Feb 23, 2024  
2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
2019-2020 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Undergraduate Graduation Requirements

Candidates for graduation with a baccalaureate degree must satisfy the regulations described in this section, and those outlined by the major department. The Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science degrees are offered with majors in the several fields listed under Curricula Offered. In addition to the BA and the BS, the Bachelor of Music (BM), the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees are also offered. Specific requirements for degrees in each field are outlined in the departmental sections of this catalog. All candidates for graduation must satisfy the general regulations described on the following pages in this section, as well as those outlined by the major department.


An “All College” average of “C or Better” (2.0), a “C or Better” average earned in all units taken at SJSU (as indicated on the transcript by “SJSU Cum”), a “C or Better” average in both the requirements for the major and the minor (if applicable), a “C- or better” in each of the four GE basic skills courses (Areas A1, A2, A3, and B4), an aggregate “C or Better” average in the nine units of upper division GE (Areas R, S, and V), and a “C or Better” in Area Z (100W), are required for graduation with a baccalaureate degree. Upon the completion of their programs, credential candidates must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher to be recommended for a credential.

A minimum of 120 semester units of credit must be earned for graduation with the baccalaureate degree. Normally, no more than four units of Individual Studies (180) and/or Directed Reading (184) may count for the baccalaureate degree. Exceptions must have approval from the major department.

All requirements listed here may be met either by passing external examinations (AP, CLEP, or IB), waiver examinations, where available, or by individual course challenge exams, or by course work. Students should note that success in a waiver examination satisfies a requirement but does not yield unit credit. For information about the examinations, contact the SJSU Testing Office.

Please check the SJSU catalog for any additional academic requirements that are specific to a major.

American Institutions (AI)

U.S. History, U.S. Constitution, California State and Local Government. State law requires all students graduating from a CSU campus to demonstrate knowledge of these three areas, also referred to as the American Institutions and Ideals, the Title 5, or the “state code” requirement. Students may complete waiver exams or course work to satisfy the requirements. Consult the General Education Requirements and Courses section for approved courses or the Testing Office for information about the waiver examinations. Students should consult an advisor to determine which of the various course combinations are best for their degree objectives.

American Institutions Courses  

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

The CSU Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) states that all students must demonstrate competency in writing skills as a requirement for graduation.

All undergraduate students must satisfy the GWAR by either passing a 100W course with a “C or better” (C- not accepted) or by earning a waiver score on the WST. Some departments require the 100W as part of the major degree program regardless of the WST score. A student may also satisfy the GWAR while matriculated at another CSU campus.

All undergraduate SJSU students take the Writing Skills Test (WST). A satisfactory score on the WST (or completion of 100A with a grade of “C or better” (Cnot accepted) after failing the WST) is required to enroll in the 100W course designated by the major. The 100W Writing Workshop must be passed with a “C or better” (C- not accepted) when satisfying the CSU Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement. Information on currently available ways to meet this graduation requirement may be obtained from the Testing Office or Undergraduate Advising and Success Center (UASC).

Graduate students should refer to the section on Graduate Policies .

Physical Education (PE)

It is important that all students admitted to SJSU, regardless of major, have an opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills in physical activities. To accommodate the needs and interests of SJSU students, the Department of Kinesiology offers a diverse selection of activity courses which have the following goals:

  • To provide a fundamental understanding of the influence physical activity has on physical and mental well-being;
  • To promote development of a repertoire of skills for constructive leisure activity and a physically active lifestyle important to maintaining health;
  • To provide an understanding of the guidelines for developing and maintaining physical fitness throughout the lifespan;
  • To provide exposure to a variety of lifetime fitness activities and sports; and
  • To enhance the student’s liberal arts education and develop a well-rounded individual.

All undergraduate students who matriculate at SJSU, except those majors that are exempt as listed under , are required to complete two units of physical education from Kinesiology/Dance activity courses (University Policy S14-11).

Two distinct 1-unit activity course, or a single activity course of 2-or-more units may be used to satisfy the PE requirement.

Two units of Intercollegiate Athletics may be used to satisfy the PE requirement.

Veterans who have completed at least one year of active duty in the armed services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard) have satisfied the physical education requirement (Credit for Military Training in Non-Collegiate Settings section).

Kinesiology activity courses at SJSU are not repeatable for credit.

To challenge a course that meets the requirement, students must consult the Department of Kinesiology at least one semester prior to graduation.


For all bachelor’s degrees, including second baccalaureates, a minimum of 30 units shall be earned in residence after matriculation at the campus granting the degree. Twenty-four of these units shall be earned in upper division courses, 12 of the units shall be in the major and 9 units shall be in General Education. Extension credit or credit by evaluation shall not be used to fulfill any of the 30 units. Winter Session for previously matriculated students earns residence credit; Open University units are not applicable toward the residence requirement.

Upper Division

At least 40 of the total units required for graduation with the bachelor’s degree must be upper division. For the BA, a minimum of 12 units of upper division credit in the major is required and for the BS, a minimum of 18 units of upper division credit in the major is required. Upper division credit will be allowed by the university and applied toward the baccalaureate degree only for SJSU courses numbered 100 or above and for courses from other universities clearly designated as junior or senior level courses.

Catalog Rights

Undergraduate students remaining in attendance in regular sessions at any California State University campus, at any California community college, or any combination of California community colleges and campuses of The California State University may, for purposes of meeting graduation requirements, elect to meet the requirements in effect at the campus from which they will graduate either:

  • at the time the student began such attendance, or
  • at the time of entrance to the campus, or
  • at the time of graduation.

Continuous attendance is defined as enrollment in at least one semester or two quarters in each calendar year. Absence related to an approved educational leave or for attendance at another accredited institution of higher learning is not considered an interruption, providing the absence does not exceed two years.

Campus authorities may authorize or require substitutions for discontinued courses and may also require students changing their major or any minor field of study to complete the major or minor requirements in effect at the time of the change. Students who do not maintain continuous enrollment will be held to any new requirements approved by the university at the time of their readmission.

Time Limits

Time Limit

Courses taken to meet degree requirements at San José State University are subject to a time limitation of 10 years. Students are required to meet those requirements in the major in effect no earlier than 10 years prior to receiving the degree. Students with an unusual problem may petition the major department chair for a waiver of the 10-year requirement.

Graduate students should refer to the section on Master’s Students  or Doctoral Students .

Facilitating Graduation

Effective Spring 2010, any undergraduate or graduate student will be precluded from enrolling in any additional state-supported courses when that student has already met all necessary requirements for the degree for which that student is matriculated. Moreover, students who have met all requirements for graduation prior to any semester in which they are enrolled will be permitted to drop all courses for which they are registered, with little or no penalty, and to graduate at the next available date. Students who have earned more than enough units to graduate but have some remaining requirements to complete, will be advised and precluded from registering in any courses other than those required for a timely graduation.

Units from 4-Year Colleges/Universities

At least 50 of the total units required for graduation with a bachelor’s degree must be earned from 4-Year Colleges/Universities. This is commonly referred to as a maximum of 70 units of Community College academic work that may count toward the minimum 120 units needed for all baccalaureate degrees.

Graduation Application

Candidates for the baccalaureate degree must file an application for graduation at least two semesters prior to the expected graduation date in order to allow time to make up any deficiencies or correct any discrepancies that may delay graduation. At least 85 semester units must be completed before an application for graduation may be submitted. In addition to fulfilling curricular graduation requirements, a student, to be eligible for a bachelor’s degree, must have a grade point average of at least 2.0 (C) in each one of the following categories: all college work (the overall average), all units attempted at SJSU, all units in the major, all units in the minor (if any), and all nine units of upper division GE (Areas R, S, and V).

Undergraduate students need to check with their major departments or their college success centers when they are ready to apply for graduation. Students from specific majors can now apply online for graduation via their MySJSU(link). See this page for guidance: Application for Graduation webpage. 

Master’s or Ed.D. degree candidates, are available to eligible students through their MySJSU account. Eligible students will be messaged once they are eligible to apply online. A tutorial and video instructions for completing the application are available at www.sjsu.edu/gape/forms, under Graduation.

Those planning to attend a college or university other than SJSU during the final semester must notify the Office of the Registrar. Courses must be completed by the date of graduation and transcripts received within one month after graduation.

If a candidate is unable to complete the course work as expected, or if the date of graduation is to be delayed for any reason, a Change of Graduation Date form must be submitted, accompanied with the fee, prior to the new expected graduation date.

College of Business Graduation Applicants

The College of Business requires that students apply to the Jack Holland Student Success Center. Graduation deadlines and procedures differ from those established by the university. For further information, check with the Jack Holland Student Success Center, BBC 008, 408-924-3435.

Bachelor’s Degree Candidates

  • You should apply for graduation at least two semesters in advance, after completing at least 85 semester units.
  • See major department for specific graduation course and unit requirements.
  • File your application no later than the Processing Deadline dates shown below. Submitting your application by the priority processing deadline allows us to review your graduation requirements before Advance Registration ends for your last term of attendance.
  • Graduation applications are available at the Registrar Office webpage.
  • Major/Minor Forms are available from your department office.
  • Submit a completed graduation application, Major form (and Minor form as applicable), in a sealed department envelope to the the Registrar’ s Office, located in the Student Services Center. Incomplete applications will be returned and may cause a delay in graduation.
  • Only original signed documents are acceptable.
  • All courses and requirements must be completed by the date of graduation and transcripts received within one month after graduation. Any Incomplete (I) or Record Delayed (RD) grade must be cleared before your degree can be awarded. Once your degree has been posted, no grade changes will be made to your record.
  • If you are unable to complete the course work, or if the date of graduation is delayed, a “Graduation Date Change Form” must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office. A $10.00 administrative fee must be paid at the Bursar’s Office.

Don’t delay! Apply by the priority processing deadline dates. See Graduation webpage. Applications will continue to be accepted up to the last day to add classes for the term of graduation; however, delays may occur in the initial and final evaluation of your application and names may not appear in the commencement book. If we receive your application after the final deadline date for the term you are applying, your application will automatically be set up for the next available graduation date. Students from specific majors can now apply online for graduation via their MySJSU(link). See this page for guidance: Graduation webpage.

Degrees - Conferring

Degrees are conferred three times a year - in August, December and May - at the close of summer, fall and spring terms. The date of the diploma reflects the term during which the degree requirements were completed. There is one graduation or commencement ceremony each academic year, held at the close of the spring semester. Students who have completed all requirements in the previous summer and fall semester, or expect to complete their degree requirements in the spring semester, are eligible to participate.