appropriate deadlines. No additions, deletions, or changes to students' records are permitted after the degree has been recorded.

Honors at Graduation. Honors at the time of graduation from the university are awarded to undergraduate students based on the following criteria:

  1. Students must have an overall minimum grade point average of 3.5 on all work attempted.
  2. Students must have a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on all work taken at the university.
  3. Students must have completed 45 units in residence at California State University, Fresno.

The grade point average earned at California State University, Fresno determines which honors the student receives:

Summa Cum Laude (highest honors) 3.90 to 4.00
Magna Cum Laude (high honors) 3.70 to 3.89
Cum Laude (honors) 3.50 to 3.69

Since the requirement for honors could change, students are requested to check the current General Catalog for the criteria in effect at the time of graduation.
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The Four-Year Scholars Program

A pledge between first-time freshmen students and Fresno State to ensure graduation with a baccalaureate degree in four years when a student follows the requirements and conditions outlined below. Students interested in the program must see a dedicated Four-Year Scholars Program adviser in the University Advising Center before the end of the sixth week of their first fall semester.

To facilitate students' graduation goals, California State University, Fresno extends to qualified students the opportunity to engage in a formal partnership that assures timely completion of a degree. Students enrolling in the university's Four-Year Scholars Program are pledged certain advantages which will facilitate progress toward a degree. These advantages include the following:

  • Guaranteed Course Availability with Personalized Academic Plan *
  • Highest-Level Priority Registration
  • Specialized Advising Each Semester to Ensure Students Stay on Track
  • Eligibility for Parking Fee Waiver/Kennel Bookstore Voucher (if maintaining good academic standing in the program) **

The Four-Year Scholars Program is a partnership. Students share in the responsibility for timely graduation. To obtain a degree in four years, students must satisfy the following conditions:

  1. Advisers. Students must meet with a designated Four-Year Scholars Program adviser every semester beginning in the first semester of their freshman year for the purpose of (a) reaching agreement on/or updating their Four-Year Scholars Education Plan, (b) considering available course offerings in relation to pertinent graduation requirements, and (c) confirming academic progress toward timely graduation.
  2. Four-Year Scholars Education Plan. The program is a plan designed in consultation with a designated Four-Year Scholars Program adviser to ensure completion of all degree requirements within four years. The Four-Year Scholars Education Plan must be signed jointly by the student, the major adviser and one of the dedicated Four-Year Scholars Program advisers in the University Advising Center.
  3. Entry Level Math (ELM) and English Placement (EPT) Tests. Unless exempted, students must have taken these exams during the senior year of high school or the summer prior to enrollment as a freshman. Scores must be at a level that allows the student to enroll in college-level coursework. Students who require remedial and/or developmental courses prior to enrollment in college-level courses will require independent assessment as to eligibility for Four-Year Scholars Program enrollment.
  4. General Education and University Requirements. Students must fulfill in a timely manner all General Education and university requirements articulated in the General Catalog for their year of entry. Students not able to obtain their preferred course and /or their preferred section (days and hours) must be flexible in selecting available alternatives to maintain degree progress.
  5. Major. Students must have a declared major to join this program (some majors are not conducive to this program, i.e. pre-nursing). Students must seek advising from a designated California State University, Fresno Four-Year Scholars Program adviser in their major department so degree obligations can be met. Changes of major may delay the completion of a degree. Students must be sure all prerequisite courses, including "Additional Requirements to the Major" are accounted for in the their academic plans for graduation. If a student is in a "pre" major, the student must be accepted into the major to remain in the Four-Year Scholars Program. If the student is not accepted into the major, the student will be removed from the program.
  6. Minor. If students in the Four-Year Scholars Program wish to take a minor, they must carefully plan it in close cooperation with a Four-Year Scholars Program adviser. Pursuit of a minor requires an increased total unit load and could result in a student being removed from the program. Students may not exceed at total of 144 earned units when adding minors.
  7. Unit Load. Students must take a minimum of 15 units per semester or complete a minimum of 30 units per year, to earn the minimum 120 units for a degree.
  8. Grade Point Average (GPA). The cumulative GPA, the campus GPA, and the GPA in a student's major all must be at or above 2.0 for graduation. Additionally, students must maintain a 2.0 per term to remain in the program. Certain majors or pre-majors require a higher GPA than 2.0, and in such cases that GPA will be used to determine continued eligibility. Students electing to repeat courses for purposes of grade substitution to improve their GPA must do so over and above the minimum articulated annual unit requirements if they expect to complete their Four-Year Scholars Program within the originally planned time. Doing so may put the student at risk for removal from the program. Academically disqualified students will be removed from the Four-Year Scholars Program.
  9. Registration and Fees. Students will register during their priority registration date and time and will pay fees by the required deadlines. Students enrolling late cannot be assured of course availability.
  10. Course Enrollment. Students will enroll and attend California State University, Fresno at those times (including evenings and weekends) when courses are offered and available. Prior approval by the student's designated Four-Year Scholars Program adviser is required before registering at another institution for courses intended for transfer to California State University, Fresno.
  11. Financial Aid. If eligible for assistance, students must meet the appropriate deadlines each year and meet all academic progress requirements and fee payment deadlines.
  12. Degree Filing. Students must file their application for graduation and pay the related fees by the university deadline.
  13. Accountability. Students must comply with all administrative, judicial, and academic policies and procedures of the university, as well as all aforementioned conditions of the Four-Year Scholars Program.

Noncompliance with any of the above conditions 1 through 13 may result in voiding the terms of the Four-Year Scholars Program and the university's pledge to award the student a degree within four years. Disenrollment from the program will also result in the discontinuance of program benefits (priority registration, etc.)

Enrollment in the California State University, Fresno Four-Year Scholars Program is initiated by a student filing an application with the University Advising Center. Signing of this application by a student and his or her designated Four-Year Scholars Program adviser confirms their mutual understanding of the respective obligations of the student/university partnership required for the achievement of a degree in four years.

* If after four academic years of full-time enrollment and meeting all the aforementioned conditions, it is determined that required courses were not available, the student will not be required to pay tuition or fees otherwise required to enroll in courses necessary for graduation.

** If the student has maintained good academic standing in the program (passed all courses required by the university and his or her program requirements) at the end of the first academic year, the student may be eligible for a parking fee waiver or Kennel Bookstore voucher for the following academic semester. This eligibility will be reviewed each semester afterward.

Additional information about the Four-Year Scholars Program may be obtained by contacting the University Advising Center at 559.278.1787.


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Commencement is held annually at the end of spring semester. Students who have completed degree requirements in the summer or in the fall semester immediately preceding commencement are eligible to participate with those who complete their work in the spring semester. For additional information, see Kennel Bookstore, Student Life, and/or the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
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Many students want to study areas not covered by traditional degree programs to increase professional competence, to acquire paraprofessional training, to change careers or to promote personal enrichment. A baccalaureate or master's degree, or second baccalaureate or second major may be inappropriate for them, yet they may still deserve recognition for their work. To meet the needs of these students the university has established three kinds of certificates:

  1. The Certificate of Completion is awarded for successfully completing a planned educational experience (workshop, conference, short course, or seminar) designed for specific academic objectives.
  2. The Certificate of Special Study is awarded for successfully completing a structured program of educational experiences, at least 12 semester units, determined in advance by a department or college/school, and consisting of upper-division (100-199) courses, professional (300-399) courses, and related activities.
  3. The Certificate of Advanced Study is awarded for successfully completing an established, approved program of at least 12 semester units of graduate (200-299) courses, upper-division (100-199) courses, and professional (300-399) courses, as recommended by a department and approved by the Division of Graduate Studies.
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Public School Teacher and Services Credentials

California State University, Fresno offers basic - Multiple Subject, Single Subject, and Special Education - teaching credentials as well as advanced - Specialist and Services - credentials required for employment in K-12 public schools. The Kremen School of Education and Human Development is the primary unit responsible for professional preparation and credential authorization. However, subject matter preparation required for basic credential programs and professional preparation required in some advanced credentials - school nursing, psychology, school social work, agriculture, speech-language pathology, and deaf and hard-of-hearing - are provided by various academic departments. For information about credential programs, refer to the Education section of this catalog or to the appropriate academic department.

Basic Teaching Credentials, Elementary
Multiple Subject:
Multiple Subject, BLCAD
Multiple Subject, with emphasis in Early Childhood Education
Multiple Subject Internship
CalState TEACH

Basic Teaching Credentials, Secondary
Single Subject:

  • Agriculture
  • Art
  • Business
  • English; English-Drama; English-Speech
  • Foreign Languages - Spanish, French
  • Industrial Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Science - Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science
  • Social Science

Single Subject Internship

Basic Teaching Credentials, Special Education
Preliminary Education Specialist (formerly Preliminary Level I Education Specialist)

  • Mild/Moderate Disabilities (including internship)
  • Moderate/Severe Disabilities (including internship)
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing (including internship)

Advanced Specialist and Services Credential
Specialist Teaching Credentials

  • Agriculture
  • Early Childhood
  • Reading and Literacy Leadership
  • Professional Level II Education Specialist:
    Mild/Moderate Disabilities (including internship)
    Moderate/Severe Disabilities (including internship)
    Deaf and Hard of Hearing (including internship)

Services Credentials

  • Preliminary Administrative
  • Professional Administrative

Speech-Language Pathology

School Nurse Services

Pupil Personnel in

  • School Counseling
  • School Psychology
  • School Social Work, Child Welfare and Attendance

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