Academic Catalog 2022-2023

Graduate Degrees


Graduate Admission Requirements

The minimum requirements for admission to graduate and post baccalaureate 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, a student shall at the time of enrollment:

  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.

Students who meet the minimum requirements for graduate studies may be considered for admission in either the Classified or Conditionally Classified standing:

  • 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.

Special Admission Action

In unusual circumstances, a campus may make exceptions to the enrollment criteria.

An applicant who does not qualify for admission under the regular admission criteria may be admitted to a program by special action if, upon the basis of acceptable evidence, the applicant is judged by the specific program coordinator, College Dean, and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research to possess sufficient academic and professional potential pertinent to the educational objectives to merit such action.

Graduates of Non-Regionally Accredited Institutions

Graduates of non-regionally accredited institutions are not typically eligible for graduate standing. However, admission to a graduate program may be conditionally granted via the Special Admission Action process if the applicant has completed equivalent academic preparation as determined by the appropriate graduate program coordinator and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.

Applicants who have completed their baccalaureate degree at a nationally accredited or nonaccredited university must consult with the specific graduate program coordinator, as the guidance on how to proceed will be highly specific to each applicant’s individual circumstances.

Graduate Application Procedures and Policies

CSU Dominguez Hills welcomes applications from students without regard to age, marital status, religion, sexual identity, gender identity, sex assigned at birth, disability, race, color, or national origin who provide evidence of suitable preparation for work at the graduate level.

Students are advised to contact the appropriate graduate program office before applying to the program.

All applicants to graduate programs must file a complete application to each university of interest as described in the graduate admission materials at An acknowledgement will be sent to the applicant when the online application is submitted.

Applicants must submit the admission file by the specific program’s deadline. Contact the Graduate Studies and Research office for current deadlines.

Most departments require additional application materials for students seeking a master's degree. Applicants should consult the program sections of this catalog for specific program requirements.

Admission to the University is for a specific semester. Students who do not register for that semester will have their admission cancelled. When seeking admission at a future date, students must file a new application form, follow the complete application procedure, pay the application fee, and meet the current admission requirements. Transcripts on file will be retained for one year.

Note: Applicants seeking a second bachelor’s degree should submit the undergraduate application for admission unless specifically requested to do otherwise. Students receiving their bachelor’s degree from Dominguez Hills who wish to continue into a graduate program at Dominguez Hills must complete an application through and be accepted into the graduate program; admission is not guaranteed.

The University reserves the right to select its students and deny admission to the University or any of its programs at the University, based on an applicant's suitability and the best interests of the University.

Application Filing Periods

Applications to graduate programs will open according to the schedule below:

Terms Applications First Accepted Initial Filing Period
Fall Semester October 1
Spring Semester August 1
Summer Semester February 1

Please note, not all programs are open for admission to every term. Each graduate program that is accepting students has its own application deadline. Some graduate programs accept students only in the fall or spring semester. Individual programs must be consulted for deadline dates and admissions requirements.

Graduate Transcript Requirements

One official copy of your transcripts is required from each institution attended at which the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units of upper-division course work were earned, excluding extension units. One copy from the institution awarding the baccalaureate degree must be included.

All transcripts must be received directly from the issuing institutions. All transcripts become the property of the University and will not be returned, copied, or forwarded. Processing of applications cannot be guaranteed unless all required documents are received during the designated application period. Persons who have transcripts sent but who do not enroll are advised that transcripts are retained for one year, after which they are destroyed.

Any student who earned a bachelor's degree at CSU Dominguez Hills and subsequently applies for graduate admission to this institution is not required to request or pay for transcripts from CSUDH.

Test Requirements

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE), GRE Advanced Tests in subject areas, and/or combined scores may be required for some programs. Examination schedules and additional information about the GRE is available at  Please consult the graduate program directly for information about that program’s requirements. It is the responsibility of the applicant to request that test scores be mailed directly to the CSU Dominguez Hills graduate program of interest.

Graduate English Language Requirement

All graduate 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 via one of the following accepted tests:

  1. A minimum score of 80 on the internet-based TOEFL exam (iBT),
  2. A minimum score of 213 on the computer-based TOEFL exam
  3. A score of 6.5 or higher on the IELTS Academic Test, or
  4. A score of 53 or higher on the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic

Applicants with a score of 105 or above on the Duolingo English Test may also be considered for admission. Contact the specific graduate program of interest for details.

International Student Admission Requirements

U.S. resident students who completed their baccalaureate education abroad and in a primary language of instruction other than English must submit academic records from foreign institutions prior to the application deadline. If these records are not in English, they must be accompanied by certified English translations. Additionally, the Graduate English Language Requirement must be met (see above).

International students, defined as those who hold U.S. temporary visas, exchange visitors, or in other non-immigrant classifications, must submit additional documents. Verification of English proficiency, financial resources, and academic performance are each important considerations for admission under a supported student visa. International applicants are required to comply with the following additional requirements and instructions:

  • Academic records from foreign institutions must be on file prior to the application deadline and, if not in English, must be accompanied by certified English translations.
  • International visa applicants are required to submit an affidavit of financial support. This form is available from the Office of Admissions.
  • Effective August 1, 1995, as a condition of receiving an I-20 or IAP-66 form, all F-1 and J-1 visa applicants must agree to obtain and maintain health insurance as a condition of registration and continued enrollment in the California State University. Such insurance must be in amounts as specified by the United States Information Agency (USIA) and NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

As noted above, all official documents submitted become the property of the University and will not be returned, copied, or forwarded. The acceptability of any international work will be determined by the University. For more information visit the International Students website:

Readmission of Former Graduate Students

All graduate students who have withdrawn from the University or failed to maintain continuous enrollment must reapply for admission.

A student who left the University in good standing may be readmitted provided any academic work attempted elsewhere does not change their scholastic status. Transcripts of any courses attempted in the interim are required.

A student who was on probation at the close of the last semester of enrollment may be readmitted on probation provided they are otherwise eligible. The student must have official transcripts of any course work attempted during their absence sent to the University.

Graduate Advisement Following Admission

All newly admitted graduate students must attend the New Graduate Student Orientation provided by the Graduate Studies and Research office in the term immediately prior to enrollment (i.e., summer NGSO for Fall admissions and winter session NGSO for Spring admissions).

Graduate advisement is generally done within the specific graduate program or department.

Credit for Transfer of Graduate Work

In order to have courses considered for receipt of credit toward a degree for post-baccalaureate work taken at other colleges or universities, students must have official transcripts forwarded to the Office of Admissions. The University will consider credit for work taken at another college or university only when it appears on an official transcript from that institution. A maximum of nine semester units of approved credit may be transferred from an accredited college or university for a 30-unit program. Programs with a unit requirement that exceeds 30 units may allow more than 9 units, but may not exceed 30% of the total units for the degree. Rounding up is not permitted. All approval of previous course work is at the discretion of the graduate program coordinator, depending upon its currency and its applicability to the degree objectives.

The work must have been completed as a graduate student (not including student teaching), and must be relevant to the degree program as a whole.

Extension courses may apply, and will be included as part of the maximum of nine units allowable, if the transcript clearly indicates that the course would have applied toward a graduate degree at the sponsoring institution.

The formal request for transfer of graduate credit must be completed and approved by the graduate program coordinator and submitted to the Registrar's Office for final review.

Transferred courses are subject to the regulation that courses for the graduate degree must be completed within the five- or seven-year period at the term of graduation, as stipulated by the graduate program. Outdated transfer course work from other colleges or universities is not eligible for validation.

Second Master's Degree

Students may wish to pursue a second master's degree. If they are still enrolled in the first program, they may complete the Request for Post-Baccalaureate/Graduate Change of Objective form in the Graduate Studies Office. The form will be forwarded to the program coordinator for approval. Students must be careful to monitor their time in the first program in relation to the second as the 5-7 year time limit will apply to both programs beginning at the time of acceptance into each individual program. A student enrolled in two master's programs must graduate from both during the same term. If the student chooses to graduate from one before the other they must reapply to the University and be accepted back into the second program. Units used for the first degree may not be applied to the second.

Second Option or Concentration Within a Degree Program

Some degree programs offer options that differ significantly in academic course work and prepare students for singularly different careers. Students wishing to complete a second concentration or option in the same degree program at CSU Dominguez Hills may do so by completing the Graduate Change of Objective form. Students must meet all requirements for the new option or concentration. All university policies governing master's degrees apply in the same manner to the second option or concentration.

Immunization Requirements

The CSU requires all students to receive certain immunizations, described on the Student Health Services website:

Students who have questions about the immunization requirements, or who need to discuss an exemption from the requirements based on medical considerations or religious or personal beliefs, should contact the Student Health Center at (310) 243-3629.

Graduate Academic Standards

Grade Point Average

The grade point average at CSU Dominguez Hills is computed on a 4-point scale. A specified number of grade points is associated with each grade listed in the "Grades and Grade Points" section. Credit/No Credit ("CR/NC") grades have no grade point value and are not calculated in the grade point average.

The total grade points are calculated by multiplying the number of grade points associated with the grade assigned by the number of units for each class. The grade point average is computed by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of units attempted.

To remain in good academic standing, a student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, maintain a 3.0 GPA in all courses used to fulfill graduation requirements, and make successful progress toward the degree. For some graduate programs, a grade of “B” (3.0) or higher is required in some or all courses.

For graduation, the grade point average of 3.0 is calculated on all courses used to fulfill the master’s degree program. No course with a grade lower than a "C" will be applied to the degree program. No student on academic probation may be granted a master's degree.


The grade point average required in prerequisite courses varies according to the particular program. See specific program requirements in the program sections of this catalog.

Scholastic Probation and Disqualification

Academic Probation and Disqualification

Graduate students are placed on academic probation if they fail to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 across all post-baccalaureate units attempted. If they do not bring their grade point average up to 3.0 in the following semester in residence, they are subject to disqualification from the program in which they are enrolled. Some students may be able to avoid disqualification one time if their department offers a study plan that is approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.

Students who have been disqualified for academic deficiency will be withdrawn from their degree program and may not enroll in any courses offered by the University other than those offered by Open University through Extended Education.

Administrative-Academic Probation

A graduate student may be placed on administrative-academic probation by action of appropriate campus officials for any of the following reasons:

  1. Withdrawal from all or a substantial portion of a program of study in two successive terms or in any three terms.
  2. Repeated failure to progress toward the stated degree objective or other program objective, when such failure appears to be due to circumstances within the control of the student.
  3. Failure to comply with an academic requirement or regulation that is routine for all students or for a defined group of students (for example, failure to take placement tests, failure to complete a required internship, etc.).

When such action is taken, the student shall be notified in writing and shall be provided with the conditions for removal from probation and the circumstances that would lead to disqualification should probation not be removed.

Administrative-Academic Disqualification

A student who has been placed on administrative-academic probation may be disqualified and withdrawn from the graduate program for any of the following reasons:

  1. The conditions for removal of administrative-academic probation are not met within the period specified.
  2. The student becomes subject to academic probation while on administrative-academic probation.
  3. The student becomes subject to administrative-academic probation for the same or similar reason they were previously placed on administrative-academic probation, even if the first probation was successfully remediated.

When such action is taken, the student shall receive written notification including an explanation of the basis for the action.

Reinstatement of Academically Disqualified Students

The reinstatement of an academically disqualified graduate student is by special action only. Students must submit a Petition for Reinstatement, available on the Graduate Studies and Research website or in the Graduate Studies office. Students cannot apply for readmission through the Cal State Apply process.

Students will only be considered for reinstatement after a minimum of one-semester non-attendance following academic disqualification. Approval of reinstatement is partially based on evidence that the causes of previous low achievement have been removed or resolved. At minimum, Petitions for Reinstatement must include a Statement of Low Achievement that explains, in detail, how the causes of low achievement have been corrected and what plans are in place to ensure future academic success. Students may choose to provide supplemental evidence, which could include, but is not limited to, transcripts of coursework completed after disqualification, medical testimony, and/or other objective evidence.

To prove their academic ability, academically disqualified graduate students may also complete courses through CSUDH Open University or at other regionally accredited academic institutions. Reinstated students are not guaranteed to receive content credit for coursework completed during disqualification. Grades earned elsewhere will not reduce the CSUDH grade-point deficiency or change the CSUDH grade-point average; grades earned elsewhere serve only as indicators of academic ability. Units earned will not be counted towards university residency requirements. Successful completion of coursework does not guarantee reinstatement to the University or to the graduate program from which the student was disqualified.

Students who have been disqualified from a master's degree program may be admitted to another degree program on the recommendation of the department concerned and with the approval of the appropriate College Dean and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.

Petitions for Reinstatement and supplemental attachments should be submitted to the graduate program coordinator of the disqualifying program. Submission deadlines are as follows:

Petitions for Reinstatement Submission Deadlines

Reinstatement Term Submission Deadlines
Fall Semester May 31
Spring Semester December 15
Summer Semester Not Accepted

The University reserves the right to request additional information from the student regarding their Petition for Reinstatement. Students will be notified of the reinstatement decision in writing by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research approximately 4 – 6 weeks after submitting the petition. Decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

If the Petition for Reinstatement is approved, the student will have to agree to the terms and/or conditions identified by the program. Graduate students are restricted to a maximum of one reinstatement after academic disqualification.

Graduate Enrollment Policies

Residency Requirement

Of the minimum 30 semester units of approved course work required for the master's degree, at least 21 units must be completed in residence at CSUDH. A student is considered to be in residence when they have been admitted to the university and to the graduate program and are registered in regular or special sessions courses at CSUDH. Approved units earned in summer sessions may be substituted for regular semester unit requirements on a unit for unit basis. Extension coursework may not be used to fulfill the minimum residence requirement.

Full-Time Status

The designation of enrollment as “part-time” or “full-time” varies by University office. Graduate students are considered to be full-time students during any semester in which they are enrolled in:

More than six units of graduate courses for the purposes of calculating student fees; and

Eight or more units of graduate courses for the purposes of being recognized as a full-time student by the University.

However, eligible graduate students may receive full financial aid packages during semesters when they are enrolled in at least four units of graduate program courses.

Continuous Enrollment Requirement

A student with a graduate degree objective must maintain continuous enrollment, defined as enrollment in regular or special session courses each fall and spring semester of the academic year. Students who have completed the maximum number of units required for the degree but are completing their culminating activity may enroll in regular university courses or in a specially designated 600-level course. Students must have program permission to enroll in the 600-level course. If they choose to enroll in regular university courses, students must continue to maintain a grade point average of 3.0 in all courses taken until the degree is granted. Students should check with their graduate program to determine whether there are any limits on the number of semesters in which they can enroll in the 600-level course.

Graduate students who fail to maintain continuous enrollment are considered to have interrupted their residency and must reapply to the university; such students will be subject to any new requirements of the university or program. Students who break continuous enrollment are not guaranteed readmission to the program, and if readmitted, lose their residency credit (courses they may apply to the degree) and their catalog rights. Loss of residency units means there is no guarantee that more than 9 units of previous course work may apply to the degree requirements upon readmission to the program.

Students who break continuous enrollment may petition to the College Dean for reinstatement of residency units. Serious and compelling reasons for breaking enrollment must be demonstrated. If the petition is denied by the Dean, the student may request a hearing from the Graduate Council.

Planned Educational Leave for Graduate Students

Graduate students in good academic standing may request a Planned Educational Leave for personal, educational, financial, medical, or other reasons to avoid a break in continuous enrollment. Students are eligible to apply for a Planned Educational Leave if they:

  • Completed at least one semester of coursework at CSUDH (fall or spring)
  • Previously earned units at CSUDH
  • Have not applied to graduate in the semester of the requested leave
  • Are not enrolled in classes at any CSU in the semester of the requested leave
  • Have not been academically disqualified or had a previous break in enrollment

Although reasons for seeking a planned leave may vary, all applicants should intend to return to formal study within a specified time period.

To apply for a Planned Educational Leave, the student must be a conditionally classified or classified graduate student with a grade point average of 3.0 or better. Application for the leave must be filed with the appropriate graduate program coordinator at least one week before University Census for the semester during which the leave is to begin and should be accompanied by appropriate documentation.

Students may request Planned Educational Leave for a minimum duration of one semester up to a maximum duration of one calendar year. Under compelling circumstances, a student may request, in writing and in advance, an extension of an approved leave. The total number of approved Planned Educational Leaves may not exceed two, and the combined duration of Planned Educational Leaves may not total more than two calendar years.

The Planned Educational Leave is approved at the discretion of the student's graduate program coordinator. Approval of a student's leave application constitutes agreement by the University that the student will be temporarily exempted from the continuous enrollment requirement as long as the student meets the conditions specified in the approved leave application. Students who do not return to the University at the conclusion of their planned leave will be considered to have withdrawn from the University at the end of their last semester of regular enrollment at CSU Dominguez Hills.

Approval of a planned leave does not constitute an extension of the time period for completing all course work and other requirements for the master's degree.

A student with an approved Planned Educational Leave shall be classified as "on leave" and shall not be considered a regularly enrolled student. Therefore, the student is not entitled to the campus services normally provided to enrolled students, except that the student may confer with their academic advisor and others regarding leave activity and plans for re-enrollment.

Each student with an approved Planned Educational Leave will have an entry made on their student record indicating that the student is on leave. The dates of the beginning and conclusion of the leave will also be recorded.

Time Limit for Completion

All requirements for the master's degree, including all course work in the student's approved program of study, must be completed within five years unless a time limit of seven years is noted in the program’s section of the University Catalog. This time limit commences with the semester of the earliest course used toward the student's program of study.

Outdated Course Work

Students are expected to complete all required coursework and the culminating thesis, project, or examination for the master's degree within five years (or seven years if permitted by the program). Outdated coursework must be repeated or validated. Copies of the Petition for Validation of Outdated Course Work may be obtained from the Graduate Studies and Research office and must be approved by the graduate program coordinator. Students must submit the petition during the expected term of graduation.

Validated coursework shall not exceed 25% of the units required for the master's degree (e.g., 8 units for a 30-unit program).

Outdated transfer coursework from other colleges or universities is not eligible for validation.

Coursework that exceeds seven years by no more than one academic year may be eligible for validation at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research; beyond that time limit, coursework cannot be validated.

Enrollment in Graduate Courses by Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students in their final year may petition to take two graduate courses that are not used to fulfill the requirements for the bachelor's degree. Approval must be obtained from the appropriate graduate program coordinator prior to registration in order to receive graduate credit for courses taken in the senior year. Petitions are available in the Records and Registration office.

Requirements for the Master's Degree

To be granted the master's degree, a student must have been classified, advanced to candidacy, and completed an approved program of study in an approved field. Requirements which apply to all programs follow. For specific requirements of particular programs, see the program descriptions in the departmental section of this catalog.

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement

California State University Executive Order 665 states that "campuses shall require demonstration of writing proficiency prior to the award of a graduate degree. The level of proficiency shall be no less than the level required for GWAR certification at the baccalaureate level." The requirement must be fulfilled within the first 9 units of coursework. Students who have not met this requirement may not begin their culminating activity (thesis or comprehensive exam).

There are four existing pathways for entering graduate and post-baccalaureate students to immediately satisfy GWAR: GL requirements:

  1. Graduate students who earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university in the United States satisfy the GWAR: GL.
  2. Graduate students who earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited non-US institution where English is a primary language of instruction satisfy the GWAR: GL.
  3. Graduate students who earned a 4 or above on the analytical writing component of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) satisfy the GWAR: GL.
  4. Students coming from baccalaureate programs offered in non-English speaking university settings can qualify to enter a graduate program by meeting university admissions standards as outlined in the online course schedule and catalog.  

Departments and programs may, at their discretion, establish additional writing requirements for their graduate students. For further information, students should consult their graduate program advisor.

Requirements for the Master’s Degree

General requirements for the master's degree program of study include:

  • A minimum of 30 approved semester units, or more, as required by the particular program.
  • A minimum of 21 semester units in residence after admission to the program offering the degree. Transfer and CSUDH extension course work are not considered to be in residence.
  • Maintaining continuous enrollment until graduation.
  • At least 70% of the total units toward the degree must be in graduate (500 level) courses; 300-level courses cannot be used unless the graduate program has obtained an exception from the University Curriculum Committee.
  • A maximum of nine semester units of 500 level courses taken prior to admission.
  • A maximum of six units for a thesis or project.
  • A maximum of six units of independent study.
  • No courses taken to satisfy prerequisite requirements are included in the minimum of 30 required units.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) in all courses counted toward the degree.
  • All courses completed within the program’s time limit based on the date the degree is awarded. (Most programs have a time limit of five years; check with the particular program.) Courses taken more than eight years prior to the degree award date cannot be counted, without exception.
  • Satisfactory completion of Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement.
  • Advancement to Candidacy.
  • Filing of the application for graduation by the application deadline.
  • A capstone activity, which may be a thesis, a project, a comprehensive examination, or any combination of these as determined by the graduate program.

The approved program of study is valid as long as the student maintains continuous enrollment in regular semesters at the University.

Election of Curriculum (Catalog Rights)

A student maintaining continuous enrollment in regular or special sessions and continuing in the same program may elect to meet the degree requirements in effect either at the time of entering the program or at the time of completion of degree requirements.

Credit for Prior Learning

In accordance with California State University Executive Order 1036, academic credit may be earned from (1) examinations, (2) learning, skills, and knowledge acquired through experience, (3) learning acquired outside formal higher education and/or (4) education, training and service provided by the Armed Forces of the United States. Consult your graduate program for further information.

Advisors and Program Faculty

All master's degree programs have a Graduate Program Coordinator designated to give overall supervision for the graduate program. In many instances, the Graduate Program Coordinator also serves as the student's advisor. The program faculty are responsible for all major recommendations to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research regarding the student's achievement of classified standing, Advancement to Candidacy, and completion of the master's degree.

It is the responsibility of the student to arrange appointments for advisement and other information in the office of the academic unit offering the degree program. At a minimum, students should obtain advisement at the following critical times in their academic program:

  1. prior to or during the first semester;
  2. at the time of Advancement to Candidacy;
  3. at the time of applying for graduation.

It is the student's responsibility to follow the procedures as outlined in this catalog to ensure timely progress toward the degree and to ensure compliance with all policies and regulations pertaining to the granting of the master's degree.

Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to Candidacy recognizes that the student has demonstrated the ability to sustain a level of scholarly competency commensurate with successful completion of degree requirements. Upon Advancement to Candidacy, the student is cleared for the final stages of the graduate program which, in addition to any remaining course work, will include the thesis, project, or comprehensive examination.

Following are the requirements for Advancement to Candidacy:

  • A minimum of 15 units
  • Classified graduate standing
  • Successful completion of the GWAR
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above in all courses taken toward the graduate degree
  • No grade lower than a "C" in the degree program

Advancement to Candidacy must be certified by the program’s department and communicated to the Graduate Studies and Research department in the semester after the 15th unit was completed.

Completion of Requirements and Award of the Degree

The master’s degree is awarded upon the satisfactory completion of all state and university requirements, the specific requirements for the particular program, and the recommendation of the appropriate faculty advisor and graduate program coordinator.

Culminating Experience

All master's degree programs require a culminating experience. This experience may be a thesis, project or comprehensive exam. A few professional programs require a portfolio. The portfolio can include elements of the thesis and comprehensive exam and requires extensive graduate-level writing incorporating original scholarship concerning areas important to the discipline. The portfolio is program-specific, and details about this culminating experience are available from the graduate program coordinator. Regardless of which type of experience is selected, the culminating experience should include an oral component. At the discretion of the graduate program, students may be permitted to switch their culminating experience selection (e.g., from a comprehensive exam to a thesis, or vice versa).

Theses or Projects

All graduate students who undertake a thesis or project as their culminating experience for a master's degree must follow the procedures outlined the CSU Dominguez Hills "Thesis and Project Guide," available in the university bookstore and online at the Graduate Studies website.

Graduate students may enroll in the thesis course for a maximum of six units. The credit allowed for the thesis course varies, and students should read their graduate program description for specific information.

Creative and Applied Projects

A creative or applied project is not sufficient in itself to meet the requirement of a culminating activity. Although the content and structure are more flexible for a creative or applied project than for a thesis, they must consist of two distinct components: (a) the project itself, and (b) an explanation of the project presented in a scholarly framework.

A master’s project may be presented in any of a variety of appropriate media, including but not limited to digital, videocassettes, CDs, audio cassettes, slides, kits, ring binders, and book-type materials. The scholarly framework introduces, justifies, and validates the applied or creative project and discusses the project’s relationship to previous scholarly activity in the field. The committee chair should be consulted early in the process of planning the project to ensure that the required elements are included in the scholarly framework.

Graduate students may enroll in the culminating project course for a maximum of six units. The credit allowed for the project course varies, and students should read their graduate program description for specific information.

Comprehensive Exams

A comprehensive examination is an assessment of the student's ability to integrate the knowledge of the area, show critical and independent thinking, demonstrate mastery of the subject matter, and demonstrate writing skills commensurate with the granting of the master’s degree. The comprehensive examination is equivalent in rigor to the thesis. A record of the examination questions and responses shall be maintained in accordance with the records retention policy of the California State University.

Given the above criteria, all comprehensive exams must include an essay portion that comprises at least 50% of the examination.

In the case where comprehensive exams are divided into separate components, such as by course or topic, each program shall inform students in writing as to how each section will be graded and what the retake policy will be for the exam.

To meet the requirements of the culminating experience and qualify for the master’s degree, a student who has selected the comprehensive exam must obtain a passing score or grade on the comprehensive exam in the semester in which it is attempted.


Students must have met all requirements for Advancement to Candidacy. Additionally:

  • Students must be in good academic standing, defined as a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 for all post-baccalaureate work, whether part of the degree program or not.
  • For 30-36 unit master's degrees, all course work must have been previously completed or will be completed concurrently in the semester the exam is taken. Students completing course work in the summer session are not eligible to take the comprehensive exam in the spring semester.
  • For master's degrees that require more than 36 units, students may take the exam one semester prior to completion of the program provided a substantial amount of course work has been completed. Each program will establish uniform requirements for eligibility to take the exam and shall make these requirements available to students in writing. A copy of the requirements shall be sent to the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Student's eligibility to take the examination must be verified by the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Comprehensive exams must be administered within the six weeks preceding the last day of scheduled final exams in the fall or spring semesters.


The written portion of the comprehensive exam shall not be less than four hours.


Each reading of the comprehensive exam will be double-blind, i.e., the student’s identity will not be known to the readers, and the readers' identities will not be revealed to students.

Each exam will be scored by no less than two readers. If two readers read the exam and disagree on the pass/fail score or grade, a third reader shall read the exam under the same blind conditions prescribed for the original reading.


Students who fail the comprehensive exam and choose to retake it will take the exam at a regularly scheduled session (e.g., the following semester).

Students who retake the exam shall take the exam in its current format, regardless of the format of the original exam.

Application for Graduation

Master's degree candidates should file for graduation in accordance with the following schedule:

Graduation Term Regular Deadline Late Deadline
Fall Semester July 1 September 15
Spring Semester October 1 Last day of fall semester
Summer Session February 1 April 15

If the above dates fall on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be at the close of business on the previous working day.

If all degree requirements are not completed during the term of the application, a Change of Graduation Date form must be filed giving the new term of degree completion together with the appropriate fee.

Graduate Commencement Exercises

Commencement Ceremonies are held at the end of each spring semester.  Students who have completed their degree requirements in the previous fall semester, and those who will complete their course work in the spring or summer semesters, are eligible to participate in the Commencement Ceremony. Students must apply for one of these graduation terms by April 15th to ensure that their name will appear in the Commencement Program.

After a student applies for graduation, a Commencement Participation link will be available in their student portal under “Important Student Links.” Students must register through this link by April 15th to participate in the Spring Commencement Ceremony.

Dates are subject to change and will be updated on the Commencement website at: Diplomas will be mailed to students after verification that all academic requirements have been completed.