Special Major (Graduate)

Graduate Program

The Special Major for the Master’s degree provides an alternative for superior students whose special needs and interests cannot adequately be met by any one of the existing master’s degree programs of the University. The student may earn a Master of Arts or a Master of Science, as appropriate to the department in which the culminating experience requirement is completed. The special major is a coherent program directed towards a clear theme, not available within an existing graduate major. The courses are chosen from two or more departments and may bridge more than one college within the University. The courses must be carefully selected for their correlation and clear applicability to the objective of the unique major being proposed. The proposed program must be compatible with the objectives of the University and supportable by courses already offered within the degree programs and by the expertise of the faculty members.


The Special Major program is restricted to superior graduate students who are eligible for admission to classified standing in one of the regular master’s degree programs of the University.

Applicants must present evidence of overall undergraduate grade point averages of 3.0 and 3.0 in the last 60 semester units taken.

Courses taken to fulfill prerequisite requirements must be completed with a minimum GPA of 3.5, and they may not be counted toward the degree requirements.

Admission Requirements

Students may apply to the University as unclassified graduate students or directly into a Special Major program.

A Special Major application with department approvals must be submitted no later than the end of the first semester of attendance.

The applicant will need to obtain the assistance and approval of three or more faculty advisors. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the Special Major, students are required to obtain the assistance and concurrence of faculty advisors from the key instructional units listed in the Program of Study. Obtain the detailed Graduate Special Major guidelines from the Office of Graduate Studies, River Front Center 206, (916) 278-6470. Prepare the program in consultation with the faculty committee.

Advancement to Candidacy

Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure may begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

  • removed any deficiencies in admission requirements;
  • completed at least 12 units of 200-level courses with a minimum 3.0 GPA; and
  • taken the Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG) or taken a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento or secured approval for a WPG waiver.

Master of Arts/Master of Science – Special Major

Minimum upper division and graduate level units required: 30

  • At least 18 units must be in regularly established lecture or seminar courses at the 200 level (not to include 299 courses).
  • No more than six units may be in Independent Study (299 or similar courses).
  • No more than six units shall be in any one or in any combination of:
    1. approved extension credit;
    2. transfer credit, for work carrying graduate degree residence credit at another accredited institution. No more than half the units may be in any one department.