A student pursuing an advanced degree should prepare and file a Graduate Approved Program (GAP) form in the Graduate Division Office in the semester immediately preceding registration for the final six units of graduate work. This form lists the specific requirements (i.e., courses, examinations, theses, etc.) to be completed before the degree can be awarded. It must be approved by the graduate major adviser and the graduate coordinator (or committee) of the student's major college, and then be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate Division for review and approval. Once the GAP is accepted and approved by the Graduate Division, the student is officially advanced to candidacy. Any change in the GAP requires the filing of a Petition for GAP Substitution or Exception form with the Graduate Division.
The following minimum standards apply to all master's degree Graduate Approved Programs.
Each graduate student must demonstrate the ability to write standard American English correctly and effectively. The writing of a graduate student should be characterized by precision of rhetoric and general control of the written word at a level appropriate to the intellectual expectations for advanced study in the field. To assure that each graduate level student has the desired proficiency in written English, two distinct assessments are to be made by the major department during his/her enrollment as a graduate student. These two stages or levels of assessment are summarized below. Detailed requirements for each program area can be obtained from the major department offering the degree.
The first level (or assessment) of proficiency in written English shall be determined by the major department for all newly admitted students to the program, preferably before the first enrollment takes place, but no later than the end of the first semester of enrollment. An applicant is expected to be able to use correct grammar, syntax, spelling and punctuation and to present concepts and information in a logically organized and coherent form appropriate for initial study in the major field. Some departments require that their students take the Graduate Essay Test (GET), administered by the Testing Office, to determine if writing deficiencies exist and, if so, what type. If remedial work is necessary, the student shall be expected to complete prescribed courses in English or other corrective work at a level acceptable to the department.
The second level (or assessment) of proficiency in written English occurs later in the student's graduate program, preferably by the time of Advancement to Candidacy (i.e., the time a Graduate Approved Program is filed and approved). At this time, the student shall be expected to demonstrate writing skills which exemplify scholarly style in his/her chosen discipline. In some disciplines the style may be somewhat impersonal and objective, while in others it may be more subjective and creative. The student should know how to quote, paraphrase or write a precis, integrate quotations and rephrasings with original ideas, cite sources, and prepare manuscripts or other works in accordance with accepted scholarly style in the field of study.
Any research conducted by a student at this university that involves human and/or animal subjects requires the prior approval of the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS) and/or the University Animal Care and Use Committee (UACUC). Such approval must be obtained before the initiation of any research activity involving these subjects. Contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for forms and mandated procedures which must be followed. There are no exceptions. A student will not be permitted to enroll in the culminating experience course until CPHS or UACUC has approved the research activity.
A student is advanced to candidacy for a degree when the Graduate Approved Program (GAP) is accepted and approved by the Dean of the Graduate Division. All conditions placed on conditionally classified status must be satisfied before a student submits a GAP. It should be filed in the semester immediately preceding registration for the final six units of graduate work. The GAP should list the specific requirements (e.g., courses, examinations, theses, etc.) to be completed before the degree can be awarded. It must be approved by the graduate major adviser and the graduate coordinator (or committee) of the student's major college and then be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate Division for review and approval. As of the time the Graduate Approved Program (GAP) is filed and reviewed by the Graduate Division, the student must have earned a 3.0 grade point average in all of the course work taken in post-baccalaureate status at SFSU, as well as a 3.0 in all course work completed to date on the GAP. Once the GAP is approved, a copy will be mailed to the student.
A Graduate Approved Program (GAP) will be valid only as long as the student maintains continuous enrollment status with the university as defined elsewhere in the Bulletin. Any time a student is required to reapply for admission to the university, s/he must also be reconsidered for admission by the major department. If readmitted, a new GAP must be completed that meets current curricular requirements.
If a student wishes to change his/her GAP by adding or removing a course, s/he should file an adviser and college approved Petition for GAP Substitution or Exception form with the Graduate Division. Reasons for waivers or substitutions to the program should be noted on the form.
If a student does not complete the Graduate Approved Program with the required 3.0 (B) average, the department/program may terminate the student's candidacy and classified status in the program or authorize a change in the courses listed on the Graduate Approved Program. The change may include courses taken by the student but not included on the GAP or stipulate additional courses the student is to take in order to raise the grade point average to the minimum level. The additional courses must be: at the upper division or graduate level; graded with letter grades; regular courses, not to include 699 or 899 courses; approved by the graduate adviser; and applicable to the degree objective, although the courses need not be restricted to the student's major department/program.
If the student fails to earn the minimum 3.0 grade point average on completion of the revised Graduate Approved Program, it will be recommended that his/her candidacy be terminated without the award of the master's degree.
A student intending to earn a master's degree at this institution must have earned a 3.0 (B) cumulative grade point average in all course work taken in post-baccalaureate standing (last seven years only) at San Francisco State University. When the student fails to meet this requirement, additional course work must be completed in order to make up the deficiency. There is no provision for waiving this requirement.
The additional courses must be: at the upper division or graduate level; graded with letter grades; regular courses, not to include 699 or 899 courses; approved by the graduate major adviser; and applicable to the degree objective, although the courses need not be restricted to the student's major department/program.
Near the close of a candidate's period of study for the degree, s/he 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.
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. Normally an oral defense of the thesis will be required.
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 must 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 must 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 must be filed in the Graduate Division by the student's committee chair by the deadline date as stated in the University Calendar.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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, a NC (No Credit). When the project is completed, a grade change (normally a CR [Credit]) will be submitted to the Registrar's Office.
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.
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.
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:|
|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|
|Fall 1996||August 2003|
|Spring 1997||January 2004|
|Summer 1997||June 2004|
|Fall 1997||August 2004|
|Spring 1998||January 2005|
|Summer 1998||June 2005|
|Fall 1998||August 2005|
|Spring 1999||January 2006|
|Summer 1999||June 2006|
|Fall 1999||August 2006|
|Spring 2000||January 2007|
|Summer 2000||June 2007|
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 (Session B).
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, he/she must refile the Application for Graduation to be considered in a subsequent semester.
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