Bulletin

CULMINATING EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENT

Near the close of a candidate's period of study for the degree, he/she is required to give a final demonstration of competence in scholarly and professional attributes. The character of the final work as exemplified by the range and quality of research, the unique correlation of available materials, the evidence of mastery of the knowledge in the field, the practical solution of a problem, or a creative achievement, must testify to the distinction of the student. The experience should be valuable to the student, and it also must be in keeping with the standards of the university. The quality of work accomplished, including the quality of writing completed, is of major importance in judging the acceptability of the culminating experience. In sum, this final culminating experience should provide visible evidence of the scholastic excellence achieved by the student which, in turn, reflects on the quality of graduate study in the major department.

In accordance with Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, this culminating experience can be met by the satisfactory completion of a thesis, special project, comprehensive examination, or, in some cases, a combination of more than one of these. An oral defense of the work completed for the culminating experience is normally required.

Students must file a Proposal for Culminating Experience Requirement form which has been approved by appropriate program faculty. This form must be submitted subsequent to or simultaneous with the Graduate Approved Program (GAP) form. Students are not permitted to enroll in a culminating experience course until both of these forms have been approved by the Graduate Division.

Thesis (course 898)
A thesis is the written product of the systematic study of a significant problem. It clearly identifies the problem, states the major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth the methods of gathering information, analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion and/or recommendation. The finished product must evidence originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, clarity of purpose, and accurate and thorough documentation. An abstract is required to be filed as a part of the completed work. Normally an oral defense of the thesis will be required.

Special Project (course 892, 893, 894, or 895)
There are several types of special projects as follows:

Supervised Field Internship (course 892)
A supervised field internship (alternatively referred to as Site Administration or Supervised Field Experience) involves the placement of the student in a work experience situation for the purpose of testing the application of the knowledge and skills learned. Normally, it is expected that the student will establish, with counsel from the faculty supervisor, specific written goals and/or problems to be addressed during the field internship. A written report or evaluation of the experience covering significance, objectives, methodology, and a conclusion or recommendations, is required, and should be kept on permanent file within the department or college. Also, an oral defense of the report may be required by the department. When the work is completed, the student's committee chair is responsible for seeing to it that all committee members indicate their approval by signing in the affirmative a Report of Completion of Culminating Experience Requirement form. This completed form together with a written abstract must then be filed in the Graduate Division by the student's committee chair by the deadline date as stated in the University Calendar.

Written Creative Work (course 893)
A written creative work is a creative achievement in writing, usually a short story, a novel, a series of poems, play, etc. It is expected to be a demonstration of the student's achieved unique style of writing. At the present time, only students in the graduate program offered by the Department of Creative Writing may use this alternative to meet the Culminating Experience Requirement. The guidelines for the preparation of the final work for submission to the Graduate Division are virtually identical to those for the thesis. Instead of an abstract as required for a thesis, an annotation page must be completed and filed as a part of the final work. The annotation is expected to be descriptive of the content or theme.

Creative Work Project (course 894)
A creative work project is a significant undertaking generally appropriate to the fine and applied arts. It is more than the presentation of a mere outline, plan, depiction, description, or documentation, although it may include these elements. It must evidence originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a rationale. It usually takes the form of a work such as a musical composition, a series or group of paintings, a performance, a film or other endeavor. It must be described in a written document that summarizes the project's significance, objectives, creative methodology employed, and a conclusion or recommendation. An oral defense of the project may be required. The written document is expected to be kept on permanent file within the major department. When the work is completed the student's committee chair is responsible for seeing to it that all committee members indicate their approval by signing in the affirmative a Report of Completion of Culminating Experience Requirement form. This completed form together with a written abstract must then be filed in the Graduate Division by the student's committee chair by the deadline date as stated in the University Calendar.

Field Study or Applied Research Project (course 895)
A field study or applied research project serves as a culminating experience for professional fields. It may take a variety of forms consistent with the expectations of the specific college or department. It should incorporate the application of knowledge and techniques acquired in the student's graduate program of study, and as such, should testify to the attainments of the student as a potential master's degree recipient.

Each field study or applied research project must be described and summarized in a written component which will include, at a minimum, the project's significance, objectives, methodology, and a conclusion or recommendations. It is expected that these written reports will be filed and made available as permanent reference documents either in the departmental or college offices. An oral defense of the project may be required. When completed, the student's committee chair is responsible for seeing to it that all committee members indicate their approval by signing in the affirmative a Report of Completion of Culminating Experience Requirement form. This completed form together with a written abstract must then be filed in the Graduate Division by the student's committee chair by the deadline date as stated in the University Calendar.

Comprehensive Examination
A comprehensive examination, written and/or oral, that has been prepared and administered by the major department, should demonstrate the student's ability to integrate the knowledge of the discipline, evidence critical and independent thinking, and in general show mastery of the subject matter. The results of the examination must evidence independent thinking, appropriate organization, critical analyses, and, as may be appropriate, accuracy of documentation. An acceptable record of the essence of the examination questions and responses must be maintained by the major department. The student's graduate committee is expected to sign and file with the Graduate Division a Report of Completion of Culminating Experience Requirement form for all passes and failures of comprehensive examinations.

The following procedures apply to the administration of the master's comprehensive examination:

Joint/Group Culminating Experience Projects and Theses
It is the normal expectation that a graduate student would individually complete the required culminating experience for the master's degree; however, it is recognized that there may be circumstances that warrant joint/group projects or theses. In such instances, an attachment signed by each student and by the culminating experience committee chair must be appended to the Proposal for Culminating Experience Requirement form to be filed in the Graduate Division that identifies the name(s) of other author(s) and describes the project or thesis responsibilities for each individual. The division of responsibilities specified must be reviewed, endorsed, and subsequently evaluated by the students' culminating experience committee members.

COMPOSITION OF STUDENT'S CULMINATING EXPERIENCE COMMITTEE
Every student completing a master's degree at this university must complete a final culminating experience as outlined. Regardless of the culminating experience being completed, a student's culminating experience committee must be established to evaluate whether the student has satisfactorily completed this final requirement for the degree. The committee should be constituted in accordance with the following guidelines:

REGISTRATION AND GRADING PROCEDURES FOR CULMINATING EXPERIENCE COURSES
A student must be in good standing, to include having at least a 3.0 GPA (B) in all post-baccalaureate course work taken at San Francisco State University, in order to be eligible to register for a culminating experience requirement course.

Courses 892 and 895
All students expecting to complete a Supervised Field Internship Field Study or Applied Research Project must register for the appropriate 892/895 numbered course in accordance with the guidelines of the department/college offering the course. Prior to registering through the Touch-Tone registration process for the culminating experience course, the student must have received approval of the Graduate Approved Program (GAP) and Proposal for Culminating Experience Requirement form by the Graduate Division.

A student who does not complete an 892 or 895 course by the end of the academic semester or summer session of registration will be issued a grade of SP (Satisfactory Progress) or, if warranted, an NC (No Credit). When the project is completed, a grade change (normally a CR [Credit]) will be submitted to the Registrar's Office.

Courses 893, 894, and 898
All students expecting to complete a thesis, written creative work, or creative work project must register for the required 893, 894, or 898 course. This registration, through the Touch Tone Registration process, requires that the student be classified and have on file in the Graduate Division both an approved Graduate Approved Program (GAP) and Proposal for Culminating Experience Requirement form.

A student who registers for the 893, 894, or 898 course, but does not complete it by the end of the first semester or summer session of registration, will be issued a grade of SP (Satisfactory Progress) or an NC (No Credit) grade if progress has been unsatisfactory.

For thesis or written creative works, all members of the student's graduate committee must sign the Certificate of Approval page which appears in the final copy presented by the student to the Graduate Division. When the thesis or written creative work has been approved by the candidate's graduate committee and accepted by the Graduate Division within the time period permitted, a grade of CR (Credit) will be recorded for those units of course 893 or 898 which the student has registered.

For creative work projects, the student is required to file the completed project in the department in accordance with the instructions of the major adviser. The student's committee chair is responsible for seeing to it that all committee members indicate their approval by signing in the affirmative a Report of Completion of Culminating Experience Requirement form.

SUPERVISION, REVIEW, AND SUBMISSION OF THESES AND WRITTEN CREATIVE WORKS
After a critical reading of the manuscript by the chair and other committee members, the chair will return the drafts to the student with suggestions for amendment and/or correction. Subsequently, the chair will indicate when the final manuscript can be prepared. It is important that the student submit the final manuscript to the committee chair for approval at least two weeks in advance of the official filing date with the Graduate Division.

The student and the chair will examine the final work for accuracy and correct form. When fully satisfied with the final prepared manuscript, all the committee members should sign the Certification of Approval page.

Students must observe specific regulations in the preparation and submission of the thesis/written creative work. Detailed instructions are contained in the publication, Guidelines for Preparation and Submission of Theses/Written Creative Works, which can be purchased for a nominal fee at the Rapid Copy Center of the Library.

Dates for Filing
The thesis/written creative work must be filed in the Graduate Division by the posted and published deadlines which are announced in the University Calendar found in various campus publications including this Bulletin.

Review of Theses/Written Creative Works
Theses or written creative works received in the Graduate Division by the published deadline will be reviewed for the purpose of determining whether or not they conform to the requirements set forth in the Guidelines mentioned above. Should corrections be necessary, the student and the committee chair will be notified. It is then the student's responsibility to resubmit the corrected copy in an acceptable form by the subsequent deadline.

Number of Copies
Only the original, or an acceptable high quality copy of the original, of the final written work, appropriately approved by the sponsoring faculty members with original signatures, is required to be filed in the Library. The student should consult the graduate major adviser to find out whether additional bound copies are required by the department or college. The student may also wish to submit a copy which can be bound for personal retention.

Binding Fee
In order to graduate, students completing a master's thesis/written creative work must submit this work to the Rapid Copy Center of the Library for binding. Students must pay $25.00 to cover the costs of preparing two microfiche copies and binding the copy required for the Library. For each additional copy, the student must pay $15.00 to cover the binding costs. A receipt, upon payment, from the Rapid Copy Center is sent to the graduation evaluator to indicate that this process has been completed.

TIME LIMIT TO COMPLETE REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADUATE DEGREES

The California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Education, requires that all the requirements for a master's degree be completed within a seven-year period to include the filing and awarding of the degree. This means that no more than seven years may elapse between the start of the term of the earliest dated course included on the Graduate Approved Program and the date the last course on the program is actually completed and the application for graduation is filed.

With outdated requirements (generally courses) the candidate has the following options:

The following chart provides examples of the dates of expiration of the work specified on the GAP according to the seven-year limitations:

First requirements on GAP begun:	Time limit GAP will expire:
Fall 1987				August 1994
Spring 1988				January 1995
Summer 1988				June 1995
Fall 1988				August 1995
Spring 1989				January 1996
Summer 1989				June 1996
Fall 1989				August 1996
Spring 1990				January 1997
Summer 1990				June 1997
Fall 1990				August 1997
Spring 1991				January 1998
Summer 1991				June 1998
Fall 1991				August 1998
Spring 1992				January 1999
Summer 1992				June 1999
Fall 1992				August 1999
Spring 1993				January 2000
Summer 1993				June 2000
Fall 1993				August 2000
Spring 1994				January 2001
Summer 1994				June 2001
Fall 1994				August 2001
Spring 1995				January 2002
Summer 1995				June 2002
Fall 1995				August 2002
Spring 1996				January 2003
Summer 1996				June 2003

APPLICATION FOR GRADUATION

Candidates for degrees must file an application for graduation in accordance with the University Calendar, typically before the end of the third week of instruction of the term in which they expect to complete graduation requirements. The Application for Graduation, which is available at the Graduate Division, requires master's candidates to pay the graduation fee in the Cashier's Office and then file the form in the Graduate Division.

Applications for degrees to be awarded at the end of a summer session should be completed, fee paid at the Cashier's Office, and form filed in the Graduate Division after the end of the second week of instruction of the regular summer session.

Applications will not be approved for a specified term unless all requirements have been met as of the deadline date for filing, with the exception of courses and culminating experience requirements. If a candidate does not complete the requirements as planned in a particular semester, s/he must refile the Application for Graduation to be considered in a subsequent semester.


Bulletin 1994-96 Table of Contents, SFSU Home Page

last modified January 23, 1995


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