Division of Research and Graduate Studies
James Marshall, Dean
Frank W. Thomas Building, Room 130
Graduate Studies - Regulations
Students pursuing advanced degrees at California State University, Fresno are a distinctive and valued part of the university. One in five Fresno State students is enrolled at a more advanced level as a postbaccalaureate or graduate student. More than 3,000 such students are enrolled in studies leading to a graduate degree at either the master's or doctoral level, or to the attainment of an advanced credential or a certificate of advanced study.
There are many reasons, both academic and personal, that have drawn these individuals to California State University, Fresno. Some have come in recognition of the excellence of the university's graduate programs, many of which are nationally recognized by external accrediting agencies. Others have been attracted by a sterling group of graduate faculty members who take seriously the requirement to be teacher-scholars and have garnered many awards in teaching and research. Other students have come because of the availability of outstanding facilities that encourage student research and professional development. The natural laboratories of the adjacent Sierra Nevada and the geography of the Central Valley of California provide exciting dimensions for those interested in environmental and ecological research. Collaborative sites jointly operated with governmental agencies and other universities exist in areas such as biomedical research, marine sciences, engineering, agriculture, business, and education. With a campus focus on both applied and theoretical research, students can be more readily assured of an opportunity to match their interests with those of the faculty members.
The Madden Library holdings include one million volumes and nearly 2,600 periodicals and major collections in areas such as music, maps, governmental documents, rare books, and curriculum materials. Library services, such as the interlibrary loan program and electronic database searches, ensure library support for students.
The university also has a history of attracting scholars from many areas of the world. These scholars may join the faculty or present special lectures, and often engage in joint research and publication efforts with Fresno State faculty. Through these scholars, graduate students are exposed to a significant network of nationally recognized colleagues.
The Division of Research and Graduate Studies includes all departments and academic units within the university that offer graduate courses and programs leading to advanced degrees. The chief administrative officer of the Division of Research and Graduate Studies is the graduate dean, who has general responsibility for the development, planning, assessment, improvement, and administration of postbaccalaureate and graduate programs offered by the university. Within this charge, the division administers all graduate student record functions, including student academic progress and evaluations; develops opportunities for providing student fellowships, scholarships, and assistantships; and provides support for research and professional scholarship activities for faculty and graduate students.
Housed within the Division of Research and Graduate Studies are the special admission, program, and degree specialists, and the dissertation/thesis consultant. They advise both domestic and international students about the requirements and regulations for completion of a graduate degree and other special circumstances that may arise. Staff members in the division provide general information to graduate students.
The responsibilities of the Division of Research and Graduate Studies are complex and decentralized to include the eight academic colleges and schools of the university and the departments within them housing the graduate programs. Each program has a graduate program coordinator who often serves as the initial point of contact for entering graduate students. The faculty members in the department who constitute the graduate faculty group have initial responsibility for the quality and scheduling of courses (including special topics) and the preparation of course syllabi, examinations, projects, and theses.
As a member of the graduate faculty, the major professor/advisor for a student is responsible for guiding the student in selecting appropriate courses, research problems, and professional experiences. Moreover, the major professor/advisor is important as both a colleague and mentor in facilitating the intellectual development and maturation of the student within the discipline.
The chief consultative body responsible for formulating and recommending policies, standards, and procedures is the university's Graduate Committee. This committee is composed of eight faculty members elected by the faculty and the graduate dean.
The Graduate Student Body
The Division of Research and Graduate Studies is proud of the diversity of its graduate student body. Graduate students come from a variety of ethnic, racial, and age groups, and represent many nationalities and countries throughout the world. They present a mosaic of personal values, beliefs, and experiences that enrich the dialogue of campus conversations. Whether these students are recent graduates of bachelor's degree programs or are returning students, they constitute a dynamic group on campus. The diversity of the student body thus presents a very special opportunity for all part-time and full-time graduate students to establish a vast, collegial network.
For those students who make up the graduate student body, success in the pursuit of a graduate degree depends upon active cooperation with their faculty advisers and instructors. Graduate students are expected to develop the ability to critically seek out and analyze facts, sift evidence, master theories and advanced techniques of professional inquiry, and demonstrate these abilities orally and in writing. Moreover, they must risk giving their informed opinions and be ready to accept criticism and advice rendered by faculty mentors and student colleagues. The pursuit of an advanced degree also requires that participants demonstrate an essential degree of independence and self-motivation in acquiring knowledge in their field of study. The rewards for those who succeed are many, as evidenced by the rapidly growing number of individuals nationwide who earn a graduate degree. Currently, more than 611,000 master's degrees and 140,000 doctoral degrees are awarded annually in the United States.
There is great variety in the nature and scope of the graduate programs, options, concentrations, and emphases available at California State University, Fresno. Those that are officially recognized and for which the university is authorized to confer a degree are listed below. Additional areas of specialization, although not officially recognized on transcripts or diplomas, may be obtained through selection of appropriate elective courses. For more, see master's degrees and doctorates.
GRADUATE DEGREES AND AUTHORIZED OPTIONS
Accountancy, Master of Science*
Agricultural Science, Master of Science
Art, Master of Arts
Biology, Master of Science
Biotechnology, Master of Biotechnology
Business Administration, Master of Business Administration ****
Chemistry, Master of Science
Clinical Rehabilitation Mental Health Counseling, Master of Science
Communication, Master of Arts
Computer Science, Master of Science
Creative Writing, Master of Fine Arts
Criminology, Master of Science
Education, Master of Arts
(Counseling and Student Services; Curriculum and Instruction; Early Childhood Education;
Educational Leadership and Administration;
Multilingual and Multicultural Education;
Food and Nutritional Sciences, Master of Science*
Geology, Master of Science
Industrial Technology, Master of Science
Interdisciplinary Studies, Master of Arts,
Master of Science
International Relations, Master of Arts*
Mass Communication and Journalism, Master of Arts*
Physics, Master of Science
Plant Science, Master of Science
Public Administration, Master of Public Administration
Social Work, Master of Social Work
Spanish, Master of Arts
Special Education, Master of Arts
Teaching, Master of Arts****
Viticulture and Enology, Master of Science*
Water Resource Management, Master of Science****
Educational Specialist Degree
School Psychology, Ed.S.
Educational Leadership, Ed.D.
Nursing, Joint D.N.P.***
Physical Therapy, D.P.T.
Certificates of Advanced Study
Community and Regional Planning
Criminal Justice Counseling Specialist*
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Teaching American History
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
See also Certificate of Advanced Study.
* Admissions are currently suspended.
** In these programs, a student may earn a degree without also declaring an option.
*** This degree is jointly conferred with San Jose State University.
**** Online studies offered.
Teaching Associateships and Graduate Assistantships
A number of teaching associateships and graduate assistantships are available to graduate students who are enrolled in graduate degree programs and whose previous records show outstanding achievement in academic work, outstanding subject matter competence in their major fields, and the special qualities necessary to the duties assigned.
Eligibility for an initial associateship or assistantship appointment requires possession of a baccalaureate degree and admission to the graduate degree program that gives the nomination with at least conditional classified graduate status. Subsequent appointments require that students maintain a 3.0 GPA, be enrolled in coursework toward their graduate degree, and demonstrate satisfactory progress toward completion of their graduate degree.
Assistants work under the direction of an assigned faculty member and assist in such functions as the supervision of laboratories or other small groups, the evaluation of student work, the preparation of course materials, or the conduct of authorized research. Assistants may receive a stipend. For specific information, contact the chair of the major department.
Graduate Student Research and Creative Activities Support Awards*
Limited awards of up to $1,000 are available each semester on a competitive basis to students in any academic area in the form of grants for special merit and quality scholarship of doctoral/graduate student research and creative activities associated with a dissertation, thesis, or project.
*Application/nomination forms are available at www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies under the "Financial Aid" link, then "Financial Opportunities through the Division of Research and Graduate Studies."
Graduate Student Travel Grants*
Travel grants are available to graduate students who have had papers and/or posters accepted for presentation at major, professional conferences or society meetings.
*Application/nomination forms are available at www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies under the "Financial Aid" link, then "Financial Opportunities through the Division of Research and Graduate Studies."
California Graduate Equity Fellowship Program*
Fellowships of up to $2,000 are available for underrepresented graduate students who qualify. The California Graduate Equity Fellowship Program seeks to increase the diversity of students completing graduate degree programs at California State University, Fresno and encourages continuation to doctoral programs and consideration of university faculty careers. It provides fellowships for economically disadvantaged graduate students (especially those from groups that are underrepresented among graduate degree recipients in their areas of study) and promotes faculty mentoring and research opportunities. Filing deadlines are in the spring for funding in the following academic year.
*Application/nomination forms are available at www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies under the "Financial Aid" link, then "Financial Opportunities through the Division of Research and Graduate Studies."
Robert and Norma Craig Scholarship*
These fellowships, awarding student stipends of up to $1,000 each, provide benefits for both graduate students and faculty. Eligible projects will include such mentored activities as research, instructional assistance, or other faculty-assigned duties. Nominations are due at the announced fall deadline, and must be jointly developed by the faculty member and the graduate student(s).
*Application/nomination forms are available at www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies under the "Financial Aid" link, then "Financial Opportunities through the Division of Research and Graduate Studies.
California Predoctoral Program
for Undergraduate and Graduate Students*
The California Predoctoral Program is designed to increase the pool of potential faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of California State University students who have experienced economic and educational disadvantages. The program provides travel funds for qualified students to visit institutions that grant the doctorate and/or attend professional meetings with a faculty sponsor. Students in the program may also be considered to participate in a summer research program at a UC or CSU campus.
President's Graduate Scholars Scholarships*
Each year Fresno State awards graduate students President’s Graduate Scholars scholarships of up to $3,000 each. Nominees can apply for a second year of funding if satisfactory progress is maintained.
University Scholarships for Graduate Students
Scholarship applications and information for postbaccalaureate/graduate students for the current academic year will only be available and accepted online. Students may log on to http://fresnostate.edu/studentaffairs/scholarships and click on Scholarship Application.
The "priority application" period for "full consideration" of scholarship opportunities has been established as September 1 through March 2.
Definition of Full-Time Student
Depending on the use of the term, there are several definitions of full time. For the purpose of reporting enrollments, graduate students taking 9 or more units are considered full time and students taking less than 9 units are considered part time.
For the purpose of financial aid (loans, veteran's assistance, etc.), a full-time student takes 12 "equivalent units" wherein each graduate unit (200-level) attempted by a graduate student is considered as 1.5 units and each undergraduate unit (100-level or below) counts at face value. For example, a student enrolled for 8 units of 200-level courses would be considered a full-time student. Three-quarter time and half-time are defined to be 9 to 11.5 and 6 to 8.5 "equivalent units," respectively.
Requirement for full-time enrollment for international students. The United States Office of Homeland Security (OHS) requires international students on non-immigrant F-1 and J-1 visas to pursue full-time study in a specific program for each semester of enrollment. Full-time study includes 12 weighted academic units of approved prerequisite, corequisite, or graduate program courses. (Note: Graduate-level courses have a weighting factor of 1.5 per course unit.)
Maximum Study Load
Graduate courses require substantially more concentrated study than do undergraduate courses. A normal load is from 9 to 12 units, and the maximum allowable load is 16 units for full-time graduate degree students when one or more courses in the 200 series are included. Requests for exceptions to this policy must be addressed to the Graduate Division during the registration period on a Graduate Student Petition for Academic Overload. The form is available online at www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies. Students employed full time may take a maximum of 6 units.
Application for Graduate/Postbaccalaureate Admission
Students are encouraged to plan and apply for graduate admission as early as possible. Completed applications are considered as they are received and thus there are many benefits to applying early. For example, it is often the case that available financial awards such as teaching assistantships and other financial aid resources, which are limited in number, may be granted only to the early applicants. Be aware, too, that a decision on an incomplete application is likely to be delayed. In many instances this occurs when required supporting documents such as official transcripts, scores from standardized tests (GRE, GMAT, MAT), or materials the program requires are not received. Applicants are advised to ensure that these materials are requested and forwarded prior to or at the same time as the submission of their application. All documents submitted become the property of California State University, Fresno and will not be returned.
The Graduate Admissions Office (located in Joyal Administration Building, Room 121) may be consulted during the time applications are being considered at 559.278.4073. For information on the status of an application, students may access the university Student Center at MyFresnoState, my.fresnostate.edu. Prospective graduate, credential, and advanced certificate students apply to the university online at calstate.edu/apply using the Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Application. Students need to be aware that most graduate degree programs, certificates of advanced study, and credential programs require additional information prior to consideration for admission into a specific program. Students will be informed and directed to the appropriate place for submitting these additional admission materials within the calstate.edu/apply application process. Those interested in a second undergraduate degree should also apply through calstate.edu/apply using the Graduate Postbaccalaureate Application.
Limitation of Graduate Enrollment
Admission to postbaccalaureate/graduate studies must be restricted to the number of students for whom an effective education can be provided by staff, facilities, and funding available at California State University, Fresno. The university may limit postbaccalaureate/graduate enrollment on the basis of the academic field and the relative aptitude of the applicant, based on approved admissions criteria.
Graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants may apply for a degree objective, a credential, or certificate objective. Depending on the objective, the CSU will consider an application for admission as follows:
General Requirements - The minimum university requirements for admission to graduate and postbaccalaureate studies at a California State University campus are in accordance with university regulations as well as Title 5, chapter 1, subchapter 3 of the California Code of Regulations. Specifically, at the time of enrollment, a student shall (1) have completed a four-year college course of study and hold an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association, or shall have completed equivalent academic preparation as determined by appropriate campus authorities; (2) be in good academic standing at the last college or university attended; (3) have earned a grade point average of at least 2.5 on the last degree completed by the candidate or have attained a grade point average of at least 2.5 (A=4.0) in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted; and (4) satisfactorily meet the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards for graduate study, including qualifying examinations, as appropriate campus authorities may prescribe. In unusual circumstances, a campus may make exceptions to these criteria.*
Students who meet the minimum requirements for graduate and postbaccalaureate studies may be considered for admission in one of the following categories:
Graduate Classified – To pursue a graduate degree, applicants are required to fulfill all of the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, prescribed by the campus; or
Graduate Conditionally Classified – Applicants may be admitted to a graduate degree program in this category if, in the opinion of appropriate campus authority, deficiencies may be remedied by additional preparation; or
Postbaccalaureate Classified, e.g. admission to an education credential program – Persons wishing to enroll in a credential or certificate program will be required to satisfy additional professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, prescribed by the campus; or
Postbaccalaureate Unclassified – To enroll in undergraduate courses as preparation for advanced degree programs or to enroll in graduate courses for professional or personal growth, applicants must be admitted as post-baccalaureate unclassified students. By meeting the general requirements, applicants are eligible for admission as post-baccalaureate unclassified students. Admission in this status does not constitute admission to, or assurance of consideration for admission to, any graduate degree or credential program. (Most CSU campuses do not offer admission to unclassified post-baccalaureate students).
Note: Graduate degree students who have been granted conditionally classified admission to a graduate program are required to complete all conditions for achieving classified standing (full admission) to the program by the semester in which a maximum of one-third of the units to be used toward the graduate degree is completed. (Exception: Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling requires classification by the completion of 10 program units.) Failure to attain classified graduate standing in a timely manner as outlined in this catalog may result in the loss of units to be applied toward the degree since excess units may not be listed on the Petition of Advancement to Candidacy.
A graduate student is expected to attain classified graduate standing either at admission or during the first semester of studies. Candidates for classification are expected to possess a minimum 3.0 postbaccalaureate cumulative grade point average.
Doctoral students should consult the appropriate doctoral program guidelines for information regarding obtaining classified standing.
Graduate Classified Standing. This category is granted to those students who fully meet all admission requirements of the Division of Research and Graduate Studies and the program. It enables the student to pursue a graduate degree and fulfill all of the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards -- including qualifying examinations -- prescribed by the campus.
Only those applicants who show promise of success in and fitness for the profession will be admitted to Classified Graduate Standing, and only those who continue to demonstrate a satisfactory level of scholastic competence and fitness shall be eligible to continue in the graduate program. (See also Grade Requirements.)
*These and other CSU admissions requirements are subject to change as policies are revised and laws are amended. The CSU website www.calstate.edu and the CSU admissions portal www.calstate.edu/apply are good sources for the most up-to-date information.
Standardized Test Requirements
Applicants to graduate degree and advanced certificate programs may be required to submit appropriate admission test scores with the university application to Graduate/Postbaccalaureate Studies. Please see program admission information to determine if a standardized test is required. This information is also available at http://www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies
Applications and information concerning the GRE as well as the MAT and GMAT are available through the Testing Services office in the Family Food Sciences Building, Room 110. GMAT information is available in the Craig School of Business Graduate Office in the Peters Building, Room 183.
It should be noted that an applicant's standardized test scores will not constitute the sole criterion according to which an admissions decision will be rendered. However, some departments, particularly in the sciences and engineering, may give more importance to standardized test scores than departments in other fields.
Change of Graduate Degree Objective
Postbaccalaureate/graduate students who intend to change their major or degree objective or add a second objective must complete and file an Add or Change Graduate Degree or Certificate of Advanced Study Objective, which includes a fee payable at the cashier's window in the Joyal Administration Building. These students must meet the admissions requirements of the new program. The application for Add or Change Graduate Degree or Certificate of Advanced Study Objective is available in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies, Frank W. Thomas Building, Room 130, or on the website at http://www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies.
Second Graduate Degree
Students planning to engage in study toward a second graduate degree must obtain prior approval from the graduate dean. Students may not earn a second graduate degree in the same field. Coursework used to satisfy the requirements of one degree may not be used to satisfy the requirements of the second degree.
Double Major Objectives
Those graduate/postbaccalaureate students pursuing more than one objective (i.e., two graduate degrees) must notify the Division of Research and Graduate Studies so that appropriate student standing may be noted with departments concerned.
A Certificate of Advanced Study may be earned in a limited number of approved, nondegree programs. Such programs provide useful coursework and professional experiences that emphasize the acquisition of advanced technical skills of a practical, applied nature. For a current list of such programs, consult the Division of Research and Graduate Studies, 559.278.2448. Applicants to a Certificate of Advanced Study program must meet the specific admission requirements of the individual program and the university. These include admission to postbaccalaureate standing and the submission of relevant test scores if required.
A Proposed Program for the Certificate of Advanced Study form must be on file in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies office immediately following completion of the first semester/term of certificate coursework. The submission of the proposed program is important because it gives a student permission to proceed toward qualifying for the advanced certificate, and approval of the program is required for a student to remain in good standing. Proposed program forms are available in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies Office, Frank W. Thomas Building, Room 130, or on the website at www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies.
With prior approval, those pursuing study toward a graduate degree may also pursue study toward a Certificate of Advanced Study. Double-counting of units on the certificate and on the graduate program, though limited, is possible. Those whose sole objective is the earning of the Certificate of Advanced Study are ineligible to receive graduate assistantships, fellowships, and other awards designed for those pursuing a graduate degree. The Application for the Award of the Certificate of Advanced Study form must be on file in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which all courses and requirements are expected to be completed. The applications for the awarding of the certificate are available in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies, Frank W. Thomas Building, Room 130, or on the website at www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies. Upon clearance of the advanced certificate, a notation that the certificate has been awarded will be posted to the student's official transcript.
For more detailed information regarding advanced certificate program eligibility, course guidelines/limitations, required grades, etc., contact the Division of Research and Graduate Studies or the appropriate certificate program coordinator for the Guidelines for the Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) form.
Prohibition Against Double Counting of Coursework
No units used to fulfill the requirements of one degree may be used to fulfill the requirements of another degree. For example, 100-series courses used toward a bachelor's degree may not be subsequently used toward a graduate degree.
Repetition of Courses
A postbaccalaureate student pursuing a graduate degree or Certificate of Advanced Study may repeat a course for academic credit (subject to limitations in some degree curricula) regardless of what grade was originally earned in the course. However, such a student is not eligible to petition for grade substitution. All coursework taken is considered in the calculation of the student's postbaccalaureate cumulative grade point average.
International Student Admissions
The Division of Research and Graduate Studies seeks to bring students from all parts of the world to the campus. Since English is the language of instruction at the university, students should be prepared to write their theses, proejcts, examinations, and/or seminar papers in English. Applicants whose native language is not English must have acquired competence in the English language prior to enrolling in a graduate program or prerequisite courses in order to avoid any delay or difficulty in pursuing their studies.
Graduate English Competency
Graduate and Postbaccalaureate English Requirement. All graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must demonstrate competence in English. Applicants who do not possess a bachelor's or graduate degree from a postsecondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing (IELTS). Such applicants must receive a minimum score of 213 on the TOEFL, or minimum score of 80 on the iBT TOEFL, or a minimum of 6.5 overall band score on the IELTS. Some graduate programs may require a higher score.
It is highly recommended that TOEFL or IELTS scores, Graduate Record Examination General Test scores, or GMAT or MAT scores, application, and official academic documents reach the university International Admissions Office at least six months before the semester for which admission is desired. See program information for specific test scores that may be required.
You may also contact the Office of Testing Services at www.fresnostate.edu/testing.
Applications for international postbaccalaureate/graduate admission are found online at www.calstate.edu/apply.
Questions about the international application procedures should be directed to the following:
International Student Services
California State University, Fresno
5150 North Maple Avenue M/S JA56
Fresno, CA 93740-8026
During the first semester at California State University, Fresno, international graduate students whose native language is not English may be required to enroll in special courses in English to help improve writing skills and to provide the greatest possibility of success in graduate studies.
Advancement to Candidacy: Eligibility
Advancement to candidacy gives a student permission to proceed toward qualifying for the degree and provides the student with a program of study that has been officially reviewed and approved by both the student's faculty and by the graduate dean. This important step confers on the student the status of candidate for the degree and represents a commitment both on the part of the student and the degree program to complete the degree within a specified time limit according to requirements published in a specific university catalog year. Advancement to candidacy is essential to the student in planning for registration in courses. The student should, therefore, meet with his/her graduate program coordinator/director soon after attaining classified graduate standing to discuss advancement to candidacy. Eligibility criteria for advancement to candidacy are as follows:
Deadline. Advancement to candidacy must be attained no later than the semester preceding the semester in which the student applies for the graduate degree to be granted and/or begins the culminating experience. Campus policy requires students to petition for advancement to candidacy as soon as they are eligible to do so. Normally this should occur within one semester of having attained classified graduate standing. Compliance with this policy is necessary for a student to remain in good standing.
Academic/Professional Standards. All students in graduate standing must demonstrate a satisfactory level of scholastic achievement as revealed by grades and performance on examinations, as well as professional and personal standards and ethical competence as determined by program faculty. This standard must be maintained in order for a student to be eligible to continue in a graduate program and be recommended for candidacy by the department.
Classified Graduate Standing. Classified graduate standing gives a student permission to work toward qualifying for advancement to candidacy. A student should be classified by the semester in which a maximum of one-third of the units to be used toward the graduate degree are completed. (Exception: Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling requires classification by the completion of 10 program units.) Not more than one-third of the program (including transfer and postbaccalaureate credit) completed before achieving full classified graduate standing at California State University, Fresno may be listed on the Petition of Advancement to Candidacy. Courses taken during the semester in which the student is classified may also be listed on the Petition of Advancement to Candidacy.
Prerequisites. Any prerequisites prescribed by the student's graduate program coordinator/director and specified in writing must be completed prior to advancement. Prerequisite coursework may not be listed on the Petition of Advancement to Candidacy for use toward the degree.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Subject Test. Satisfactory completion of the GRE Subject Test is required of students working toward the Master of Arts in Mathematics. Satisfactory completion of either the GRE Subject Test or the Major Field Test (MFT) is required of students working toward the Master of Science in Physics.
Departmental Qualifying Examination (DQE). Satisfactory completion of the DQE is required in art, civil engineering, kinesiology, linguistics, Spanish, and viticulture and enology.
Foreign Language Requirement. Demonstration of competence, usually equivalent to that achieved through two years of collegiate study of one foreign language, is required in specified graduate degree programs in which upper-division and graduate courses demand such competence. Competence in the use of a foreign language is required for the Master of Arts in English, History (traditional track only), and Music (vocal performance and choral conducting emphases only). The foreign language requirement for the Master of Arts in International Relations is a prerequisite for graduation rather than advancement to candidacy. Ordinarily, the requirement calls for demonstration of the ability to read materials of the graduate program in one appropriate foreign language. Students who are conducting research in a foreign country for the Master of Science in Geology must be proficient in the language in which source materials are published. Students should consult their graduate advisor or the chair of the Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures Department for information about placement tests.
Grade Point Average. A minimum program grade point average of 3.0 in all courses listed on the advancement petition is required. (See also Grade Requirements.) Those enrolling in coursework not related to the graduate degree are encouraged to request CR/NC grading.
Units Completed. Graduate degree students are required to complete at least 9 units of the proposed graduate degree program while in graduate standing at California State University, Fresno, with a minimum 3.0 grade point average on all completed work appearing on the Petition of Advancement to Candidacy.
Graduate Writing Requirement. All graduate degree students must demonstrate their competence in written English prior to advancement to candidacy. Early completion of this requirement is recommended. The date the student met the writing skills requirement must be noted on the Petition of Advancement to Candidacy and verified by the graduate coordinator/director. See approved program requirements.
Submission of the Advancement Petition. Submission to the Division of Research and Graduate Studies of the properly signed Petition of Advancement to Candidacy is required before advancement status may be achieved. Students are responsible for ensuring that their advisers have sufficient information other than grades and scores on which to make a recommendation for candidacy. Advancement petitions specific to each degree program can be downloaded and printed from the Division of Research and Graduate Studies website at http://www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies. On the advancement petition, the student, in consultation with his or her advisor, lists a cohesive set of courses which, when approved, will constitute his or her degree program. Students are responsible for adhering to deadlines established by the Graduate Division for the submission of advancement petitions. Approximate deadlines are October 1 (for spring graduation) and March 1 (for summer or fall graduation). Petitions received after the deadline are considered late and will be processed as time allows. Students cannot be advanced to candidacy and graduate in the same semester.
Doctoral students should consult their appropriate program guidelines for information regarding advancement to candidacy.
Advancement to Candidacy: Policies for Graduate Degrees
The approved degree program for the graduate degree is a cohesive pattern of specific requirements for the program and additional courses selected to meet the student's particular needs. It consists of at least 30 units that must be completed within five years, beginning with the earliest course taken toward the degree. Only graduate courses (200-series) and such upper-division courses (100-series) as are recommended by the colleges, schools, or departments and approved by the University Graduate Committee are acceptable for use toward a graduate degree. Other courses are counted in calculating the student's study load but cannot be counted toward the unit requirement for the degree. Courses that were used to satisfy the requirements of a previous degree cannot be double-counted toward another degree. The approved program must be consistent with the following policies:
Residence Credit. At least 21 units of a 30-unit program must be residence credit (courses taken through regular enrollment at California State University, Fresno). No more than 9 units of transfer and/or California State University, Fresno Extension credit may be included in the 30-unit program, or no more than 18 units in the 60-unit program.
Transfer Credit. Transfer credit may be used toward a California State University, Fresno graduate degree only if the institution offering the work is regionally accredited (A-rated) and would accept it for a comparable graduate degree program. The off-campus institution must also have listed the units as postbaccalaureate graduate units on the student's transcript. Credit at California State University, Fresno will be granted if it is judged by appropriate university authorities to be particularly relevant to the individual student's program. The student must present appropriate documentation, including official transcripts of work completed and copies from the catalog of the institution where the transfer work was taken, as follows: the relevant course description(s); evidence that the course(s) may be used toward a graduate degree at that institution; the course numbering and grading systems; and information clarifying whether the institution used the semester or quarter system. If approved, a maximum of 9 transfer units (including California State University, Fresno Extension and/or Open University) may be used toward a 30-unit program. Effective with the spring 2013 semester, a maximum of 9 transfer units of coursework from an institution outside of the United States may be used toward a graduate degree at California State University, Fresno, provided that the credits were earned at an officially recognized degree-granting international institution. Approval of any international transfer credits toward a graduate degree program must be granted by International Student Services and Programs personnel and the student's graduate program coordinator/director.
Extension Credit. Courses taken through Continuing and Global Education (Extension and/or Open University) are not normally used to fulfill the requirements toward a graduate degree. Students intending to take a course through the Division of Continuing and Global Education must request special permission from their graduate program coordinator/director to use the course toward their graduate degree. If approved, a maximum of 9 transfer (including California State University, Fresno Extension and/or Open University) units may be used toward a 30-unit program. Students may not enroll through Open University in order to bypass the university fee structure.
Postbaccalaureate/Graduate Credit. With approval of the graduate program coordinator, postbaccalaureate/graduate credit allowed for work taken prior to the granting of the baccalaureate degree as a last-semester senior may be applied toward a graduate degree. However, the amount of postbaccalaureate credit used toward the graduate degree may not exceed one-third of the student's entire approved program.
Student Teaching Credit. Student teaching credit is not ordinarily used on graduate degree programs. In unusual circumstances, if student teaching is demonstrably appropriate to a program, up to 3 units of such work may be approved by the University Graduate Committee.
Credit by Examination. Credit by examination for coursework may be used to fulfill prerequisites, but may not be applied toward the graduate degree program.
CR/NC Grading. Graduate students may not elect to take a course for a CR grade to fulfill either prerequisite or major program requirements unless the course is only available for CR/NC grading. A maximum of 6 units of CR-graded coursework may be applied to a 30-unit graduate degree program and a maximum of 12 units of CR-graded coursework may be applied to a 60-unit program. Some programs allow no CR-graded courses to be counted toward fulfillment of their degree requirements.
Prohibited Coursework. Courses used to fulfill General Education curriculum (Foundation, Breadth, Integration or Multicultural/International), undergraduate writing "W" courses, lower-division courses, professional (300-level) courses, and courses used to fulfill the requirements for another degree may not be used in fulfillment of the program requirements for the graduate degree.
Outdated Courses. Courses older than five years may not be included on the Petition of Advancement to Candidacy and used to fulfill requirements toward the master's degree.
Independent Study Courses. A maximum of 6 (one-fifth of the total program units) independent study (190 or 290) units may be approved for use toward a 30-unit master's degree. (See Independent Study section under Academic Placement.)
Graduate-Level Courses. A minimum of 70 percent of the courses listed on the Petition of Advancement to Candidacy for use toward the graduate degree must be graduate-level courses numbered in the 200-series. Most programs require more than the minimum.
Substitutions. Substitutions for required program courses or for other departmental requirements must be approved by the student's graduate program coordinator/director and listed on the Petition of Advancement to Candidacy. Substitutions might require additional written justification.
It is the student's responsibility to complete the specific courses listed on his or her Petition of Advancement to Candidacy (master's program) or the Proposed Program for the Certificate of Advanced Study (advanced certificate program). Once a program has been approved by the University Graduate Committee, it may be changed only on the written request of the student and his or her graduate program advisor (if required) and coordinator/director, and with the approval of the dean, Division of Research and Graduate Studies. Program Adjustment Request forms for degree and certificate programs are available in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies, Frank W. Thomas Building, Room 130, or on the website at www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies.
Doctoral students should consult the appropriate program for information regarding advancement to candidacy policies.
A culminating experience is required for each graduate degree. Acceptable culminating experiences include thesis (299), project (298), or comprehensive examination. Individual departments permit one or more culminating experiences described in this section. Students who have enrolled in thesis or project units will not be permitted to change to another culminating experience after the initial semester of such enrollment. Students must be advanced to candidacy before enrolling in project or thesis units, or before taking the comprehensive exam.
- A thesis is the written product of the systematic study of a significant problem. It clearly identifies the problem, states the major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendation. The finished product must evidence originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, clarity of purpose, and accurate and thorough documentation. Normally, an oral defense of the thesis will be required.
- A project is a significant undertaking of a pursuit appropriate to the fine and applied arts or to professional fields. It must evidence originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a rationale. It must be described and summarized in a written abstract that includes the project's significance, objectives, methodology, and a conclusion or recommendation. An oral defense of the project may be required.
- A comprehensive examination is an assessment of the student's ability to integrate the knowledge of the area, show critical and independent thinking, and demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. The results of the examination must evidence appropriate organization, critical analysis, and accuracy of documentation. A record of the examination questions and responses shall be maintained.
Doctoral students should obtain information on the culminating experience(s) from the appropriate doctoral program.
No academic distinction is made between a thesis and a project. Either one is equally acceptable as a means of fulfilling the requirements for the graduate degree. Specific departmental instructions or requirements should, however, be ascertained by the candidate before enrollment in courses 298 or 299. The instructor of record for thesis or project must issue a letter grade on the Graduate Degree Clearance form through the Division of Research and Graduate Studies.
Whether a student is preparing a thesis or a project, it should be noted that quality of work accomplished is a major consideration in judging acceptability. The finished project/thesis must evidence originality, appropriate organization, clarity of purpose, critical analysis, and accuracy and completeness of documentation where needed.
Critical and independent thinking should characterize every project/thesis. Mere description, cataloging, compilation, and other superficial procedures are not adequate.
The quality of writing, format, and documentation must meet standards appropriate for publication in the scholarly journals of the field, or be consistent with the dictates of an authorized stylebook.
- To be eligible to enroll for thesis or project, students must have (a) been advanced to candidacy for the graduate degree; (b) maintained a B (3.0) program grade point average; (c) completed at least 9 units of their approved program on the Fresno campus; (d) completed any course in research techniques required by their major department; (e) for the thesis, secured a committee (a chair and at least two other members); for the project, met individual departmental requirements; and (f) for the thesis, secured approval of their thesis plan from the division or department graduate committee and filed an official thesis committee assignment form with the Division of Research and Graduate Studies.
- Enrollment in thesis units may be processed any semester after the requirements listed in [1a] through [1f] have been met or special permission for exceptions has been granted. If, however, a student fails to enroll within one semester (excluding summer sessions) after his or her official acceptance by a thesis committee, the committee chair has the option of dissolving the committee, in which case a new committee must be appointed and new forms filed before registration can be processed. A student planning to register for thesis after more than a semester break in regular session attendance must be readmitted to the university. Parallel rules apply to project enrollment.
- Students who plan to extend their project or thesis work over more than the semester in which they enroll in the total number of project or thesis units must continue to register for zero units in either 298C (for project students) or 299C (for thesis students) each subsequent semester until the awarding of the degree. Students may enroll twice in either 298C or 299C with department approval. Additional registrations are not encouraged, and must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies. (See Continuous Enrollment.)
- If work in 298 or 299 is not completed at the end of the term of registration, but is progressing satisfactorily, an RP (Report in Progress) grade is recorded.
- The student and the project or thesis chair should set a deadline for completion of the final submission. For thesis students, this date should be early enough that the chair and the other members of the committee can clear the thesis before the student must meet the thesis submission deadline established by the dean of the Division of Research and Graduate Studies. The latter deadlines are approximately mid-October (fall), mid-March (spring), and mid-June (summer).
- Before a thesis is officially accepted by the Graduate Division, it must meet Graduate Division criteria on matters of format, documentation, and quality of writing. The final submission, approved by the thesis committee members as acceptable in content and form, should be deposited electronically to the Dissertation/Thesis Office website, www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies/thesis, by the established deadline (see item 5 above). This deadline has been set as late as possible in the semester to accommodate the student. Students are urged to follow meticulously the Guidelines for Thesis Preparation.
- Doctoral students should obtain dissertation guidelines from the degree program office.
Thesis or Project Research Involving Human Subjects and Animal Subjects. Students conducting research involving human subjects should not begin use of human subjects until written approval has been received from the departmental Human Subjects Committee and, where review demands, the University Committee on Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS). Guidelines and forms for protocols can be obtained from the departmental office or the Office of the Vice President for Administration. Students should allow at least two weeks for a required CPHS review.
Students planning to conduct research involving live animals housed on campus must receive approval of the research from the Animal Care and Use Committee. Forms may be obtained from the office of the dean, College of Science and Mathematics.
Appeals and Petitions
Graduate degree students wishing to request substitutions or modifications in a department's degree requirements should initiate their request through the department's graduate committee. Requests for exceptions to established university policies governing graduate study may be addressed to the dean, Division of Research and Graduate Studies. Grade protests must be submitted to the Student Academic Petitions Committee through the director of the University Advising Center according to university policy. Information concerning grade protest procedures and dispute resolution is available in the Office of the Dean of Students.
Enrollment in Graduate-level (200-297) Courses. Enrollment in graduate-level (200-297) courses is limited to those who have been officially admitted to a graduate degree, advanced certificate, or credential program. However, there is a special program for last-semester undergraduate seniors who want to enroll in 200-level courses. All criteria listed on the Undergraduate Petition to Enroll in Graduate (200-level) Courses must be met. This petition, available from the Division of Research and Graduate Studies, should be filed prior to the semester in which the student desires enrollment in 200-level course(s).
Doctoral students should consult with the appropriate program for policies on appeals and petitions.
Application for the Graduate Degree to be Granted
Students must apply for graduation at their Student Center and pay a non-refundable graduation application fee by the published deadline, which occurs approximately in the first two weeks of the semester or summer in which the work is to be completed. In addition, applicants must be enrolled. (See Continuous Enrollment.) Graduation application procedures and deadlines are available on the website at www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies. Prior to applying for the graduate degree to be granted, the student should check with the graduate advisor of the graduate program concerned in order to ensure that all program requirements have been, or will soon be, completed.
Once all requirements for the degree to be granted have been met, it is the student's responsibility to ensure that all necessary paperwork, including the Graduate Degree Clearance form, is submitted to the Division of Research and Graduate Studies by the published deadlines. Diplomas for those completing degree requirements will be issued approximately three to four months after the end of the semester or final summer session.
Failure to complete requirements for the degree during the semester (or summer) of the application necessitates reapplication for graduation, including a reapplication fee for the term of actual completion. Such reapplication is subject to the same time schedule as the original application.
Doctoral students should consult with the appropriate program for policies on applying for the degree to be granted.
University policy requires graduate students to be continuously enrolled through regular enrollment at the university every fall and spring semester until the awarding of the degree. If students have applied for graduation during the summer, they must maintain continuous enrollment in that term as well. This policy does not apply to students who have been granted an official Planned Educational Leave Request. Please see sections below for the appropriate method of continuous enrollment.
Project Students. Project (298) students who have enrolled in the required number of 298 units, but have not completed their project, must maintain continuous enrollment by enrolling in 298C (zero units) each semester until the awarding of the degree. Students may enroll twice in 298C with department approval. Additional registrations are not encouraged, and must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Permission and class numbers for 298C must be obtained from the department.
Thesis Students. Thesis (299) students who have enrolled in the required number of 299 units, but have not completed their thesis, must maintain continuous enrollment by enrolling in 299C (zero units) each semester until the awarding of the degree. Students may enroll twice in 299C with department approval. Additional registrations are not encouraged, and must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Permission and class numbers for 299C must be obtained from the department.
Comprehensive Examination Students. Comprehensive examination students who have enrolled in all courses toward the degree must maintain continuous enrollment by enrolling in GS Continuation (zero units through Continuing and Global Education). After one semester of enrollment in GS Continuation, students must maintain enrollment thereafter by enrolling in GS 299C (zero units through regular enrollment) each semester until the awarding of the degree. Authorization for enrollment in both GS Continuation and GS 299C must be approved by the Division of Research and Graduate Studies. Permission and class numbers for GS Continuation and GS 299C must be obtained from the Division of Research and Graduate Studies Office.
Time Limitations and Validation: Graduate Degree
Exclusive of prerequisite coursework, a period of five years is allowed for the completion of all requirements for the graduate degree. This time limit is indicated for each student on the approved Petition of Advancement to Candidacy. A student whose program has been interrupted by military service should consult the Dean of Graduate Studies about provisions for military extensions. Outdated coursework will not be approved for inclusion on the Petition of Advancement to Candidacy at the time formal approval of the petition is granted. Once a student has been advanced to candidacy, courses completed more than five years before the date for completion of all requirements for the graduate degree cannot be used to meet total unit requirements except through validation as follows:
Out-of-date coursework may be validated only if such work has been approved previously on the Petition of Advancement to Candidacy. A maximum of one-third of required degree units may be validated by such means as are recommended by the department and approved by the graduate dean. Coursework from other institutions may not be validated. Courses with grades lower than B may not be validated.
The same time limitations and validation procedures noted above also apply to the completion of a Certificate of Advanced Study. The time limit for an advanced certificate is noted on the Proposed Program for the Certificate of Advanced Study form.
Doctoral students should consult with the appropriate program for policies on time limitations and related procedures.
Academic Standards for Graduate Degree Programs
All graduate students will be held to the scholarship standards listed under Academic Regulations. The following provisions also apply to graduate degree programs:
Conditionally Classified or Classified. Students admitted to graduate degree programs in conditionally classified or classified graduate standing are required to maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of B (3.0) in all post-baccalaureate work taken subsequent to admission to the program.
Advancement to Candidacy. To be eligible for advancement to candidacy, students must earn a minimum B average (3.0) in all coursework listed on the Petition of Advancement to Candidacy. No course with a grade below C may be listed on the advancement petition and apply toward the graduate degree.
Once students have advanced to candidacy, they must maintain a minimum 3.0 program GPA, which includes only coursework listed on the advancement petition.
298 or 299 Enrollment. To be eligible for enrollment in the project (298) or thesis (299), students must have been advanced to candidacy and must have maintained a minimum program GPA of 3.0.
Graduation. To be eligible for the granting of the graduate degree, students must have been advanced to candidacy and have maintained a minimum program GPA of 3.0. In addition, grades must be posted in all courses taken, including those that are not part of the student's approved program, beginning with the earliest semester listed on the Petition of Advancement to Candidacy. Students may not graduate with an I, RD, or RP in any course on their records, beginning with the earliest semester listed on the advancement petition.
Distinction. To be eligible to receive the graduate degree with distinction, students must have earned a minimum 3.9 GPA on all program coursework (courses listed on the advancement petition).
Doctoral students should consult the appropriate program for information on academic standards.
Administrative Academic Probation (AAP)
Students enrolled in graduate degree or certificate of advanced study programs may be placed on Administrative Academic Probation (AAP) for the following reasons: failure to maintain the minimum GPA of 3.0 required by the California State Education Code, Title 5; repeated failure to make progress toward the graduate degree; or failure to comply with an academic requirement or regulation that is routine for all students or for a defined group of students.
Students are required to maintain a minimum 3.0 postbaccalaureate cumulative GPA prior to advancement to candidacy (or program approval for advanced certificate students), and a minimum 3.0 program GPA after advancement (or program approval). Students who do not maintain the required GPA will be placed on AAP.
Doctoral students should consult the appropriate program for the program policy on administrative-academic probation.
A postbaccalaureate student whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.0 at any time will be disqualified from the university.
Students may also be disqualified from the program for any of the following reasons: repeated withdrawal, failure to progress toward an educational objective, or noncompliance with an academic requirement. In addition, only those students who continue to show promise of success in and fitness for the profession, as determined by the graduate program faculty, will be permitted to continue in a graduate program.
Effective with the fall 2007 semester, students who are placed on AAP for any two semesters will be disqualified from the university.
Doctoral students should consult the appropriate program for the program policy on academic disqualification.
Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies
Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (M.A.)
Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (M.S.)
The interdisciplinary studies program for the Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) is available to qualified graduate students when there is a need for advanced study in subject matter that is interdisciplinary and that is not available through existing graduate programs. In such instances, proposals for an interdisciplinary program that may combine cohesive, interrelated coursework from two or more departments (at least two of which offer graduate courses [200-level]), must be submitted for approval. Proposals that could be accommodated by an existing graduate degree or option at California State University, Fresno, as in the use of elective courses, are not approved.
The M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies differs from the M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies by requiring breadth of technical knowledge and attainment of specific professional competencies in scientific research methodologies and data-driven analysis. For detailed policy, requirements, and application, see the Division website at www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies.
Those seeking admission to the M.A. or M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies must adhere to university graduate admissions requirements, including submission of applications, official transcripts, and appropriate standardized test scores (e.g., GRE, TOEFL). Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA on previous graduate work and related prerequisites. Standards for admission to classified graduate standing as specified in this catalog for at least one of the principal departments must be met. All appropriate course prerequisites on the approved program must be completed. If eligible, students will be conditionally classified for admission until their proposed program of study is approved. Interdisciplinary Studies program applicants are initially advised in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies. Applicants will not be considered for admission until they have consulted with the Division advisor.
General Degree Requirements
A minimum of 30 units is required. At least 70 percent (21 units) of the program must consist of graduate coursework (200-level courses). The proposed program must reflect the requirements of scholarly creativity and research appropriate to the graduate level and must exhibit overall coherence in a particular, recognized field of study. An acceptable thesis (2-6 units) that demonstrates interdisciplinary research is required. A creative project may be selected as an alternative to the thesis for appropriate M.A. programs. The faculty advisory committee may require an oral defense or presentation of the thesis/project, or a written final examination.
Although interdisciplinary studies provide an opportunity for exceptional students to engage in a program outside the framework of existing majors, all academic standards and graduation requirements must be met.
Prior to or during the first term of study, students should seek the support of a preliminary faculty advisory committee to gain counsel and advice in forming an interdisciplinary graduate program. After consultation with the advisory committee, students should complete the Proposal for Pursuing Interdisciplinary Studies Master's Degree Programs application, which includes a plan of study.
After approval by the sponsoring faculty and department, the application and supporting documents are formally presented to the graduate dean. The application will then be forwarded to the University Graduate Committee for final approval. A formal application and plan of study must be filed with the Division of Research and Graduate Studies no later than mid-term of the first semester after admission to the program. A maximum of 10 units may be applied toward the graduate degree prior to official university approval of the plan of study, at which time the student becomes classified. Students who do not meet the deadline for submission of the proposed program of study clearly stated in the conditions of admission may be subject to academic disqualification from the program. Detailed instructions for proposing an interdisciplinary degree may be found on the Division website at www.fresnostate.edu/academics/gradstudies/forms.
Additional Requirements for the Master of Science. At least 15 units for the M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies must be from one of the campus colleges offering a broad range of instructional programs in science or technology-based disciplines. Typically this disciplinary range is found in colleges with three or more such programs of study. These colleges include the following: Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Engineering, Health and Human Services, Science and Mathematics, and Social Sciences. Coursework must be taken in at least three different subject areas or fields of study with no more than 12 units from any one field and not less than 6 units in each of the three areas. Two of the three fields may be from one department if the subject area content and/or professional requirements within these two fields are clearly recognized as being uniquely different.