B.A. in Special Major
M.A. in Special Major (Interdisciplinary Studies)
M.S. in Special Major (Interdisciplinary Studies)
The Bachelor of Arts: Special Major is offered by San Francisco State University for those students who have unique academic goals which cannot be satisfactorily attained through one of the regularly offered undergraduate major programs of San Francisco State University or other colleges and universities in the Bay Area. The special major consists of a combination of courses planned in advance to focus on an integrative and coherent theme identified by the student. A written statement must be developed which describes the goals of the proposed major. The program must be compatible with the general objectives of the university. Courses must be chosen by the student from at least three different departments in at least two different colleges of the university. (Department means any program area of the university offering course work.)
A special major may not duplicate any existing major programs, by name or content, which are offered at San Francisco State University, nor may it be used as a means of bypassing regularly prescribed graduation requirements. It must be planned and approved in advance, not created as an afterthought to utilize previously completed courses.
The Special Majors (Interdisciplinary Studies) are offered both as a Master of Arts and a Master of Science by San Francisco State University in order to meet the unique needs and interests of students that cannot be met in a reasonable manner by one of the regularly offered graduate degree programs at SFSU. Students pursuing a Special Major (Interdisciplinary Studies) program must develop a plan of study that draws on courses from multiple disciplines with the intent to integrate the concepts, perspectives, and methodologies of those disciplines into a focused, central theme which may lead to new ways of looking at a subject, issues or problem. Usually, courses must be selected from three departments bridging at least two colleges within the University.
The courses to be applied toward the major must be carefully selected for their interrelatedness and general applicability to the objectives of the unique major being proposed. Only major themes that can be supported with integrity by existing course work and faculty expertise will be approved. Determination of degree designation as an MS or MA is the decision of the major advisor and the Dean of Graduate Studies. This degree cannot be used to meet credential or licensing requirements. Students may not use courses from fields of study, such as, nursing, physical therapy or counseling which lead to licensure or certification unless a single course is specifically authorized by the department chair.
Budget restrictions by the State of California may close off acceptance of new students in these programs at any time without prior notice.
Advising for students pursuing a special major is provided at the Advising Center by academic counselors designated by the dean of undergraduate studies who is responsible for the coordination and overall administration of the program.
To initiate the special major approval process, consult the web at www.sfsu.edu/~advising/specialMajors.html or students may obtain special major guidelines in the Advising Center.
All applicants for this program must first be able to meet the general requirements for admission to post-baccalaureate study as specified in the graduate admissions section of this Bulletin. In addition, a prospective special major student is expected to be eligible for admission to classified standing in one of the regular master's degree programs of the university. The applicant should present evidence of a minimum 3.0 grade point average in the last 60 semester units taken, and a pattern of undergraduate course work which will provide the foundation for the advanced degree work. Students must demonstrate English competency and proficiency before beginning the program which can be met by: earning a score of 4.5 or better on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) analytical writing section (students with a business background may substitute the GMAT analytical writing score of 4.5), or earning a full passing score on the Graduate Essay Test (GET). Test dates are found at www.sfsu.edu/~testing/get.html.
Final approval to pursue such a program of study is made by the dean of Graduate Studies after all outstanding problems have been resolved.
The university has a requirement for written English proficiency that is to be assessed at two different points in a student's program. Level One: determined upon entrance to graduate study. This criteria can be met by demonstrating a full pass on the Graduate Essay Test (GET) or by receiving a 4.5 on the analytical writing sections of the GRE or GMAT before entering the special major program.. A student who fails to meet the writing criteria may not be admissible or the student may be required to take additional writing courses as prescribed by the advisor and Dean of Graduate Studies.
Level Two: determined toward the end of the student's program. At this point, the major adviser, in consultation with other committee members as necessary, must determine that the student has the ability to write in a "scholarly" manner in the subject area (theme) of the program. Most often the satisfactory completion of a master's thesis, or a written field research project, will satisfy this second level requirement. How this second level requirement is being met must be indicated on the Graduate Approved Program (GAP).
The applicant is responsible for developing the program proposal and obtaining the endorsements of three tenured/tenure-track faculty members of the university eligible to work in graduate programs as defined in the university Bulletin. The primary responsibility for academic program advising will rest with the members of this committee, especially the major adviser. The major adviser must come from a department/program in which a significant amount of the program course work is to be taken. At least one of the committee members must come from a different department/program than the primary focus of the student's proposal. The dean of Graduate Studies is responsible for the general administration of the program in lieu of the traditional college and department. Students interested in the Special Major (Interdisciplinary Studies) program should meet with a graduate advisor in ADM 254. See the Graduate Studies website for advising information.
While students in the special major program have several unique requirements as stated herein, most of the master's degree program requirements are the same as those specified for other master's degree programs offered by the university. These are summarized in the section on Master's Degree Requirements in this Bulletin. In addition, students in the program are expected to complete the following minimum requirements:
The GAP must:
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