To Qualify for an Undergraduate Degree
The University offers the following undergraduate (or baccalaureate) degrees: Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Music (BM), and the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). View the Undergraduate Graduation Requirements Unit Overview . Students must satisfy the specific degree requirements for their undergraduate major and fulfill the following University degree requirements:
- General Education (GE)
- American Institutions (AI)
- Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)
- Physical Education (PE)
- Units in Residence
- Upper Division Units
- Undergraduate Policies & Procedures
- Apply for Graduation
Information about the Commencement Ceremony and Conferral of the Degree
University Graduation Requirements earning goals and outcomes are included in the Mission and Institutional Learning Goals section of the catalog. Exceptions for University Graduation Requirements , including exemptions and waivers, are approved for specific majors and on a case-by-case evaluation only. Students may submit a University Graduation Requirement petitions to the Office of Undergraduate Education.
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 Writing in the Disciplines (100W/GWAR), 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 (Advanced Placement (AP) Exams , College Level Exam Program (CLEP) , or International Baccalaureate (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.
Any additional academic requirements are specified on the undergraduate major catalog pages.
2. General Education (GE)
A university brings together many separate areas of learning, yet it is more than just a collection of specialized disciplines. The General Education Program establishes a strong foundation of versatile skills, fosters curiosity about the world, and prepares students to engage and contribute responsibly and cooperatively in a multicultural, information-rich society. General education classes integrate areas of study and encourage progressively more complex and creative analysis, expression, and problem solving. The program aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and values they need for a lifetime of intellectual and personal growth. Review the learning goals and outcomes , policies , academic advisement information , and previous requirements .
3. 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, Title 5, or the “state code” requirement. Students may complete waiver exams or coursework to satisfy the requirements. Consult 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 undergraduate major .
Courses in American Institutions should expose students to alternative interpretations of the historical events and political processes that have shaped the social, economic, and political systems in which we live. All three requirements (1) US History, (2) US Constitution, and (3) California Government must be completed from the following coursework.
U.S. History + U.S. Constitution + California Government (US123)
All of these sequences satisfy General Education Requirements listed in parentheses. All courses in the sequence must be completed to satisfy the requirement.
African American Studies (6 units)
American Studies (12 units)
Asian American History (6 units)
Chicana and Chicano Studies (6 units)
Humanities Honors (12 units)
Satisfies eight GE areas, including third Area C, and all of American Institutions completed when completed with grades of “C-” or better.
U.S. History and Government (6 units)
Complete One US1: US History Course
Complete One US23: US Constitution and California Government Course
American History Only (US1)
U.S. Constitution + California Government Only (US23)
California Government Only (US3)
4. 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 by completing the following:
- Pass the Writing Skills Test (WST)
The WST has been temporarily suspended.The “traditional” (or pre-pandemic) WST was an in-person, timed essay exam that yielded a numeric score (the highest being a 12). The traditional WST has been suspended since March of 2020. As a replacement, students now complete an online exercise to fulfill their WST requirement, called the Upper-Division Writing Directed Self Placement (UDW-DSP). The online UDW-DSP is NOT a test and it does NOT yield a numeric score. It is a placement exercise that helps students place themselves in the writing course appropriate for them (ENGL 100A/LLD 100A or 100W). It is similar to a questionnaire. There are no waivers being granted for 100W courses at this time. The UDW-DSP does not yield a score and therefore there is no way to waive 100W (unlike the pre-pandemic WST). All transfer students must complete the UDW-DSP, regardless of what classes they’ve taken at their previous institutions or what grades they’ve earned. See Temporary WST Policy for more details.
- Satisfy the GWAR Requirement
All undergraduate students must satisfy the GWAR by either:
passing a Writing in the Disciplines (100W) course with a “C or better” (C- not accepted). View a list of Writing in the Disciplines - 100W Courses,
satisfying the GWAR while matriculated at another CSU campus,
for students who took the WST before the pandemic, a waiver score on the WST. This applies only in majors that permit a waiver score.
Majors Not Accepting Waiver of 100W
Majors that require students complete the 100W course and do not accept the waiver score on the Writing Skills Test include:
- African American Studies, BA
- Biological Sciences - Ecology and Evolution, BS
- Biological Sciences - Marine Biology, BS
- Biological Sciences, BA
- Biological Sciences, Ecology and Evolution Concentration, MS
- Biological Sciences, Microbiology Concentration, BS
- Biological Sciences, Molecular Biology Concentration, BS
- Biological Sciences, Systems Physiology Concentration, BS
- Chemistry, BA
- Chemistry, Biochemistry Concentration, BS
- Chemistry, BS
- Child and Adolescent Development, BA
- Child and Adolescent Development, Preparation for Teaching W/CSET Waiver, BA
- Child and Adolescent Development, Preparation for Teaching, BA
- Communication Studies, BA
- Earth System Science, BS
- Economics, BA
- Economics, BS
- Engineering (all majors)
- English, BA
- English, Creative Writing Concentration, BA
- English, Preparation for Teaching (Single Subject), BA
- English, Professional and Technical Writing Concentration, BA
- Environmental Studies, BA
- Environmental Studies, BS
- Environmental Studies, Preparation for Teaching, BA
- Geography, BA
- Geology, BS
- Global Studies, BA
- Climate Science, BS
- Nursing, BS
- Political Science, BA
- Psychology, BA
- Social Science, Preparation for Teaching (Single Subject), BA
- World Languages and Literatures (all majors)
Students should consult with their major advisors, the Testing Office, or Undergraduate Advising and Success Center (UASC) for major appropriate advice to satisfy this requirement. Graduate students should refer to the Graduate Policies - Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) section.
Writing in the Disciplines Courses (3 units)
Writing in the Disciplines (WID) courses develop students’ abilities to communicate effectively in their major course of study and in their careers. With an emphasis on critical thinking, these upper-division core courses advance students’ understanding of the genres, audiences, and purposes of college writing while preparing them for successful communication in their chosen professions.
Minimum Prerequisite: Upper division standing; A3 or equivalent second semester composition course (with a grade of C- or better); completion of core GE; completion of the UDW-DSP or passing score on the WST or a grade of “C” or better for ENGL 100A or LLD 100A .
Minimum Grade: A minimum grade of “C” or better (C- not accepted).
5. Physical Education (PE)
All undergraduate students who matriculate at SJSU, except those students in majors that are exempt (see Exceptions for University Graduation Requirements ), are required to complete two units of activity courses that satisfy the Physical Education requirement (University Policy S14-11). Students may satisfy this requirement by either:
- taking two distinct 1-unit activity courses (may include 2 units of Intercollegiate Athletics courses), or
- taking one single activity course of 2-or-more units.
Veterans who have completed at least one year of active duty in the armed services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard or Space Force) have satisfied the physical education requirement (Credit for Military Training in Non-Collegiate Settings section). Activity courses at SJSU are not repeatable for credit, unless indicated in the course description. KIN 1 - Adapted Physical Activities , specifically designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities, is repeatable for credit with instructor consent. To petition a course to satisfy the Physical Education Requirement, students must submit a petition to the the Office of Undergraduate Education, who will consult with the Department of Kinesiology , at least one semester prior to graduation.
6. Units in Residence
For all bachelor’s degrees, a minimum of 30 units shall be earned in residence after matriculation at the campus granting the degree. A minimum of 24 units shall be upper division. Of these upper division units, a minimum of 12 units shall be in the major . Extension credit or credit by evaluation shall not be used to fulfill any of the thirty (30) units. Summer and Winter Session for previously matriculated students earns residence credit; Open University units are not applicable toward the residence requirement.
7. Upper Division Units
A minimum of 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.
8. Undergraduate Policies
All Undergraduate Policies & Procedures apply to students seeking to earn a baccalaureate degree.
9. Apply for Graduation
- You should apply for graduation at least two semesters in advance, after completing at least 85 semester units (must be in good standing). See major for specific graduation course and unit requirements.
- File your application no later than the Processing Deadline dates. 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.
- The graduation application processes for each program are described on the Registrar’s Office web page.
- For most programs, MyProgress is used to evaluate completion of undergraduate degree requirements. Please work with your advisor to ensure that MyProgress accurately reflects all of your coursework and test credit. For programs that do not use MyProgress, a Major or minor form is needed. Contact your department office for more information on Major/Minor Forms.
- All courses and requirements must be completed by the date of graduation and transcripts received within one month after graduation. Any Incomplete (I) or Report 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 coursework, 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.
Apply by the priority processing deadline dates. 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 application is received after the priority processing deadline. If we receive your application after the final deadline date for the term for which 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. See the Graduation page for further guidance.
Graduation Application Process
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, and
- all units in the minor (if any).
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. See this page for guidance: Application for Graduation web page.
The graduation application for Master’s or doctoral degrees 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 the linked website 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 coursework 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 for graduation 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.
Commencement Ceremony and Conferral of the Degree
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 are two graduation or commencement ceremonies each academic year, held at the close of the spring and fall semesters. 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.