Policy Statement - 14-11 BA Degree Unit Limits

Policy Statement
December 1, 2014

Baccalaureate Degree Unit Limits
(This policy supersedes PS 13-07)

This policy was recommended by the Academic Senate on October 9, 2014 and approved by the President on October 17, 2014.


The purpose of this policy is to establish undergraduate degree unit limits in accordance with California Code of Regulations Title 5i, and to create strategies for reducing required units for academic programs. Title 5 requires that all baccalaureate degree programs (with the exception of the Bachelor of Fine Arts, the Bachelor of Music, the Bachelor of Architecture, and the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture) require exactly 120 units. All baccalaureate degree programs are expected to meet this requirement, unless an exception is approved by the Chancellor. This policy is intended to create access to the university for prospective freshmen and community college transfer students while maintaining program accreditation and licensure. Major-specific units may be limited to provide opportunities for students to explore areas beyond those required for GE and their majors.


2.1 For candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree or the Bachelor of Science degree who are meeting graduation requirements established during or after the 2013-14 academic year, exactly 120 units shall be required, including at least 40 units in upper-division courses or their equivalent, unless the Chancellor grants an exception.

2.2 For candidates for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree or Bachelor of Music degree who are meeting graduation requirements established during or after the 2013-14 academic year, no fewer than 120 units and no more than 132 units, or the limit set in Title 5, shall be required, unless the Chancellor grants an exception.


3.1 Major-specific units are those units required for the major and not eligible for double counting to satisfy GE requirements

3.2 Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees must require at least 40 major-specific units.

3.3 Bachelor of Arts degrees must require at least 24 major-specific units.

3.4 Ordinarily, Bachelor of Science degrees may not require more than 70 major-specific units, while Bachelor of Arts degrees may not require more than 54 major-specific units.

3.5 For candidates for the Bachelor of Music degree and the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, the major may not require more than 70 major- specific units with at least one-fourth of these units devoted to theory and content as distinguished from studio, production, and performance.

3.6 Bachelor’s degrees should be designed so that the major-specific units and GE requirements together fall sufficiently below the units required for a degree to allow unrestricted elective courses to be taken. Optimally, the BS, BM and BFA should include 1-3 unrestricted elective courses; BA degrees should include 6 or more unrestricted elective courses. Major-specific GE patterns may allow some increase in units required in the major as long as unrestricted elective courses are maintained.


4.1 All programs having difficulty meeting the requirements listed above should pursue the following strategies to reduce units required:

4.1.1 Consider consistency of requirements with comparable programs at other institutions;

4.1.2 Request approval for lower division majors-only courses to be eligible for certification to fulfill General Education requirements;

4.1.3 Request an exception to the maximum number of units in the major that can satisfy General Education requirements;

4.1.4 Request approval to adjust category and unit requirements for General Education. However, all programs are required to include a minimum of 39 units of general education including one 3-unit Writing Intensive Capstone; and,

4.1.5 Request from the Curriculum and Educational Policies Council a recommendation for an exemption from campus-specific degree requirements.

4.2 Programs that have pursued all the above strategies and for which further reduction would jeopardize their accreditation or licensure may request that the Provost’s Office petition the Chancellor for an exception to allow higher unit totals.


5.1 Adjustments to General Education requirements to meet the Baccalaureate Degree Unit Limits policy must first be approved through the regular department and college curricular approval process and then be submitted to the General Education Governing Committee (GEGC).

5.2 Recommendations from GEGC will be forwarded to the Curriculum and Educational Policy Council.

5.3 Those adjustments approved by the Curriculum and Educational Policy Council will be forwarded to the Provost. If required, adjustments approved by the Provost will be forwarded to the CSU Office of the Chancellor for final approval.

EFFECTIVE: Immediately
California Code of Regulations Title 5, Division 5, Chapter 1, Subchapter 2, Article 6