Graduate Degree Information

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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.
The requirements for advancement to candidacy are:

  • 1. Attainment of classified status as a student in a graduate program at CSULB;
  • 2. Fulfillment of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR);
  • 3. Approval by the student's department and college of a program of study (see above);
  • 4. Completion with a minimum GPA of 3.0 of at least six units of courses required on the student's program of study;
  • 5. A cumulative, graduate, grade-point average of at least 3.0 calculated on all upper-division and graduate-level coursework attempted by the student at CSULB after completion of a baccalaureate degree;
  • 6. Satisfactory completion of any assessments of competence that the department may require.

CSULB will advance to candidacy all graduate students when the above requirements have been successfully completed. In most instances, advancement to candidacy should occur no later than the end of the second semester of matriculation and must occur no later than one semester or session prior to the semester or session in which the student expects to graduate. It must occur prior to a student filing a request to graduate with Enrollment Services. Normally, a student is eligible and should file for advancement to candidacy for the semester immediately after fulfilling the requirements for advancement to candidacy listed above. All students must consult with their graduate advisor regarding advancement to candidacy as well as to determine any departmental requirements to graduate from CSULB.

An approved graduate student program remains in effect so long as a candidate is making satisfactory progress and does not withdraw from CSULB. To ensure minimum satisfactory progress toward the degree objective, the student must enroll every fall and spring semester or be on approved educational leave and complete all degree requirements within seven years after completion of the first course on the student's program.

Prior to advancement to candidacy the student may change degree program or options within the same department with faculty approval. Students wishing to change to a degree program in a different department must file a new application for admission. If admitted to the new discipline, the student must then follow all the steps indicated above for obtaining approval of a new student program and advancement to candidacy.

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

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. 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.


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