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F1. Master’s Degrees

Updated: May 11th, 2012

F1.1  Degree Plans

Master’s students pursue Plan I or Plan II, depending on the plans offered by their departments.

Plan I requires a minimum of 20 semester units of upper division and graduate courses, and completion of a thesis. For the 20 unit minimum, the Academic Senate has established that a minimum of 8 units be in 200 series courses in the student’s major subject. However, majors may require more than 20 units; students should check with their academic programs for a listing of all requirements. If the degree requires more than the 20-unit minimum, 40% of the unit total must be 200-level course work.

Plan II requires a minimum of 24 semester units of upper division and graduate courses, followed by a comprehensive final examination or, if approved by the Graduate Council, a master’s project administered by the department. Of the 24 units, Academic Senate regulations state that a minimum of 12 units must be in 200-level courses in the student’s major subject.  However, many majors require more than the 24-unit minimum; students should check with their academic programs for a listing of all requirements. If the degree requires more than 24 units, half of the unit total must be 200-level course work.

Courses in the 300 series or higher do not count toward the unit requirements for either Plan I or Plan II. For either the 20-unit Plan I or 24-unit Plan II, a maximum of 6 units of 299 course work may be used toward fulfilling degree unit requirements. For degree programs requiring more than 24 units, up to 25% of the unit total may be units in 299 courses.  For example, if a master’s degree requires completion of 42 units, 10 units of 299 course work may be used to fulfill unit requirements (10.5 is rounded downward).

The same course work cannot be used toward two different master’s degrees unless that course work has been permitted as part of a concurrent master’s program officially approved by the campus.

Plan I and Plan II Capstones – Group Projects.The Graduate Council has stated that joint or group work is not acceptable as the basis for awarding graduate degrees. Students may collaborate on research projects under the traditional supervision of a faculty guidance committee. However, each student must write a thesis or Master’s Project report that represents a cohesive presentation of the research conducted and is capable of standing independently from the project.  Each student’s work must be evaluated individually.

Degree Requirement Changes.  Departments set their own subject requirements for degrees. However, if departments change requirements, they must inform the Graduate Division for approval before implementation. If the changes are substantive, the Graduate Division will submit them to the Graduate Council for its approval. All students must be informed in writing of any requirement changes and departments must permit students who entered under the former requirements to elect to follow either the new or old rules.


See All Topics in the Category: F. Degrees, Guide to Graduate Policy