Jul 16, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Policies & Procedures

Information about course credit and number, including grades, registration and attendance is found in the Policies and Procedures  section. 

Graduate Student Catalog Rights

“Catalog rights” defines a specific set of requirements typically prescribed in a catalog for a specific year, which the student must satisfy to qualify for a program degree, credential, or certificate.

Graduate students may choose to qualify for graduation under any catalog year in effect from the time of SJSU admission as either a conditional or fully classified student to the time they graduate from SJSU.

If a student follows an earlier version of a program in which their department has discontinued or modified required courses, the department may authorize appropriate substitutions. 

Change of Graduate Program

Official changes in a student graduate program are to be initiated through GAPE by submitting a Change of Graduate Program Petition. Submission of this request does not guarantee approval, as the new department must review and approve the student as a candidate for their program.The student should be aware of any additional admission requirements by the prospective program. The department must follow-up with the student request by approving the Change of Program request and returning its decision to the GAPE office. The GAPE office will then update the student’s status to reflect the new program change.

If a student obtains permission to change their program or concentration after advancing to candidacy and the second program has different requirements than the first, then a new candidacy form (Petition for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy) with the signature of the new graduate advisor must be filed. Graded courses listed from the previous program candidacy form can be eliminated on the second candidacy form if not part of the new curriculum.

Switching culminating experience from Plan A (thesis) or C (creative project) to Plan B (project or comprehensive exams) or vice versa, do not require a new candidacy form. However, for Plan A or C students converting to a Plan B, any 299 units, project course units, or exam preparation course units in which credit was given must be retroactively dropped or changed to NC (no credit) grade. Furthermore, project and exam preparation courses as well as additional content courses might then be required, depending on the program. These changes all require that GAPE be informed by means of filing the Request for a Core Course Substitution in Master’s Degree Program for each course change. Degree requirements for the new plan must be satisfied in full. Therefore, retroactively adding a 298 (project) class, for example, in place of a 299 (thesis) class will be permitted only if all the requirements of the project have been met. The requirements for projects include a written report in every case.

Change in Classification Status

Notification of a change from conditionally classified to classified status within the same graduate program before advancement to candidacy is made to the GAPE office by the graduate advisor by means of the Change in Classification in Master’s Program form. However, an advisor signature on the candidacy form indicates that the advisor has checked that all conditions have been fulfilled, allowing the conditional status to be lifted and establishing the classified status without the need for the Change in Classification in Master’s Program form. Graduate students must be in classified status in the graduate program to advance to candidacy. Once a student has advanced to candidacy and progressed to classified status, any conditions discovered still unfulfilled are sacrificed and can no longer be required.

Enrollment for Culminating Experience - 1290R

or Continuous Enrollment

Continuous enrollment is required of all graduate students between completion of regular courses and satisfactory completion of the culminating experience. Graduate students who receive an RP (report in progress) grade in a thesis (299), project (often 298), dissertation (599), doctoral project (often 598), or other culminating experience course, as well as those who have completed course requirements but not the program comprehensive examination, may maintain enrollment by registering for other courses or by registering for one unit of University Studies (UNVS) 1290R or departmental 1290R (Thesis/Project Supervision) through Special Sessions for each Fall and Spring semester until completion. Effective with the Fall 2018 semester, graduate students preparing for comprehensive exams or completing a courses-only program culminating experience are included in this policy.

Graduate students who have completed their course work but are still working on their culminating experience (thesis, project, or comprehensive exam) no longer may stop out for even one semester, and they cannot be granted leaves of absence for any reasons other than military leave and severe medical issues.

Departments may require repeated enrollment in project, thesis, or comprehensive exam-preparation classes each semester until completion, thereby precluding the need for the 1290R course. There are no formal class meetings for this course. Failure to register for this $280 1 unit course will result in a  graduation hold until the unit is retroactively added.

Registration for 1290R

Registration for the 1-unit UNVS 1290R or departmental 1290R course must be delayed to give students the opportunity to enroll in other courses. Students who have an RP grade in a culminating experience course, a graduation date in the current or future semester, and no enrollment in other courses will be notified after the add period by the Registrar’s Office and given appointments for the UNVS 1290R or departmental 1290R. Graduate advisors of courses-only programs and those with culminating experiences not attached to courses with the RP grade option will need to generate appointments by submitting student names to Graduate Studies. Students with appointments may then register online through MySJSU. No permission or add code is needed. Students will have until the last day of course instruction to register for the course. To maintain their immigration status, international students are encouraged to add the course as soon as their appointments are available. Federal regulations require international students to be fully enrolled in classes within the first 30 days of the start of the semester. Those international students who fail to add 1290R within the first 30 days of the start of the semester will be out of compliance. Student F-1 status will be terminated which will result in the student’s immediate U.S. departure. In each subsequent fall and spring semester, students still completing their culminating experience will have to register for this course and will be precluded from registering for any other. The RP grade in the project or thesis course remains on the official record until a culminating memo is submitted by the graduate advisor to the Office of Graduate Admissions & Program Evaluations (GAPE), the course instructor in which the RP was received has petitioned for a grade change, and the student has submitted the online graduation application through their MySJSU account.

The Associate Dean of Graduate Studies is officially the instructor of record for all 1290R courses and is responsible for assigning the grades as well as establishing the courses with the College of Professional and Global Education each semester. Departments should not attempt to add 1290R courses on their own. Students may retroactively add a 1290R course by completing an online Retroactive Request for 1290R form, available at www.sjsu.edu/registrar/forms and paying associated tuition and fees.

More details regarding the continuous enrollment policy may be found in University Policy S17-5. Details on the RP (Report in Progress) administrative grading symbol may be found in University Policy S09-7.

For more information on required enrollment for culminating graduate students and Graduate 1290R Enrollment , please visit the Graduate Studies website.

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. Information on currently available ways to meet this graduation requirement may be obtained from the Testing Office.

Prior to Fall 2020 Semester

Graduate students enrolled in their program prior prior to the Fall 2020 semester may meet their Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) requirement in one of four ways following rescinded University Policy S94-7

  • Satisfactory completion of a baccalaureate degree at a CSU campus;
  • Satisfactory completion of a GWAR course. Each graduate program has a designated GWAR course embedded within the degree requirements. Students should refer to their program’s degree requirements - see a list of graduate programs on the College of Graduate Studies  section of the catalog;
  • Approval by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies of a well-written, professional (peer-reviewed) publication, graduate thesis or dissertation in which the student was the sole author;
  • Satisfactory completion of a discipline-specific upper-division writing course at another university judged by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies to be equivalent in content and writing requirements to the SJSU 100W. To satisfy the requirement under this category, students are required to submit to their department graduate advisors a transcript (unofficial acceptable) showing completion of the substituting course and the grade received (a “B” or better is required); the syllabus of the substituting course; and original, single-authored writing samples from the course, including especially a large term paper from the course with instructor feedback visible. If the graduate advisor approves of the substitution for an SJSU GWAR course, he or she would then petition the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies on behalf of the student. Students may not petition College of Graduate Studies directly.

Fall 2020 Semester or Later

Graduate students enrolling in the Fall 2020 semester or later must follow University Policy S19-3 which requires that all graduate students demonstrate competency in written English for advancement to candidacy within a master’s program. Graduate students may satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) in one of three ways:

  • Satisfactory completion of a GWAR course. Each graduate program has a designated GWAR course embedded within the degree requirements. Students should refer to their program’s degree requirements - see a list of graduate programs on the College of Graduate Studies  section of the catalog;
  • Approval by the College of Graduate Studies of a professional publication written in English for which the candidate was a primary author.
  • Completion of a master’s or doctoral program with a substantive writing requirement at an accredited university in which the primary language of instruction is English unless a department requires additional documentation of writing proficiency.

Candidates should be aware that each department may establish its own criteria within these policy guidelines, and candidates must abide by the department decision. By policy, each program has identified a GWAR certified course which can be found here. Thus, even if a student has satisfied one of the criteria above, the department must approve the waiver and can require that its GWAR-satisfying course still be taken. Waiving the program GWAR requirement will require the addition of an elective selected in consultation with the graduate advisor. Graduate courses cannot be taken for credit by examination.

Open University & Special Session

Also see the Alternative Enrollment Programs  section of the catalog.

Open University 

Open University, often known elsewhere as extended, is set up primarily as an option for community members to take college courses. It is attended by non-matriculated, postbaccalaureate students seeking to gain future admission to a SJSU graduate program or who wish to take classes to prepare for a professional degree program, such as medicine. It can also be part of the program-of-study mechanism by which scholastically disqualified SJSU graduate students can gain university reinstatement (see section on Program of Study). Non-matriculated students who enroll only for Open University courses are reminded that they must apply for admission to the university and graduate program and complete other details of matriculation if they wish to obtain a degree or credential from SJSU. Enrollment in Open University courses is governed by specific policies, as follows:

  • Fees differ from those in regular and special sessions.
  • Open University enrollment in a given graduate class is permitted only with instructor and department chair or school director approval and only after reasonable efforts are made to provide full enrollment opportunities to regularly matriculated students.
  • Matriculated students may not take Open University courses. This restriction also applies, without special permission of the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, to formerly matriculated students who have gone out of matriculation by stopping out or being disqualified.
  • Letter-graded or CR/NR courses may be taken through Open University with the exception of supervisory courses, such as independent study courses and project or thesis courses.
  • Either regular (state-support) or special (self-support) classes may be taken through Open University if all other requirements are met.
  • Open University course enrollment in 200-level courses are only open to holders of baccalaureate degrees who meet course prerequisite requirements. Neither disqualified students nor those denied admission into a graduate program for reasons other than limitations imposed by enrollment caps are permitted to enroll in 200-level courses.
  • Open University courses do not qualify for residence credit toward a master’s degree, as specified by Title 5.
  • Upper-division (100-level) and graduate (200-level) Open University units up to 30% of the degree program total and taken prior to matriculation may be applied to a master’s degree program with the consent of the program’s graduate advisor. Note that these units are considered to be transfer units into the master’s program, and the allowable total of all transfer units is 30%, with the exception of transfers from credential programs into master’s programs (40% of degree unit total allowed, i.e., 12 units in a 30 unit master’s program). Upper-division courses taken as part of a program of study for reinstatement after disqualification may be applied to the graduate program if they were already present on the student’s candidacy form or were otherwise approved by the graduate advisor.

All upper-division (100 level) and graduate-level (200 level) courses, including SJSU Open University courses taken as a postbaccalaureate, will be used in the calculation of SJSU cumulative GPA. Those taken in the postbaccalaureate career (before matriculation and enrollment in the semester admitted) are also counted in the candidacy GPA if transferred into the graduate program. Because the university cannot determine whether the courses are part of the degree program until they appear on the candidacy form, it is not until advancement to candidacy that the grade points are transferred. Thus, a student may conceivably be disqualified before advancing to candidacy even if courses to be transferred would have raised the GPA to a passing level.

For further information concerning special session or Open University offerings and policies, contact at the College of Professional and Global Education .

Special Session

Special session is often confused with Open University. Although both are administered by the College of Professional and Global Education , special session programs and open university course offerings are different means for registering into graduate courses.

Special session classes are offered via different delivery modes or by schedules different from the regular session term. Matriculation is required for special sessions courses. Credit earned in 100-level, 200-level, or 300-level special session courses at SJSU is entered on the matriculated graduate student’s record as graduate credit, provided the student holds an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution at the time of enrollment in the courses. Courses taken through special session receive residence credit.

For further information concerning special sessions and policies, contact at the College of Professional and Global Education .

Facilitation of Graduation

Pursuant to Title 5, Section 40411, and Presidential Directive (PD) 2009-05, undergraduate or graduate students are 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.

Repeat Policy

University Policy F08-2 on course repetition stipulates that graduate students may repeat a maximum of 9 units in their graduate careers, regardless of the number of units required in a degree program. This total does not include classes in the catalog that are repeatable for credit. A graduate student may repeat any 100-level or 200-level course in which a grade below a “B,” including an “NC,” “WU” or “IC,” was received in the first attempt. The student’s academic record will indicate the course as repeated and the grade earned. Units attempted and grade points earned for both the original and repeated course and will be calculated for both the program and cumulative GPA . Additional units gained by repeating a given course will not contribute to the degree total. Graduate students and 200-level courses are not eligible for “grade forgiveness.”

Courses on the approved candidacy form in which a grade of any kind has been earned cannot be removed from the candidacy form; the grades will be averaged with other courses even when compensated for by additional coursework. Courses listed on the candidacy form in which grades of “NC,” “I,”, “IC,” “RP,” “RD,” or letter grades below “C” have been recorded will prevent graduation until completed, repeated, or compensated for in another way. This is also true of courses in programs that have special grade requirements beyond those of the university standard, e.g., requirement of “B” grades in all core classes.

SJSU (only) courses can be repeated when they have gone beyond the prescribed time period for completion of master’s or doctoral degree requirements, which is seven or five years, respectively. Teaching credential courses cannot be repeated if the 7-year limit is exceeded. 

See Repetition of Courses  for more information about registering for a class you are repeating.

Time Limits

For masters students, Section 40510(b)(2), California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Education, requires that courses in completed master’s degree programs be no older than seven years at the time of the degree award. The seven -year period is counted from the end of the semester in which the course was completed. Thus, no more than seven years may elapse between the time the first course in a graduate program is completed and the time the last course in the program is completed. Candidates have the following options to revalidate a course:

  • Repeat the outdated course with a passing grade but without credit. The new grades will be factored into the GPA for graduation, and all grade requirements, such as the 3.0 minimum GPA, will still be in effect.

  • Under some circumstances, another course (one already completed or to be taken) may be used to substitute for an outdated course. Permission for the substitution must be obtained from both the program’s graduate advisor and the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. This practice is highly discouraged, as it violates the rule that completed courses may not be removed from the candidacy form. If the original course is available for enrollment, it is unlikely that permission will be granted.

  • Revalidate the outdated SJSU course by examination. Revalidation of courses is governed by University Policy S17-7. A student may revalidate a maximum of 9 units of a 30-unit master’s degree program, or 12 units for a program with more than 30 units. Only courses in which a student has earned a “B” or better may be revalidated. Permission to revalidate from Graduate Studies or from GAPE is not required; examination can proceed and the results communicated to the program evaluator at GAPE by the form entitled Request for Revalidation of Course that Has Exceeded the Seven-Year Time Limit - see the GAPE Forms. Course work completed at other institutions is not eligible for revalidation, but transfer courses taken at SJSU may be revalidated. Courses designated CR/NC, including supervisory courses such as project and thesis courses, seminar courses, independent study courses, and internship courses cannot be revalidated. 

Veterans who are candidates for graduate degrees and who have had their graduate programs interrupted by military service may petition through the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies to extend the time limit imposed by the above regulations by the amount of time spent in military service. Nevertheless, students in this situation should apply for formal leaves of absence through the University Registrar, thereby making it unnecessary to contact the College of Graduate Studies .​

For doctoral students, Title 5, language is consistent that all degree requirements must be completed in five years. The Associate Dean of Graduate Studies should be petitioned to extend the time for completion of the requirements if 1) the extension is warranted by individual circumstances and 2) the student demonstrates current knowledge of research and practice in their field of study. Doctoral candidates are encouraged to check with both their graduate advisor and Associate Dean of the College of Graduate Studies  for more information specific to their program.  

Transfer Credit

Students who have completed coursework at other regionally accredited colleges or universities may be eligible to apply credit toward master’s degree requirements at SJSU. To be transferable, the coursework must have been taken at a regionally accredited U.S. university, or accredited international institution, whether through regular session, special session, online programs, or extension. In the case of extension or online courses, the graduate advisor must petition the Associate Dean for the College of Graduate Studies on behalf of the student and provide documentation that the courses have been approved for degree credit at that institution. To be transferable, courses must not have been used for professional development and must have been taken within seven years from the time of posting of the grade for the course to the date of conferral of the graduate degree from SJSU.

As stipulated in University Policy S13-8, not less than 70% of course work required for the master’s degree must be completed in residence. Thus, a maximum of 9 units can be transferred into a 30-unit graduate program. This total includes all transferred classes, including those from Open University and the SJSU undergraduate career. Transfer work from any source may be applied toward the degree program only if it is approved by the graduate advisor. Those taken at SJSU, whether through Open University or as a matriculated undergraduate, may be revalidated in accordance with the rules on revalidation if surpassing the 7-year limit on course viability. Those taken at any institution other than SJSU cannot be revalidated.

No courses may be transferred into the graduate program if taken during the undergraduate career at another institution. Similarly, courses in a graduate (master’s, PhD, or other) degree program in which the degree was awarded also cannot be transferred for credit. However, if the graduate degree was not awarded at the other institution, up to 30% of the coursework required for the master’s degree at SJSU can be transferred. Note that letter-graded courses from previous master’s degree programs taken at SJSU may be included up to a total of one third of the current degree total (i.e., 10 units in a 30-unit program) if approved by the graduate advisor. If a course was taken as part of a prior SJSU graduate degree program that was not finished (thus there was no award of degree), then the courses qualify for transfer credit. Students earning their undergraduate degree at SJSU and taking graduate-level courses should review the section on Graduate Credit Earned by SJSU Undergraduate Students.

For university approval of transfer units up to the 30% limit, the courses are entered on the Petition for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy in the Transfer Course section. The graduate advisor has full authority to allow or disallow transfer credit for those courses that meet the university requirements of eligibility. The signature of the graduate advisor on the candidacy form is sufficient to indicate departmental approval of the courses without additional forms. If the courses meet all of the requirements stipulated above, the university will accept the courses for advancement to candidacy and for graduation requirements. Credit is awarded for transferred courses of all categories, but grade points are not included in the cumulative GPA for transferred courses other than those from the SJSU Open University program; therefore, the cumulative grade-point-average (GPA) calculation will not include those units nor will the GPA calculation for advancement to candidacy or graduation. Any approved transferred course must have an earned grade of “C” or better.

Official transcripts for all courses transferred from another university, if taken prior to application to the SJSU graduate school, must have been submitted directly to the GAPE office during your initial application to SJSU. Failure to have provided those transcripts precludes the later transfer of the courses. If the courses were taken or grades for them were posted after the application process, then the transferred courses must subsequently be verified by official transcripts sent to GAPE from that university at the time of transfer; failure to provide transcripts will result in a denial of advancement to candidacy and/or award of degree.

Research Policies and Procedures

Institutional Review Board

Human Subjects Research

The IRB reviews all research protocols involving human subjects. Students and faculty are required to submit a research protocol for IRB review and approval before beginning any data collection from participants if their work entails research involving human subjects. Instructions, forms, and templates can be found at www.sjsu.edu/research/irb.

Office of Research

IRB Coordinator

Animal Care and Use Committee

If the dissertation includes research activities involving vertebrate animals or select invertebrate species, the care and use of animals or their tissues must be approved by the SJSU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Information concerning IACUC requirements and procedures is available from the IACUC Coordinator and online at http://www.sjsu.edu/research/iacuc/index.html. Animal research approval from SJSU must be obtained prior to data collection even if the work is done in conjunction with another institution from which approval has been granted. SJSU prohibits retroactive approval of animal research that is considered ongoing or completed. The official letter of protocol review, obtained with IACUC approval, must be submitted along with the dissertation whether as an appendix or as a separate document. Failure to submit the necessary documentation can result in a delay or denial of the dissertation by the College of Graduate Studies .

The Institutional Biosafety Committee

The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) reviews research activities involving hazardous biological agents, recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules, materials derived from humans and nonhuman primates, toxins, select agents, or agents of dual use research concern. The IBC provides oversight for biological safety and ensures compliance pursuant to the NIH Guidelines and University policies. University faculty and students intending to perform research under the above areas must submit a Biological Use Authorization (BUA) application for IBC review and approval before initiating the research. See the BUA page for more details on submitting BUA for approval.

Copyright Permission

If a student copies a figure, table or a significant section of someone else’s work and it is believed that the use of these copyrighted materials is beyond that permitted by “fair use,” the student will be required to obtain separate written permission letters from the publishers or authors of the works cited. It must be indicated in the text or figure caption within the dissertation that the material is “copied with permission.” The student should plan well so that permission letters will be received in time. If letters of permission are not submitted with the final copies of the dissertation, the College of Graduate Studies  will not approve the dissertation, and University Microfilms International (UMI) will not microfilm the work.

The permission letters should be included with the initial submission of the thesis as well as when the thesis is submitted for publication. For questions about the process, including whether permission is required for a particular insertion, contact the thesis coordinator at the College of Graduate Studies .

Latin Honors

Not Available for Graduate Students

Latin honors are reserved at SJSU, for those earning baccalaureate degrees per University Policy, S17-13. Because graduate students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, all finishing graduate students would receive honors. Thus they are not considered for receipt of Latin honors. Individual programs are free to award other forms of recognition to outstanding graduate students. For more information, see University Honors at Graduation.

Academic Standing

Probation | Disqualification | Discontinuation | Appeal | Reinstatement | Readmission 


Students are strongly advised to review University Policy S16-16 for more information.

Academic Probation

Graduate students enrolled in a degree, credential or advanced certificate program are subject to academic probation if their SJSU cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 (grade of “B” on a 4.0-point scale) in all units attempted subsequent to matriculation in either conditionally classified or classified status. Lower division courses (numbered 01-99) are listed on the transcript but cannot be used for graduate degree credit nor are they included in the GPA computation. Courses taken through SJSU Open University before matriculation will also be listed on the transcript and may, with advisor consent on the candidacy form, be used toward the graduate degree if adhering to the transfer course limitation and residency requirement. Such courses will be figured into the GPA for advancement to candidacy and for the candidacy GPA computation at the completion of the program. All SJSU Open University course grades will be included in the SJSU Cumulative GPA, which is used to determine academic standing for degree conferral. However, courses transferred into the graduate program from other institutions or from the SJSU undergraduate career will not count in the cumulative GPA computation.

At the completion of the degree program, should the SJSU cumulative GPA fall below 3.0 at the same time that the candidacy GPA is above 3.0, the student’s academic standing will reflect the former only. In this unusual circumstance, the student or program must make the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies aware of this discrepancy.

Each Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall term while on probation, the student must achieve a 3.0 GPA in the semester’s work to avoid academic disqualification. To avoid disqualification, at least one graded course must be taken each Spring and Fall semester, while on probation. The student remains on continued probation as long as each individual term’s work is equal to or above the 3.0 threshold but the overall GPA is still below 3.0. Probation is cleared when the SJSU cumulative GPA rises to 3.0 or better in any subsequent Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall term.

Graduate students are eligible to repeat courses with letter grades lower than “B” or with grades of “NC,” “WU,” or “IC” up to a total of 9 units, no matter how many units there are in the individual degree program. Exceptions may be made by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in this course repetition limit with respect to high unit clinical or field courses, as long as the exceptions do not violate probation and disqualification policies established in the major (see sections on Administrative Academic below and Disqualification (Administrative)). Repeated and elective courses may not be taken through Open University. Elective classes already taken in the degree program may be added to the candidacy form by means of the Request for Elective Course Substitution in Graduate Degree form. However, all courses taken will be calculated in the GPA because any course taken with its associated grade cannot be removed from the candidacy form. The total allowable units that can be added as either repeated classes or substituted electives can be no greater than 30% of the total number of units for the individual degree for the entire graduate career. To clarify, in a 30-unit degree program, a student may add electives or repeat classes only up to a total of 9 units.

Failure to Achieve a 3.0 Grade Point Average on Completed Graduate Degree Program

If a master’s candidate does not complete the graduate degree program with a minimum 3.0 GPA in both the overall coursework and the candidacy coursework, the student’s major department may terminate the candidacy or permit completing additional courses in an attempt to raise the GPA in the program to the minimum 3.0 threshold. Elective courses may be added to the candidacy form if approved by the graduate advisor. Alternatively, courses can be repeated up to a limit of 9 units (per University Policy F08-2). In the entire graduate career, the combination of added elective units and repeated units cannot exceed 30% of the total number of units in the major. Failure to raise the candidacy and cumulative GPA to 3.0 after completing this additional coursework will result in a termination of the student’s candidacy and an inability to earn the degree. Thus, the student would be academically disqualified without the ability to be reinstated by normal means.

Credential candidates who fail to achieve a 3.0 GPA upon completion of the credential program will be precluded by the department from attempting additional coursework and therefore not be recommended for an award of a credential by the State of California.

Administrative Academic Probation

Per Sections 41300.1 Title 5, graduate students may be placed on probation or may be disqualified by appropriate campus authorities for unsatisfactory scholastic progress regardless of cumulative grade point average or progress points. Such actions shall be limited to those arising from repeated withdrawal, failure to progress toward an educational objective, and noncompliance with an academic requirement…” Therefore, regardless of the cumulative GPA, administrative academic probation or disqualification can be imposed by the university.

Most instances of administrative academic probation and disqualification result from probation in and disqualification from the graduate major. Thus, despite maintaining an SJSU cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, a graduate student’s academic performance in the major may fall below the minimum standards established in that major. In these cases, while students remain in overall good standing with the university, they are subject to probation and disqualification from the graduate major. Departments have an obligation to inform students of these policies in writing which is forwarded to both the College of Graduate Studies and the Office of the Registrar.

In most cases, a direct reassignment from good standing in the major to disqualification from the major is prohibited. In other words, at least one semester of probation in the major is required prior to disqualification from the major. By the same token, there must also be a way of returning from the probationary status to good standing that should be clearly documented. Exceptions to these regulations are described below under Disqualification - Administrative Academic.

The department and university may impose administrative academic probation for any of the following reasons:

  1. Failure to progress satisfactorily toward the degree or other program objective, including that resulting from assignment of 9 units of “NC,” when such failure appears to be due to circumstances within the student’s control, failure to pass writing requirements, or failure to take a reasonable number of courses in the student’s own degree program.
  2. Failure to comply, after due notice, with an academic requirement or regulation that is routine for all students or a defined group of students (examples: failure to complete a required CSU or campus examination, failure to complete a required practicum, failure to make satisfactory progress in the academic program, failure to put together a graduate committee of qualified individuals in programs that require a committee).
  3. Failure to achieve a set of academic standards of the department.
  4. For example, a program might require the achievement of grades of “B” in every class or in particular classes with a stipulated number of repetitions permitted. Similarly, an acceptable standard would be to require a “CR” in field, student teaching, or internship courses with a stipulated number of “NC” grades allowed for repetition.
  5. Programs may restrict a student to two attempts of any course offered by the program. Cohort programs may require that a minimum number of courses/units be taken each semester in order to best use resources or to ensure that the program is completed while student knowledge is still current. A maximum number of units can be set for students on probation.

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


Students are strongly advised to review University Policy S16-16 for more information.

Academic Disqualification

A graduate student who is on academic probation is academically disqualified if they fail to earn a term 3.0 GPA in any subsequent semester that they have been placed on probation and their cumulative GPA remains less than 3.0.This requires enrollment in at least one letter-graded course each Spring or Fall semester (but not Winter or Summer term) that the student is on probation. Teaching credential candidates are subject to the GPA dictates of the State Department of Education. Credential candidates will be notified of those requirements by their department within the College of Education in which they are seeking their credential preparation. At this time, the minimum GPA requirement matches that of the graduate division as a whole, that is, the 3.0 level. Credential candidates who fail to meet this standard are academically disqualified and are not eligible for reinstatement. Similarly, if at the time of completion of all credential requirements, a student’s candidacy GPA or cumulative GPA is below the 3.0 threshold, the student is academically disqualified and will not be afforded the option of repeating credential courses to raise the GPA.

For master’s candidates who complete all minimum degree requirements but fail to achieve a 3.0 GPA, the department may exercise its option to terminate the candidate. The department may also allow the student to repeat classes within the university limit of 9 units per graduate career or to add elective courses. The total units in the added courses and repeated courses (100 and 200 level coursework) cannot exceed in the entire graduate career 30% of the units of the degree program’s total. If a student fails to raise the candidacy and SJSU cumulative GPA to 3.0 after these measures, they are academically disqualified without a possible reinstatement.

In many cases, students may apply for reinstatement following a first disqualification. Departments have the option of reinstating or refusing to reinstate a graduate student, and, if reinstatement is achieved, the student is guaranteed readmission to the program when they reapply for a future term.

After a second disqualification at the graduate level, reinstatement will not be granted and the student’s candidacy will be terminated.

Administrative Academic Disqualification

Upon notice by the coordinator of the graduate program in which a student has been placed on administrative academic probation, the student may be administratively academically disqualified from further attendance by the Associate Dean of College of Graduate Studies if the conditions for removal of administrative academic probation are not met within the period specified.

As mentioned in the section on administrative academic probation, a probationary period must normally precede a disqualification. However, exemptions to this general rule include the following:

  1. In clinical courses, laboratory courses, student teaching assignments, or other types of programmatic requirements, there may be such serious concerns about the safety or well-being of the student, other students, clients, patients, and so forth that repetition of the courses is not reasonable. For such courses or programmatic experiences, departments may establish “no repeat” policies, i.e., a course may not be repeated if not passed on the first attempt. In clinical or lab settings in which safety or well-being are severely compromised, an instructor may disenroll a student from the course, which may lead to disqualification from the major.
  2. A program can disqualify a student without a probationary period for behavior that fails to comply with professional standards of conduct appropriate to the field of study. This conduct could occur in or out of class. Examples include threatening behavior, repeated disruptions of classes that interfere with the educational opportunities of other students and repeated acts of professorial disrespect, badgering, rudeness, interruptions and verbal or written abuse.
  3. Conditional acceptance to a program is, in effect, acceptance under probation in the major. Typically, a specified set of courses or requirements must be passed prior to attaining good standing in the program. There may be time limits or unit limits established to satisfy the conditions, which, if not met, may lead to disqualification from the major degree program without an intervening term on explicit probation. Cohort programs must provide in their policies a reasonable accommodation for students who must stop out for legitimate reasons.

In most cases (unless stipulated by the program in writing), graduate students administratively academically disqualified from their majors have no means for reinstatement. However, unlike academic disqualification, reinstatement and readmission are not absolutely necessary for continuation at the university after administrative academic disqualification. If a student finds another program willing to accept him or her within one semester, a Change of Graduate Program Petition can be filed with the office of Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations and enrollment can resume following formal acceptance into the new program. Graduate students cannot be categorized as “undeclared”, and thus a student must be accepted into some program to register for courses at the university other than through Open University. If more than one semester elapses from the point of disqualification, the student will be considered to have stopped out of enrollment and will be required to apply for readmission if a second department indicates willingness to allow a transfer.

International Students & Disqualification

To maintain their legal status in the U.S., international students must be matriculated within a degree program. After disqualification from SJSU, international students must transfer to another institution to maintain their legal status. Enrollment in Open University alone does not qualify them for the immigration document needed to remain in the U.S. Disqualified international students who have transferred out to another university may enroll in Open University for a program of study in order to be academically reinstated but must seek immigration reinstatement from SJSU. Disqualified international students must speak with an international student advisor in the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Office as soon as possible.

Discontinuation from the University

Students who fail to register for classes in two successive semesters are placed in a discontinued status and are no longer matriculated at the university. Discontinuation requires readmission to the university and program before a student may be permitted to enroll again. This policy also applies to students who leave the university after having registered for classes but who do not officially withdraw or withdraw from all courses after the semester drop deadline. The courses will be assigned a grade of “WU” (denotes unauthorized drop or withdrawal). No personnel actions, grades, or transcript services will be permitted until all financial obligations, such as unpaid fees, have been settled. If the student fails to return the semester immediately following withdrawal, reapplication for admission will be necessary at www.calstate.edu/apply.

The exception to this policy is for students who file for a formal leave of absence. See the description of the options and regulations governing leaves under Leave of Absence - Master’s Requirements  or Doctoral Requirements  sections.

Appeal of Disqualification and Probation

Students may appeal their probation or disqualification by petitioning the Academic Disqualification and Reinstatement Review Committee after the programmatic appeal process has been exhausted. The student should begin the appeal process by consulting with the graduate advisor. The appeal, in writing to the Associate Dean of College of Graduate Studies, should contain a description of actions by the department contrary to departmental rules or university policy or an explanation of extenuating circumstances that led to the action.

The student must present documentation- for example, physician’s letters, police reports, and/or transcripts- that the circumstances were beyond his or her control, that they disrupted previously satisfactory scholastic performance, and that they no longer affect the student’s academic work. The Associate Dean of Graduate Studies has the authority to deny further appeal on the basis of reasonable grounds for appeal. If grounds exist, a subcommittee of the Academic Disqualification and Reinstatement Review Committee will in turn hold a formal hearing to confirm or rescind the probation or disqualification. Please review University Policy S16-16 for complete details.

Reinstatement for Disqualification

Following a notice of disqualification, a student’s graduate advisor may file a Graduate Petition for Reinstatement. The form can be found under Reinstatement on the College of Graduate Studies Graduate Student Forms site. The form indicates that there are four categories by which a student can be reinstated: extenuating circumstances, special consideration, grade change and program of study. Please note that only the graduate advisor can initiate this form and students should work with their advisor when determining which reinstatement category is applicable.

Graduate students may appeal their probation or disqualification by petitioning the Academic Disqualification and Reinstatement Review Committee after the programmatic appeal process has been exhausted. The student should begin the appeal process by consulting with the graduate advisor. The appeal, in writing to the Associate Dean for the College of Graduate Studies, should contain a description of actions by the department contrary to departmental or university policy or an explanation of extenuating circumstances that led to the action. The student must present documentation- for example, physician’s letters, police reports, and/or transcripts- that the circumstances were beyond his or her control, that they disrupted previously satisfactory scholastic performance, and that they no longer affect the student’s academic work. The Associate Dean for the College of Graduate Studies has the authority to deny further appeal on the basis of reasonable grounds for appeal. If grounds exist, a subcommittee of the Academic Disqualification and Reinstatement Review Committee will in turn hold a formal hearing to confirm or rescind the probation or disqualification.

Extenuating Circumstances

Similar to the appeal process for probation or disqualification, a request for reinstatement due to extenuating circumstances must meet the conditions indicated above for that process. The petition is submitted along with evidence of the circumstances and their role in the decline in scholastic performance. After securing the requisite signatures, the form is submitted to the Associate Dean for the College of Graduate Studies for a final decision.

Special Consideration

This category is reserved for individuals who have been absent from the university for five or more years and who have in that time achieved a renewed sense of purpose through job activities or through increased maturity that would prompt a greater chance of academic success. Often this request is accompanied by a switch in major from that in which the disqualification occurred.

Change of Grade

If a grade that was changed results in an increase in the semester GPA or in the cumulative GPA to 3.0 or above, the student may qualify for reinstatement in this category. In addition, retroactive (after the last day of classes) actions by students, such as completion of Incomplete (“I”) grades or course drops, can also raise the SJSU cumulative GPA. The Change-of-Grade Form must be submitted by the department office directly to the Office of the Registrar by the drop deadline of the following spring or fall semester. Extension of this deadline will be considered only when there is documentation of the student’s attempt(s) to contact both the instructor and the department chair and only when the late submission of the Change-of-Grade Form is clearly shown to be beyond the student’s control. If these conditions are met, the disqualification (or probation) will be rescinded. If the conditions are not met, even if the grade is subsequently changed and the GPA elevated, the probationary or disqualified status will remain unchanged. Note that a course or semester withdrawal is not considered to be a grade change, and reinstatement in this category would not be appropriate.

Program of Study

The most common grounds for reinstatement is the completion of a program of study. A student must confer with the graduate advisor to develop a schedule of classes appropriate to the student’s major. The courses must amount to a minimum of 6 and maximum of 9 units per semester, and all must be taken in a single semester. They must be letter graded, upper division (100-level), and taken through the SJSU Open University Winter or Summer session. The 100-level courses may or may not be part of the graduation requirements for the student’s degree program. The advisor may require more than 6 units of course work. Graduate (200-level) courses are not permitted on the program of study, and disqualified students cannot enroll in 200-level courses. Under no circumstances will courses be accepted that were taken prior to approval of the program of study via submission of the Graduate Petition for Reinstatement. Also precluded from the program of study are courses taken at another university, 300-level or 400-level or 500-level courses, and lower division courses. If the student plans to pursue a different degree program upon readmission to the university, the program of study must be applicable to the new major, be developed in conjunction with the graduate advisor of the new major, and demonstrate the student’s capacity to complete the new graduate degree requirements. If a course on an approved program of study becomes unavailable, another reinstatement petition must be submitted and approved immediately after enrollment in a substitute course. Once the program of study has been completed such that the student earns a minimum grade point average of 3.3 (“B+”), he or she will be reinstated and, after reapplication to the university, readmitted to the university and department. Reinstated students cannot be denied admission on the basis of their lack of good standing.

Reinstatement is not allowed for a second disqualification. Unless extenuating circumstances can be cited that result in rescinding the second disqualification, a Graduate Petition for Reinstatement will not be accepted from students who have been disqualified more than once.

If the student plans to pursue a different degree program upon readmission to the university, the program of study must be applicable to the new major, be developed in conjunction with the graduate advisor of the new major, and demonstrate the student’s capacity to complete the new graduate degree requirements.

Unless the disqualification is rescinded as above, reinstated students must apply to the university and department for readmission. Reapplication via www.calstate.edu/apply can be done during the semester in which the program of study is underway or in which the reinstatement petition is being considered. The application will be placed on hold at Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations until the program-of-study grades are posted and students are reinstated. Under most circumstances, a department is expected to readmit students who have successfully completed programs of study signed off by that department. Disqualified, reinstated students seeking readmission are, nevertheless, subject to the same enrollment limitations and admission application requirements as all other applicants. Learn more about the reinstatement processes .


A graduate student readmitted after academic disqualification may still retain a sub-3.0 GPA and, therefore, remains on continued probation until the cumulative graduate GPA is raised to a minimum of 3.0.  Following reinstatement, if a student fails to achieve a term GPA equal to or above 3.0 in any Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall term while on probation, they will be disqualified a second and final time. Probationary status is removed once the cumulative GPA meets or exceeds 3.0.

While disqualified, the graduate student has no capacity, outside of possible degree-satisfying courses taken as part of a program of study, to raise the GPA. Unlike an undergraduate student in disqualified status, courses taken by a graduate student through Open University or at other institutions during this period are not counted in university GPA calculations, except in the case of the program of study courses that are applicable to the degree program. Disqualified students lose their privileges for course registration and so are effectively removed from the university. Readmission differs from reinstatement. An academically disqualified student may apply for and be granted reinstatement. However, class enrollment requires that they also be readmitted into the university. Readmission is possible only after proper reinstatement is achieved, formal reapplication through Cal State Apply is submitted, university review is complete, and acceptance by the department graduate program is confirmed. This applies whether the student is returning to their previous program or if a student has been academically disqualified and is returning to begin a newly approved program.The student can reapply as early as the term following a first disqualification, even if reinstatement has not yet been achieved. The university will make special arrangements, before an official term begins, for former students who wish to return to their studies. The Associate Dean for the College of Graduate Studies should be contacted if these circumstances apply.