PLANNING YOUR STUDIES AT SFSU


The baccalaureate degree includes an academic major, General Education (GE) requirements, other university graduation requirements, and elective course work. Students, with the aid of advisers, combine these elements in a creative and thoughtful way. In taking the time to create a meaningful degree program, the student will not only graduate in a timely manner, but will benefit from the opportunity to take personal responsibility for his/her own learning.

Some frequently asked questions are listed below, as well as some tips and strategies for success at SFSU.

Check out your level of readiness.

Take required entry-level tests (ELM/EPT) before your first semester to ensure that your skills are where they need to be to get the most out of college.

Use GE to learn about yourself and your world.

If you are unsure about what you want your major to be, it is a good idea to spend your first few semesters at SFSU exploring different options. GE allow you to learn about many different disciplines.

It's OK to be undeclared.

A large percentage of incoming students have not yet declared their major. Take time to explore the possibilities. Meet with an adviser at the Advising Center and use SFSU services, like the Career Center, to help you find the right major. First-time college students need to declare a major before 70 units. Transfer students must declare a major by the end of their second semester at SFSU.

It's OK to change your major.

Most students change their major at least once while in college. If you find that the major you have chosen is not right for you, explore other options. You will probably find that there are many more choices at SFSU than you have ever encountered at any previous school.

General Education and major requirements may sometimes overlap.

Most majors include courses that meet both GE and major requirements. This is referred to as "double counting." By choosing courses that double count, you earn the units once, leaving room for more electives.

When you have decided on a major, make a tentative plan for your remaining semesters at SFSU.

Many departments will provide you with a planning sheet so you can keep track of your progress.

Plan your program in consultation with your adviser.

Review your plan frequently and meet with an adviser on a regular basis. Go to your major department and request an adviser or, if you are undeclared, meet with an adviser in the Advising Center.

Bring your advising materials to your advising sessions.

The SFSU Bulletin is the most complete source of graduation requirements and university policies and procedures. Use the Bulletin to help choose a major, determine course content and prerequisites, and seek assistance when necessary.

The Class Schedule lists the courses offered each semester and a complete list of the specific courses approved for the GE program. It also includes a GE planning worksheet titled "Academic Progress Record," (APR), an academic calendar, and information on tests and deadlines. Use the Class Schedule to determine which courses are offered and at which times. Use the APR and other information to keep track of progress in GE and stay informed about deadlines and requirements.

Advanced Standing Evaluation (ASE) indicates how SFSU has accepted courses transferred to SFSU toward GE and other graduation requirements outside the major. Transfer students who do not receive either an ASE or DARS (see below) in the mail by the end of the first semester of attendance at SFSU should request a copy at the Student Services Center (HSS 127).

Degree Audit Report System (DARS) informs students how courses have been accepted toward GE and other graduation requirements outside the major. Use DARS as an undergraduate degree check of requirements outside the major/minor. A copy of DARS should be requested after each semester's grades are recorded in order to monitor progress in completing requirements and resolve errors and/or complete deficiencies. Whether transfer students will receive a DARS report or an ASE (or both) depends on the college attended prior to transferring to SFSU. Transfer students who do not receive either an ASE or DARS in the mail by the end of the first semester of attendance at SFSU should request a copy at the Student Services Center (HSS 127).

Transcripts of SFSU and Transfer Institutions assist students and advisers in determining that prerequisites have been met, that skills are sufficiently developed, and that courses have been taken appropriately for the degree. Use transcripts when meeting with advisers to help monitor progress and determine the best path toward the degree.

Major and Minor Requirements Worksheets are printed handouts which provide information to assist students in fulfilling requirements. Many departments publish flowcharts and graphic illustrations of prerequisite structures to help in planning. Often these worksheets include details in addition to what is found in the Bulletin and also provide space for adviser verification of course equivalencies in the major/minor.

Get to know your professors and advisers.

They can offer you ideas, insight, and perspective on educational goals, career plans, and graduate programs.

Pay careful attention to course prerequisites.

Be sure to take courses in the proper sequence. Included in this Bulletin is a description of all courses offered at SFSU. If you need prior experience or exposure to the subject as background to a course, prerequisite requirements are listed which must be taken before you can take that course.

Discuss effective use of elective credit with your adviser.

You may use these elective units to fulfill prerequisites for graduate school, develop a specific competency (for example, foreign language or computer skills), or to enrich your life and expand your understanding.

Take advantage of as many opportunities as possible while in college.

If you plan your education well, you will find time to participate in internships, student organizations, study abroad, and many other programs and services available here.

Go at your own speed.

Take care of the basic skills first. Most students at SFSU work while attending SFSU and therefore do not graduate in the typical eight semesters. The student should take the number of units that is consistent with his/her specific family, work, and social obligations.

Most majors at SFSU consist of approximately 45 units. If a student is earning a B.A. degree, the following is a sample unit breakdown. This example assumes no double counting between the major and GE requirements. The distribution will be slightly different for transfer students. An average of 15.5 units per semester will be needed to complete the degree in eight semesters.

For example:

45 units in major
48 units in GE
6 units in History/Government
3-6 units in English outside GE
19-22 elective units required
124 minimum total units for B.A. degree

For a B.S. degree, a student will need to complete between 124 and 132 units depending on the major. An average of 16.5 units per semester will be needed to complete the degree in eight semesters.

For example:

69 units in major
48 units in GE
6 units in History/Government
3-6 units in English outside GE
3-6 elective units required
132 minimum total units for B.S. degree

Who must complete the 48-unit General Education requirements?

Students must complete the 48-unit General Education requirements described above if admitted to SFSU in Fall 1981 or thereafter. Others should consult the Advising Center (ADM 212) for information on the older 40-unit General Studies Program.

How is GE transfer credit evaluated?

Transfers from California community college or California State University campuses will be given credit for general education requirements which their former institutions certify as completed. Transfer students from other public or private colleges will be given appropriate GE credit as determined by SFSU evaluators.

Newly admitted transfer students will receive an SFSU Advanced Standing Evaluation (ASE) or a Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) by mail. These documents identify the SFSU GE requirements that have been completed as well as those still needed. Questions about the placement of transfer courses on the ASE or DARS should be directed to the Student Services Center, HSS 127. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to complete the Academic Progress Record which can be found in the Class Schedule and to attend New Student Orientation or an Advising Center GE workshop as soon as possible after admission.

How do transfer students know their Bulletin year?

This information is part of each student's admission letter packet.

Can I use the same course for General Education and for my major?

Yes, a maximum of twelve units used to meet General Education requirements can also be used in the major. Although the courses meet two different requirements, the units count only once. There are also specific limitations on double counting in Segment III.

Can I use the same course to satisfy Segment II and Segment III requirements?

No.

Can I use the same class to meet General Education and U.S. History and Government requirements?

No, students may not double count courses taken at SFSU toward both GE requirements and the U.S. History and Government requirement. Engineering majors should consult the Engineering GE adviser for exceptions.

Can I earn GE credit for college-level learning that I acquired through prior work or life experience?

Yes. The CEEL (Credit by Evaluation for Experiential Learning) Program provides a way of earning GE or general elective credit for those students who have acquired prior college-level learning for which no college credit has been awarded. To obtain further information about CEEL, contact the Advising Center (ADM 212).

Should I carefully plan my GE program?

Yes. Some courses may not be offered every semester and exceptions to GE requirements are considered only under unusual and extenuating circumstances.



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Last modified July 03, 2012 by bulletin@sfsu.edu