Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

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 Graduation requirements, which are subject to catalog rights policy.  These requirements are derived from Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, action of the California State University system, and University policy.

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.

Upper Division Units

Completion of at least 39 of the total units must be in junior and senior level courses numbered 100-199 at Sacramento State. At least 9 units must be upper division General Education.


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 24 units to a maximum of 105 units, with majors for the Bachelor of Arts requiring a minimum of 12 upper division units and majors for the Bachelor of Science requiring a minimum of 18 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 and Graduation Requirements

All undergraduate students must complete a minimum of 48 units of General Education requirements. Approved General Education courses are listed on the online Schedule of Classes each year.  Undergraduate students must also complete Graduation Requirements

American Institutions Graduation Requirement

Demonstrated competency in "American Institutions", including: U.S. History and the U.S. Constitution, and California state and local government, is required for graduation. These requirements may be satisfied through approved courses or through examinations given by the History and Political Science departments.  A maximum of three units may count towards both GE Area D and American Institutions requirements.

English Composition Graduation Requirement

Two semesters of college-level English Composition courses, with a grade of “C-” or higher, are required for graduation.  English 5, 5M, 11, and 11M also satisfy GE Area A2 requirements.

Select one of the following:
Accelerated Academic Literacies
Accelerated Academic Literacies - Multilingual
Academic Literacies II
Academic Literacies II-Multilingual
Select one of the following:
College Composition II
College Composition II for Multilingual Students

Writing Proficiency Graduation Requirement

GWAR Website

All undergraduate students must satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) in order to graduate. The GWAR is satisfied by completing a designated upper division Writing Intensive (WI) course with a grade of C- or better.  All WI courses have a prerequisite that can be met either by submitting a Writing Placement for Juniors Portfolio (WPJ) or by completing ENGL 109W or ENGL 109M. Students who choose Portfolio placement will be asked to submit samples of their college level writing from courses they've completed.  Based on a review of that work, a pathway to a WI course, and to the GWAR, will be recommended.  WI courses may also count toward General Education and/or major requirements.

Students having satisfied the Graduation Writing Requirement at other CSU campuses are considered to have satisfied the requirement at Sacramento State.

Foreign Language Graduation Requirement

Undergraduate students are required to meet a foreign language requirement for the baccalaureate degree1. The policy requires proficiency to be demonstrated at a level comparable to the second semester of college level language, including American Sign Language (ASL). However, some Bachelor of Science high unit majors have been given an exemption from the Foreign Language Requirement. Those programs will be so noted in their catalog section. Students who change majors and are no longer in an exempt program will be subject to the University’s Foreign Language Graduation Requirement.

Before Sacramento State Enrollment

The foreign language graduation requirement1 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.  The second semester of a foreign language may also count towards GE Area C2 requirements.

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 or other disabilities may be approved, on the recommendation of the Director of Services for Students with Disabilities, to satisfy a missing academic requirement in 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 World Languages and Literatures (Mariposa 2051, (916) 278-6333) for more information; or
  3. completing the second semester or equivalent (1B) of a college-level language (including ASL) course with a grade of “C-” or better.

Race and Ethnicity in American Society Graduation Requirement

All students must complete a three-unit course designated as meeting the Race and Ethnicity in American Society requirement. Courses meeting this requirement may also be used to satisfy the University's G.E. Area C, D, or E requirements. Transfer students may satisfy this requirement at a community college, upon completion of an appropriate course. Courses meeting this requirement taken at Sac State by G.E.-certified students may be used to satisfy portions of the G.E. residence requirement and, in the case of approved upper division courses, the G.E. upper division unit requirement.

Residence Requirement

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, 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 Requirement

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

  1. total courses (cumulative GPA).
  2. Sacramento State courses.
  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 and GPA requirements (e.g., a department may require a “C-” or better in every course which is applied to the major).

General Education Program

Office of Undergraduate Studies Website

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;
  • use mathematical ideas to accomplish a variety of tasks;
  • gain a general understanding of current theory, concepts, knowledge, and scientific methods pertaining to the nature of the physical universe, ecosystems, and life on this planet;
  • develop an acquaintance and understanding of cultures and major dynamic social institutions which affect one’s life; and
  • possess a significant and useful understanding of peoples from a diversity of cultures and backgrounds, including women and ethnic and other minority groups who have been the objects of prejudice and adverse discrimination within our society.  

In addition to these basic skills, courses in the sciences, arts, humanities, and social sciences have been selected to help students attain the university’s baccalaureate learning goals and to satisfy particular GE Area Learning Outcomes. The Baccalaureate Learning Goals include:

  • Competence in the Disciplines: The ability to demonstrate the competencies and values listed below in at least one major field of study and to demonstrate informed understandings of other fields, drawing on the knowledge and skills of disciplines outside the major.
  • Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World through study in the sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, histories, languages, and the arts. Focused by engagement with big questions, contemporary and enduring.
  • Intellectual and Practical Skills, Including: inquiry and analysis, critical, philosophical, and creative thinking, written and oral communication, quantitative literacy, information literacy, teamwork and problem solving, practiced extensively across the curriculum, in the context of progressively more challenging problems, projects, and standards for performance.
  • Personal and Social Responsibility, Including: civic knowledge and engagement—local and global, intercultural knowledge and competence1, ethical reasoning and action, foundations and skills for lifelong learning anchored through active involvement with diverse communities and real-world challenges.
  • Integrative Learning2, Including: synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies.

Understanding of and respect for those who are different from oneself and the ability to work collaboratively with those who come from diverse cultural backgrounds.


Interdisciplinary learning, learning communities, capstone or senior studies in the General Education program and/or in the major connecting learning goals with the content and practices of the educational programs including GE, departmental majors, the co-curriculum and assessments.

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 48-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 in the catalog.

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 3 upper division GE units must be completed each in Area B, Area C, and Area D, for a total of at least 9 upper division units.  (Courses numbered 100-199).
  • The Writing Intensive course may be counted as upper division GE if it is listed as a GE course. Students must complete the course with a C- or higher to certify the GWAR.
  • 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 Graduation Requirements and Majors/Minors

General education requirements include six areas (A-F) in which you must take courses (Area Requirements) and, a nine-unit upper division requirement. Some courses that satisfy an Area Requirement may also satisfy a Graduation Requirement or a major requirement.  The overlap possibilities 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. The Race and Ethnicity requirement can be met with an upper or lower division course from a student’s major or major department or in a General Education Area. Example: A Social Work major can use SWRK 102 to meet the Race and Ethnicity requirement.
  2. The Writing Intensive requirement can be met with a course from the major or major department in specified majors, but not in all majors.  Some, but not all WI courses also satisfy a GE Area Requirement.
  3. Up to three units of the American Institutions Graduation Requirement may also satisfy a GE Area D Requirement.  (in designated high unit majors, 6 units of duplication may be permitted).
  4. Satisfying the Foreign Language Graduation Requirement by completing the second semester of a single language may also satisfy a GE Area C2 Requirement.
  5. There is no restriction on the overlap of courses between GE and minor requirements.
  6. There is no restriction on the overlap of courses between GE and major courses.

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), and/or those in receipt of an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT), are required to complete 9 units of upper division GE at Sacramento State (or another CSU), 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. 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 or ADT core curriculum, must complete the required second semester composition course or an approved course at a community college.

For more information about IGETC requirements and/or Associate Degrees for Transfer, 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.  Potential applicants should be aware that CSU policy restricts admission of applicants to second and subsequent baccalaureate degrees to critical need areas such as nursing, science, engineering, mathematics, or integrated teacher education programs (ITEP). In all other areas, an applicant may be admitted to a second baccalaureate only if capacity remains after all CSU eligible upper division transfer and first-time freshman applicants have been admitted.  To be considered for admission, an applicant must have a minimum 2.5 grade point average in the last 60 semester units of baccalaureate and/or graduate level courses.  

Graduation requirements are:

  1. An overall grade point average of 2.5 is required in four areas:
    1. total courses
    2. Sacramento State courses 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 academic program. 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 24 upper division units in the major and in residence. Extension and credit by examination units do not meet the residence requirement.
  4. 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.  Candidates must file for graduation TWO SEMESTERS prior to the date of graduation. 


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.

Registration priority for students pursuing a second baccalaureate is that of an unclassified graduate student.  A second bachelor’s degree cannot be awarded in the same major as the first bachelor's degree or 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 OR
  2. the year they entered Sacramento State OR
  3. the year they graduate from Sacramento State

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 accredited1 institution is not to be considered an interruption, providing the above attendance criteria are met and the absence does not exceed two years.2

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 include the Associations of Colleges and Schools of the New England, 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.1 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. 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

Graduation and Degree Advising Office
Office of the University Registrar
Lassen Hall, Room 2000
(916) 278-1000

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 semester prior to graduation once they have completed a minimum of 85 units. Refer to the Graduation and Degree Advising Office Graduation Website, for filing procedures and timelines. Notification via email is sent when the graduation evaluation is completed by the Graduation and Degree Advising Office. Graduating seniors may contact the Degree advisors in the Office of the University Registrar to discuss their Graduation Evaluation and any remaining degree requirements.

Posting of Degrees

After grades become available for the semester of requested graduation, the Graduation and Degree Advising 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 final semester grades become available. 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 graduation date. Students who have not completed all requirements will be notified by email and should contact the Degree Evaluations Office for assistance in developing plans for degree completion. Degree Advisors 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, or the student has applied for and has been admitted to Sacramento State as a graduate student. Students may change their graduation date on their graduation application via their Student Center or by completing a Bachelor's Degree Date Change form available online at the Student Service Center.
  • 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 general education courses must be approved through the Degree Evaluations Office. Approval for graduation in-absentia will hold catalog requirements and degree candidacy for one year.