2024-2025 Cal Poly Humboldt Catalog 
    Jul 24, 2024  
2024-2025 Cal Poly Humboldt Catalog

Master’s Degree Requirements

Degree Programs

Cal Poly Humboldt is authorized to offer the following programs. 

Admission Procedures & Policies

Admission Requirements. See “Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Admission Requirements  .”

Application Procedure. See “Graduate & Post-Baccalaureate Application Procedures .”

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Admission to candidacy is an acknowledgement of a student’s potential to complete the requirements for the master’s degree. Students should apply for advancement to candidacy and graduation at least one semester prior to completion of course requirements. Some programs require earlier application. A student must be enrolled in the semester during which advancement to candidacy takes place.

Candidacy Requirements

  • Graduate classified standing (fulfilled all program admission requirements);
  • A GPA of 3.00 or better;
  • Completion of 12 to 15 units approved coursework for the master’s program;
  • Approval of the advisor, committee, and graduate coordinator; and
  • Approval of any plan to use humans or animals as subjects in research if applicable. (See “Use of Human Subjects in Research” or “Use of Animals in Research” in the Graduate Student Handbook for more information.)

Forms are available on the Cal Poly Humboldt Forms website. Some programs require their students to advance to candidacy within their first year at the university.

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Graduate Degree Requirements

General requirements for the master’s degree programs as specified by Title 5 are below. Discipline-specific requirements are outlined in the program description section of this catalog.

Completion of a specified program of study, usually requiring approval from the university department.

Completion of a minimum of 30 semester units of approved coursework within a maximum of seven years. (See “Seven-Year Limit”). This standard includes:

  • 21 or more semester units must be completed at Cal Poly Humboldt, after admission to the graduate program (resident requirement);
  • At least half the units must be at the graduate level (numbered 500-699 at Cal Poly Humboldt);
  • lower division course (numbered 100-299 at Cal Poly Humboldt) cannot be counted toward the degree;
  • No more than 6 thesis or project units will apply toward the degree with a maximum of 9 total units for independent study, field work, and thesis/project courses.
  • No more than 9 units of Open University /Special Session courses can apply toward the degree (courses must be included in the candidate’s approved master’s program). Open University is not available to matriculated students (those officially admitted to and eligible to register at Cal Poly Humboldt during the current semester or the previous two semesters). Regularly enrolled students who are academically disqualified from the university are not eligible to enroll in coursework through Extended Education and Global Engagement for an academic year.

Graduate students can choose optional CR/ NC only for courses not required by their approved program. No more than one-third of master’s degree courses may be taken credit/no credit. Students must earn a B- or better in all courses taken to satisfy the requirements for the degree and maintain a grade point average of 3.00 or better. A higher grade standard than the campus minimum of B- may be specified by a graduate degree program.

Completion of an approved thesis, project, or comprehensive examination, as defined by Title 5:

A thesis is the written product of a systematic study of a significant problem. It identifies the problem, states the major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendation. The finished product evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation. Normally, an oral defense of the thesis is required.

A project is a significant undertaking appropriate to the fine and applied arts or to professional fields. It evidences originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a rationale. It is described and summarized in a written abstract that includes the project’s significance, objectives, methodology and a conclusion or recommendation. An oral defense of the project may be required.

A comprehensive examination assesses a student’s ability to integrate knowledge of the area, show independent and critical thinking, and demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. The results evidence independent thinking, appropriate organization, critical analysis, and accuracy of documentation. Examination questions and responses are kept according to the CSU records retention policy.

The California State University, under Executive Order 665, requires that graduate students demonstrate competency in writing. The graduate writing requirements are built into each program.

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Graduate Financial Aid

Placement in one or another of the post-baccalaureate admission categories has an effect on student eligibility for financial aid. Contact the Financial Aid Office, 707-826- 4321, for clarification of eligibility.

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Academic Notice and Disqualification

Graduate students, including those who are classified or conditionally classified, will be placed on academic probation if their Humboldt grade point average falls below a 3.00 (B grade average). See “Academic Notice & Disqualification  .”

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Administrative-Academic Probation and Disqualification

See “Administrative-Academic Probation and Disqualification  .” All the reasons for administrative-academic notice and disqualification for undergraduate students shall apply to graduate students. In addition:

  1. Students may be placed on administrative- academic probation by the Dean of Graduate Studies, following a request from the program/department and consultation with other appropriate offices, for failure to comply, after due notice, with a requirement or regulation, as defined by campus or program policy which is routine for all students or a defined group of students (e.g., demonstrating consistently disruptive behavior, hostile or abusive behavior, failure to advance to candidacy, failure to abide by standards set by approved external placements, etc.). A student on probation shall be informed in writing by the graduate dean (with a copy provided to the department/ program).
  2. The Dean of Graduate Studies shall inform the Office of Records and Registration when students have been placed on or removed from administrative-academic probation status so that student records can be updated. When a student is placed on academic or administrative-academic probation, the student must work with the program coordinator to develop a plan for remediation, including a timeline for completion. In the case of administrative-academic probation, the remediation plan must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies, who will send a letter to the student documenting the plan. A student cannot be advanced to candidacy if the student is on either academic or administrative-academic probation.

A student who has been placed on administrative- academic probation may be disqualified from further attendance by the Dean of Graduate Studies if any of the conditions for disqualification apply. In addition:

In the event that a student fails the thesis/ project defense, the student may repeat the thesis/project defense once. Failure at the second thesis/project defense will result in disqualification from a program. The thesis/ project committee will specify the time period and/or conditions of the repeated defense. A student may repeat a comprehensive examination once. Failure of the second comprehensive examination results in disqualification from a program. The comprehensive exam committee will specify the time period and/or conditions of the repeated examination. Students who are disqualified at the end of an enrollment period should be notified by the Dean of Graduate Studies before the beginning of the next consecutive regular enrollment period.

Students disqualified at the beginning of a summer enrollment break should be notified at least one month before the start of the fall term. In cases where a student ordinarily would be disqualified at the end of a term, save for the fact that it is not possible to make timely notification, the student may be advised that the disqualification is to be effective at the end of the next term. Such notification should include any conditions which, if met, would result in permission to continue in enrollment. Inability to contact a student does not create the right of a student to continue enrollment.

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Continuous Enrollment

In order to maintain continuous enrollment, students are required to enroll for a minimum of one unit per term for at least two terms per academic year (fall, spring, summer) until their degree requirements are completed. Students who do not maintain continuous enrollment (two terms each academic year), and who have not been granted a leave of absence, must reapply for admission to the university and to the graduate program. They will be subject to any new admission requirements and if admitted, will be required to meet the degree requirements in effect at the time of readmit.

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Educational Leave of Absence

An educational leave of absence must be requested if continuous enrollment, as defined above, will be interrupted. At least one term must be completed prior to taking a leave of absence. The maximum duration of a single leave is one academic year; the total duration of combined leaves may not exceed two years. A leave of absence does not extend the seven-year time limit. See Academic Regulations & Enrollment , “Educational Leave (Leave of Absence)”.

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Extended Education

Some departments allow master’s students to register for one unit of a discipline-specific x693 course through the Extended Education. Enrollment in the discipline-specific x693 course maintains continuous enrollment and status in the master’s degree program.

The minimum requirements to be eligible to enroll through Extended Education are:

  • Advancement to candidacy;
  • Completion of all the coursework required for the degree; and
  • Current graduation date on file with the Office of Records and Registration.

Additional requirements for registering through extended education vary by program. The Graduate Continuous Enrollment form is used to request authorization to enroll in one unit of discipline-specific x693 course through Extended Education. Forms are available online on the Cal Poly Humboldt Forms website.

This policy does not apply to credential candidates.

Graduate Credit

No grade below B- counts as a passing grade when meeting requirements for the master’s degree. In fact, some programs require students to repeat work for which they receive a grade below B. Check with the graduate coordinator for more information.

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Graduate Credit for Undergraduates

Undergraduate students may earn graduate credit by petition under the following circumstances:

  • Only courses taken in the final semester of the senior year are applicable;
  • No more than 6 units remain to complete requirements for the bachelor’s degree;
  • Cumulative GPA is 2.5 or higher;
  • Applicable courses are upper division or graduate level and, if being used for graduate credit, are not also being used for undergraduate credit;
  • Application for graduation (degree check) is on file with the Office of Records and Registration;
  • No more than 9 units taken as an undergraduate may be applied to the master’s degree;

Students must complete the Petition for Graduate Credit (To be Earned in Final Semester of Senior Year) form available on the Forms website.

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Graduation, Application for

Students apply for graduation at the same time as they apply for advancement to candidacy. The dual application initiates a degree check to ensure that the coursework listed meets the requirements of the master’s degree program.

The graduate student application for graduation should be filed at least one semester before finishing all degree requirements. Forms are available online on the Forms website and application deadlines are published on Academic Deadlines.

Second Master’s Degree

Preparation equivalent to an undergraduate major in the student’s field is prerequisite to earning a second master’s degree. The program for the second degree requires a minimum of 30 semester units, 24 of which must be beyond the requirements for the first master’s degree and 21 of which must be completed in residence. In addition, students must meet the requirements set by their graduate committee.

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Seven-Year Limit

Title 5 Education of the California Administrative Code of Regulations limits the maximum time for completing a master’s degree program to seven years. The seven years is calculated from the time of completion of the oldest course listed on the Approved Graduate Course List. An extension may be granted if warranted by individual circumstances and if the outdated coursework is validated by examination. See the Graduate Student Handbook for additional information.

What Cal Poly Humboldt graduates should know and be able to do as a result of their Humboldt experience

Cal Poly Humboldt graduates at the master’s level will be able to:

  • elucidate the major theories, research methods and approaches to inquiry and/or schools of practice in the student’s field of study; articulate their sources and illustrate both their application and their relationships to allied fields
  • disaggregate, adapt, reformulate and employ principal ideas, techniques or methods at the forefront of their field of study in the context of a written product or project
  • provide adequate evidence (through papers, projects, notebooks, computer files or catalogues) of contributing to, expanding, assessing, and/or refining knowledge within their field of study
  • create sustained, coherent arguments or explanations and reflections on their work or that of collaborators (if applicable), to both general and specialized audiences
  • apply the ethical framework(s) appropriate to their field of study
  • employ the tools, concepts, and methods appropriate to their inquiry in a project, paper or performance