Jun 20, 2021  
2020-2021 Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Undergraduate Graduation Requirements

To Qualify for an Undergraduate Degree

The University offers the following undergraduate (or baccalaureate) degrees: Bachelor of Art (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Music (BM), and the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). Students must satisfy the specific degree requirements for their undergraduate major  and fulfill the following University degree requirements: 

  1. Academic 
  2. General Education (GE)
  3. American Institutions (AI)
  4. Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)
  5. Physical Education (PE)
  6. Residency
  7. Upper Division
  8. Comply with all Undergraduate Policies
  9. Apply for Graduation
    Information about the Commencement Ceremony and Conferral of the Degree

1. Academic

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 this catalog for any additional academic requirements that are specific to a undergraduate major .

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 SJSU General Education Program  incorporates the development of skills, the acquisition of knowledge, and the integration of knowledge through the study of facts, issues, and ideas. Regardless of major, all who earn undergraduate degrees should share common educational experiences, as they become university scholars. In combination with major, minor, and elective courses, the General Education curriculum should help students attain those attributes found in an educated person.

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, the Title 5, or the “state code” requirement. Students may complete waiver exams or coursework 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.


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. Information on currently available ways to meet this graduation requirement may be obtained from the Testing Office or Academic Advising and Retention Services (AARS). Graduate students should refer to the Graduate Policies - Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)  section.

All undergraduate students must satisfy the GWAR by either:

  1. passing a 100W course with a “C or better” (C- not accepted) or
  2. by earning a waiver score on the WST.

Some majors  require an Area Z Written Communication II - 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.

Writing Skills Test (WST)

The WST has been temporarily suspended. See Temporary WST Policy for details and link to the self directed placement exercise.

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” (C- not accepted) after failing the WST) is required to enroll in the 100W course designated by the major.

GE Area Z Written Communication II - 100W Courses
The 100W Writing Workshop must be passed with a “C or better” (C- not accepted) when satisfying the CSU Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement.

SJSU Studies Area Z Written Communication II - 100W Courses  

5. 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 Major Exceptions and Modifications for GE and SJSU Studies , are required to complete two units of physical education from Kinesiology/Dance activity courses (University Policy S14-11).

Students may satisfy this requirement by either:

  1. taking two distinct 1-unit activity courses, or
  2. taking one single activity course of 2-or-more units.

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, Coast Guard or Space Force) 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.

6. Residency

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 (24) of the units shall be upper division. Of these upper division units, twelve (12) shall be in the major and nine (9) shall be in upper division General Education. Extension credit or credit by evaluation shall not be used to fulfill any of the thirty (30) units. Winter Session for previously matriculated students earns residence credit; Open University units are not applicable toward the residence requirement.

7. 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.

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.
  • 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 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 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:

  1. all college work (the overall average),
  2. all units attempted at SJSU,
  3. all units in the major,
  4. all units in the minor (if any), and
  5. 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. See this page for guidance: Application for Graduation web page. 

Master’s or Ed.D. 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 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.