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University Catalog


Baccalaureate Degree

All baccalaureate degrees at Sacramento State require completion of the requirements listed below. Degree requirements fall into three categories: General Education requirements; major/minor requirements; and other all-University requirements. All requirements within a catalog category must be fulfilled under the same catalog.

  • These requirements are derived from Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, action of the California State University Trustees or Sacramento State Faculty Senate.
  • Changes may be made in General Education and/or Graduation Requirements during the 2012-2014 catalog years. Refer to 100 Pages/GE.html.

Total Units

A minimum of 120 semester units is required. Some majors require additional units. No more than 70 units taken at a community college or other two-year college may be applied to this total. At least 9 units must be upper division General Education.

Upper Division Units

Completion of at least 40 of the total units must be in junior and senior level courses numbered 100-199 at Sacramento State. At least 9 units of General Education must be taken at Sacramento State.


Completion of a specific number and pattern of courses in one or more academic departments is defined as a major and is required for graduation. Major requirements vary from a minimum of 31 units to a maximum of 108 units, with majors for the bachelor of arts requiring a minimum of 24 upper division units and majors for the bachelor of science requiring a minimum of 36 upper division units. Students may complete the requirements for two or more majors leading to the same baccalaureate degrees concurrently. Some Sacramento State majors require an academic minor or approved area of concentration (see requirement listings by major in Academic Programs).

General Education Requirements

All students under the 1992-94 and subsequent University Catalogs must complete 51 units of General Education requirements, including the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) and University graduation requirements.

General Education program requirements can be found at 100 Pages/GE.html. Approved General Education courses are listed in the Registration and Advising Handbook and on the online Schedule of Classes each year.

History and Government

Demonstrated competency in U.S. History, U.S. Constitution, and California state and local government is required for graduation. These requirements may be satisfied through appropriate courses or through examinations given each semester by the History and Government departments.

English Composition

Two semesters of college-level English Composition courses, ENGL 5 and 20 (or their equivalents) with a grade of “C-” or higher, are required for graduation.

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

Writing Programs Office
Calaveras Hall 111

All students subject to degree requirements of the 1979-80 and subsequent catalogs must satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment requirement in order to graduate. To do so, students will follow two steps. First, they may take English 109M or 109W, or they may challenge the course by taking the Writing Placement for Juniors (WPJ) timed essay placement examination. Second, students will complete the the upper-division coursework required by their GWAR Placement, including the General Education writing-intensive course, which certifies the GWAR.

Students having satisfied the Graduation Writing Requirement at other CSU campuses may be considered to have satisfied the requirement at Sacramento State. Evidence of successful completion must be provided. See the online catalog for a complete explanation of all writing requirements.

Foreign Language Requirement

All students whose catalog is Fall 1992 or later are required to meet a foreign language requirement for the baccalaureate degree.*

The policy requires proficiency to be demonstrated at a level comparable to the second semester of college level language, including American Sign Language (ASL).

Before Sacramento State Enrollment

The foreign language graduation requirement may be met by any one of the following:

  1. completion of the third year of a foreign language in high school (grade of “C-” or better);
  2. graduation from a secondary school where the language of instruction was not English;
  3. advanced Placement Foreign Language Examination scores of 3, 4, or 5; or
  4. completion of two semesters of a foreign language at a community college or university, with a grade of “C-” or better.

Students will be required to submit official high school or college transcripts or other admissions documents to verify the completion of this requirement.

*Note: Students with language disabilities due to a specific learning disability, or are deaf, hearing or speech impaired, or who have sustained brain injury may, on the recommendation of the Director of Services for Students with Disabilities, satisfy the requirement in one of several alternative ways.

After Sacramento State Enrollment

If the language requirement has not been completed through one of the above options, students must meet the Sacramento State foreign language graduation requirement by completing one of the following options:

  1. passing intermediate-level tests in two of four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. One of the tests passed must be in reading or writing;
  2. passing an advanced-level proficiency test in reading. Contact the Department of Foreign Languages (Mariposa 2051) for more information; or
  3. completing the second semester or equivalent (1B) of a college-level language (or ASL) course with a grade of “C-” or better.


At least 30 of the total units must be taken on the Sacramento State campus. A minimum of 24 of these units must be upper division, including at least 12 upper division units in the major (except for Business Administration, English, and Psychology which require 15 units). Sacramento State units earned by extension and/or challenge examination do not count toward the Sacramento State residence credit requirement.

Grade Point Average

An overall grade point average of 2.0 is required in five areas:

  1. total courses attempted;
  2. Sacramento State courses attempted;
  3. upper division courses applied to the major;
  4. courses applied to the minor, and
  5. courses used to complete General Education requirements.

Departments may impose additional grade point requirements (e.g., a department may require a “C-” or better in every course which is applied to the major).

General Education Program

Sacramento Hall 234
(916) 278-5344

One of the principles on which a modern university rests is the assumption that there is an important difference between learning to make a living and building the foundation for a life. While the first goal is important, the second is fundamental.

In focusing on the students’ development as whole or “educated” people, a university distinguishes itself from a trade school. The goal of a university education is not simply the acquisition and application of knowledge, but the creation of people who firmly grasp the worth of clear thinking and know how to do it; who understand and appreciate the differences between peoples and cultures as well as their similarities; who have a sense of history and social forces; who can express thought clearly and have quantitative ability; who know something about the arts as well as how to enjoy them; who can talk and think intelligently about the physical and life sciences, the humanities, and literature; and, above all, who have the desire and capability for learning. This goal is why a university degree is so highly valued by individuals, employers, and the community at large.

The Sacramento State General Education Program is designed to educate in this holistic sense. Thus, it is not simply a series of courses to complete or hoops for students to jump through as they complete the courses in their major. Rather, general education lies at the heart of what a university education is all about.

Therefore students should carefully select courses and actively seek subject areas that are new and may challenge their world-views or cherished assumptions and offer new experiences, such as inquiry-based or community-based learning. In short, students shouldn’t take the easy way out. This is their opportunity to lay the foundation for the rest of their lives, and to define themselves as educated members of the human community. Their time at the university is precious and the General Education Program has been designed to help them begin the process of becoming truly educated people. In deciding to pursue a university degree, they have chosen well and should make the best use of the opportunities open to them.


Upon completion of the General Education Program requirements, students will be expected to:

  • read, write, and understand relatively complex and sophisticated English prose;
  • construct a non-fallacious verbal argument, recognize fallacious arguments, and follow the verbal arguments of others;
  • find and use common information resources, engage in specialized library research, use computers and seek out appropriate expert opinion and advice; and
  • use mathematical ideas to accomplish a variety of tasks.

In addition to these basic skills, courses in the sciences, arts, humanities, and social sciences have been selected to provide students with:

  • an understanding of the workings of the physical universe, which will refine their science-based conceptual problem-solving skills and develop a first-hand acquaintance with the methods of science, including a general understanding of hypothesis formation and theory-testing;
  • knowledge of current theories about the origins and varieties of life on this planet, focusing on the basic principles of life processes, the interdependence of creatures in ecological systems, and the effects of changes in the environment;
  • an exposure to the historical and cultural influences that have played significant roles in the evolution of the values, beliefs, and ideas of Western and non-Western societies,through the study of significant literary, philosophical, and artistic works;
  • a familiarity with the theories and methods of the social sciences in order to enhance their understandings of the major institutions in our society, and the roles that both individuals and groups play in shaping experience;
  • perspectives on people from various cultures and backgrounds, including awareness of the contributions of non-Western cultures, women, and ethnic groups to the rich diversity of human activity; and
  • an understanding of the current theories and methods used to expand our knowledge of the processes of mental and physical development throughout the human life cycle.

Sacramento State General Education courses are designed, selected, and approved by the faculty to meet these program objectives. Students will benefit from consultation with the Academic Advising Center or advisors in their major departments in planning their General Education course choices. Students may search the online Schedule of Classes by Area or other specification(s) for currently available GE courses.

Course Requirements

Courses have been approved to meet the 51-unit General Education pattern required of Sacramento State students. In addition, a second semester composition course and demonstration of proficiency in a foreign language are required for graduation. (See GE requirements for a description of these requirements.) Students must choose their General Education classes from the Areas and classes listed at 100 Pages/GE.html.

General Education Policies

  • All upper division GE courses require at least second semester sophomore standing (45 units) and completion of all GE Area A courses as prerequisites.
  • At least 9 units must be chosen from upper division GE courses (100-199) and at least 9 units must be taken in residence at Sacramento State (these units may overlap).
  • The Writing Intensive course may be counted as upper division GE if it is listed as a GE course.
  • No more than nine units from a student’s major department may be used to meet General Education requirements.
  • Each course taken to satisfy the Area A Basic Subjects and Area B4 Quantitative Reasoning must be completed with a grade of “C-” or higher.
  • A 2.0 cumulative GPA is required in General Education.

Overlap Between General Education and Majors/Minors (Fall 1992 and Later)

General education requirements include five areas (A-E) in which you must take courses (area requirements), a nine-unit upper division requirement, a Race and Ethnicity requirement, and a Writing Intensive requirement. The overlap possibilities among these four aspects of General Education are outlined below. Students needing help applying these overlap policies are encouraged to see an advisor in the Academic Advising and Career Center, Lassen Hall 1013.

  1. A maximum of nine units of coursework from your major department may also be applied to the General Education requirements.
  2. The Race and Ethnicity requirement can be met with an upper or lower division course from a student’s major or major department. Example: A Social Work major can use SWRK 102 to meet the Race and Ethnicity requirement.
  3. The Writing Intensive requirement can be met with a course from the major or major department in specified majors, but not in all majors.
  4. There is no restriction on the overlap of courses between GE and minor requirements.

Note: For Business Administration majors, substitute “College of Business” for “major department.” For Social Science majors, substitute “History” for “major department.”

Transfer Students

Transfer students who have completed lower division General Education requirements at a California community college, including those certified under the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Core Curriculum (IGETC), are required to complete 9 units of upper division GE at Sacramento State, meet the foreign language proficiency graduation requirement, meet the state “code” requirements in U.S. History, American and California Government, and the writing intensive requirement. These 9 units may or may not include the writing intensive requirement, depending on the policy of the student’s major department. Students who have not completed an approved course for the “Race and Ethnicity in American Society” category at a community college must take a course in this category at Sacramento State. In addition, all transfer students, except those fully certified as having completed the IGETC core curriculum, must complete the required second semester composition course or an approved course at a community college.

For more information about IGETC requirements, contact your community college counselor.

Second Bachelor's Degree Requirements

Students who hold a bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited institutions of higher education may be admitted to a second bachelor's degree program. Students admitted are considered postbaccalaureate students.

Admissions criteria are:

  1. Have a minimum 2.5 grade point average on the last 60 semester units of baccalaureate and/or graduate level courses.
  2. Submit a graduation application with approval from the department chair of the major in which they seek the degree. Advising for the major takes place within the department.

Graduation requirements are:

  1. An overall grade point average of 2.5 is required in four areas:
    • 1. total courses attempted;
      2. Sacramento State courses attempted as a second bachelor's student;
      3. upper division courses applied to the major, and
      4. courses applied to the minor.
  2. Complete the content requirements for the second degree as specified by the department. Units from the first degree may be counted, but a minimum of 24 upper division residence units (Sacramento State courses) in the major subsequent to earning the first bachelor’s degree are required.
  3. Complete a minimum of 30 units in residence at Sacramento State beyond the first bachelor’s degree. Of the 30 units, 24 must be upper division in the major. Note: Former Sacramento State students who have completed 6 or more residence units will be held to only 24 upper division units in the major and in residence. Extension and credit by examination units do not meet the residence requirement.
  4. Complete California code requirements in U.S. History, Constitution, and California State and Local Government.
  5. If you have not already completed the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) at Sacramento State or at another approved campus as part of the first bachelor's degree, then you must take the Writing Placement for Juniors (WPJ) timed essay examination: a passing score certifies the GWAR. If you fail the WPJ, you will need to take English 109M or 109W: a passing grade in the class certifies the GWAR. If completed elsewhere, written verification is required.

Registration priority is that of an unclassified graduate student.


Second bachelor’s degree candidates are expected to achieve a minimum Sacramento State and overall cumulative grade point average of 2.5 each semester to maintain good academic standing, the same as unclassified graduate students. Students are subject to academic probation the first term the student's term and overall grade point average is below 2.5. While on academic probation, if the student's subsequent term and overall grade point remain below a 2.5, the student will be academically disqualified. A student will be academically disqualified immediately if the overall cumulative grade point average is below 2.0.

Students who meet grade point average requirements stated above will be placed on Academic Warning if they earn a "NC", No Credit, grade in a semester. Grades of "NC" earned in subsequent consecutive semesters will result in Academic Probation, Continued Probation or Disqualification, depending upon the number of "NC" grades earned and the semester grade point average.

Candidates must file for graduation TWO SEMESTERS prior to the date of graduation. Graduation Application forms are available at Admissions and Records, Lassen Hall or online at

Note: A second bachelor’s degree cannot be awarded in the same major nor in any closely-related field.

Catalog Rights

Undergraduate students maintaining attendance in any combination of California community colleges and campuses of the California State University receive “catalog rights” in the election of regulations determining graduation requirements. Students may elect the requirements in effect at (1) the year they began their study at a California community college or CSU campus, (2) the year they entered the CSU campus from which they will graduate, or (3) the year they graduate from the CSU.

Attendance is defined as enrollment in at least one semester or two quarters in each calendar year. Once catalog rights are established, absence related to an approved educational leave or for attendance at another accredited* institution is not to be considered an interruption, providing the above attendance criteria are met and the absence does not exceed two years.**

While catalog rights hold degree requirements, they do not shield students from changes in prerequisites required in a given course. Prerequisite requirements, which all students must follow, are those stated in course descriptions in the current catalog. The only exceptions to this are in cases in which the addition of course prerequisites also increases the number of units required in the major and minor. In these cases, students are encouraged to meet current course prerequisites, but are not required to do so.

*Note: Regional Accrediting Associations: the Associations of Colleges and Schools of the Middle States, North Central, Northwest, Southern and Western regions.

**See also Registration/Leaves of Absence.

Overlapping Credit


The University allows course credit to overlap in completing major and minor requirements, provided that minimum University policy has been met with regard to content requirements and total units.* For the Bachelor of Arts degree, a major requires a minimum of 24 non-overlapping units of which 12 must be upper division.

For the Bachelor of Science degree, a major requires a minimum of 36 non-overlapping units of which 18 must be upper division. Any remaining units may be used for a second major or a minor.

*See also Baccalaureate Degree Requirements/Overlap between General Education and Majors/minors.

Postbaccalaureate Credit Earned as an Undergraduate

The University will allow Sacramento State undergraduate students to petition to receive postbaccalaureate credit for courses in excess of all undergraduate degree requirements (major, minor, general education, total units, residence) if they are taken in the semester of graduation and students have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better. No more than six units can be applied towards a master’s degree. If approved, credit will be designated as “graduate credit” toward a master’s degree or credential and is discounted from undergraduate statistics and honors calculations. Those wishing to use credit toward fifth year credential requirements should indicate “credential candidate” on their application for graduation. Sacramento State students seeking approval to use excess units toward a master’s degree must submit a “Petition for Exception” to the Office of Graduate Studies during the last semester of undergraduate enrollment. Petitions must be filed with the Graduate Studies Office prior to graduation.

Application for Graduation

Degree Evaluations Office
Office of the University Registrar
Lassen Hall Lobby
(916) 278-4862

Students must apply for graduation. Academic degrees are not granted automatically when students complete their degree requirements.

Students are eligible to file a bachelor’s degree application one year in advance of graduating if they have completed a minimum of 80 units. Refer to the Evaluations Office graduation Web site, for filing procedures and timelines. A graduation evaluation will be mailed after the Degree Evaluations Office has reviewed all degree requirements. Graduating seniors may contact the Evaluations advisors to discuss their Graduation Evaluation and any remaining degree requirements.

Posting of Degrees

After grades become available for the semester of requested graduation, the Degree Evaluations Office will review the Graduation Evaluation for completion of all degree requirements. Those completing all requirements will have their degree major/minor and date of completion posted to their official academic transcript of record. Diplomas are mailed to students approximately two months after grades become available; summer graduation diplomas take approximately four months. Students attending graduation ceremonies do so as candidates for the degree. The degree is conferred only after all degree requirements have been completed, and the diploma and transcript of record reflect that semester’s date. Students who have not completed all requirements will be notified by mail and should contact the Degree Evaluations Office for assistance in developing plans for degree completion. Degree evaluators are available for assistance at all stages of the graduation process.

  • A student may not register for the semester following his/her intended graduation unless the intended degree date is canceled or changed by filing a Bachelor's Degree Date Change form with the Degree Evaluations Office in Lassen Hall, OR the student has applied for and been admitted as a graduate student.
  • Participation in the commencement ceremony does not constitute graduation. Degrees are conferred only after all requirements have officially been cleared.

Graduating in Absentia

Students who have fulfilled the degree residence requirements may be permitted to complete final requirements at other regionally accredited colleges or universities by petitioning to graduate “in-absentia.” Approval to graduate in absentia must be requested in advance. Major or minor course substitutions are to be approved by the appropriate academic departments, and GE courses must be approved through the Degree Evaluations Office. Approval for graduation in-absentia will hold catalog requirements and degree candidacy for one year.