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Baccalaureate and Graduate Degree Information

Graduate Degree Information

Steps Walkway

Graduation Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to candidacy is the next step after achieving classified status and confers the equivalent of catalog rights on graduate students. Advancement to candidacy also signifies approval of a plan of study by the student's major department and college or, in the case of an Interdisciplinary Studies graduate student, approval by the Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies or designee. The prerequisites to advancement to candidacy are:

1. Classified status;

2. Fulfillment of the CSULB Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Information is available in Testing and Evaluation Services (Brotman Hall 216);

3. A minimum 3.0 overall grade-point average and a 3.0 grade-point average in all units undertaken for the student program (at least 6 units);

4. Enrollment.

All graduate students are required to advance to candidacy when the above prerequisites have been successfully completed. Advancement to candidacy is to occur at least one semester or summer session prior to the semester (session) in which the student expects to graduate. It must occur prior to a student filing the Request to Graduate form with the Office of Enrollment Services. Filing deadlines are the same as for baccalaureate degree candidates. A student must be enrolled in the semester or summer session in which advancement to candidacy takes place. All students must consult with their graduate advisor regarding advancement to candidacy as well as to determine any departmental requirements to graduate from the University.

An approved graduate student program remains in effect as long as a candidate is making satisfactory progress. To insure minimum satisfactory progress toward the degree objective, the student must enroll every fall and spring semester and complete all degree requirements within seven years after completion of the first course on the student program. See also information about Graduate Studies 700 later in this section. The student may not change the graduate major without filing a new application for admission. If admitted to the new discipline, the student must then follow the steps indicated above for obtaining approval of a new student program and advancement to candidacy.

A student entering military service after having been advanced to candidacy will not be considered as having withdrawn from candidacy, provided that the student is inducted, enlisted, or called to active duty during a semester in which enrolled or not more than one semester thereafter, and provided that the student enrolls for work toward a degree within one calendar year of the date of release from service.

Students who have been advanced to candidacy and absent themselves from the University on educational leave will be considered as not having withdrawn from candidacy for an advanced degree, provided the terms of the educational leave are fulfilled. Such students must reapply when returning to the university, but the application fee will be waived.

A department or college recommends a student for advancement to candidacy by forwarding a graduate student program for approval to the college dean or director of graduate studies or the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies or his/her designee. After the student's program has been processed and approved, a copy of the completed student program and a letter advancing the student to candidacy will be mailed to the candidate, with copies filed with the department or college and the Office of Enrollment Services.

A student must be enrolled in the semester or summer session in which advancement to candidacy takes place, and this must occur no later than one semester or summer session prior to completion of course requirements. Normally, a student is eligible and should file for advancement to candidacy after completing six units of graduate coursework for the graduate degree program with a 3.0 grade-point average.

Election of Regulations


Graduate students advanced to candidacy will be held responsible for the regulations governing master's degrees in effect at the time of advancement or at the time the last requirement for the degree is met. A change in master's degree objective or readmission to a graduate degree program following withdrawal requires that a new student program be filed under the current graduate policies as published in the latest edition of the Catalog.

Teaching Associateships and Graduate Assistantships


Many CSULB departments have Teaching Associate (TA) and/or Graduate Assistant (GA) positions available for qualified graduate students. Students should check in department offices or on the campus web site for more information.

Educational Leave


Any registered student, undergraduate or graduate, in good academic standing may request an Educational Leave. Students requesting an Educational Leave shall complete an Educational Leave Form in the semester before the leave is effective, including an explanation of their reasons for seeking the leave and a statement of when they intend to resume academic work. The completed form is to be submitted for approval to the student's department chair (undergraduate) or graduate advisor. Undergraduate students who have not declared a major should submit the completed form to the University Advising Center.

The minimum initial leave will be one full semester; the maximum will be one calendar year. A student may request, in writing, in advance, an extension of the leave. Under no circumstances shall the total number of approved educational leaves exceed two, nor shall the duration of approved educational leaves extend beyond two calendar years.
Students returning from an approved educational leave are required to submit an application form but will not be required to pay another application fee. Students returning from an absence for which an educational leave was appropriate but not approved, in advance, must pay another fee.

Graduate students who plan to enroll for credit at another institution of higher education during the leave period must obtain prior approval from the department graduate advisor, department chair, and the college dean or designee for the transfer of course credit to the student's program.

The period of an educational leave is counted in the calculation of elapsed time under the regulations governing the maximum period for completion of degree requirements (seven years for graduate students).

For the period of an educational leave the student's rights under the Election of Regulations rule are preserved, maintaining the right of students to elect regulations as if they had maintained continuous attendance.

An educational leave presupposes no expenditure of University resources or faculty and staff time in behalf of the student during the period of the leave. In addition, no computer facilities, no library privileges, and no student services are available to a student on educational leave.


Comprehensive Examination


Each department or college requiring a final comprehensive examination determines the content of the examination. Such examinations may be written or oral or both. A faculty committee shall represent the department in preparing questions, administering, and reading the examination. Through the comprehensive examination, the faculty provides an opportunity for the master's degree candidate to demonstrate analytic ability and knowledge of the discipline. Working with the department chair or dean of the college and the appropriate committee, the departmental graduate advisor usually assumes responsibility for scheduling the examinations and for selecting the other faculty members to participate.
Students may not enroll for courses in preparation for the comprehensive examination or take the comprehensive examination unless they have been advanced to candidacy for the master's degree or unless advancement to candidacy will occur in the semester in which the enrollment takes place.

During the first semester of residence, the graduate student should ascertain from the faculty advisor what preparation will be expected. Early in the final semester of study for the degree, the candidate should contact the departmental graduate advisor to make arrangements for taking the examination. The department or college will notify the Office of Enrollment Services whether the student has passed or failed the final comprehensive examination. A candidate who has failed will usually be allowed to take the final comprehensive examination a second time, and the departmental graduate advisor should be contacted for specific procedures for the second attempt. To award a candidate the master's degree for a particular semester, the results of the comprehensive examination must be reported to the Office of Enrollment Services prior to the end of the semester.