Master's Degree Requirements

Master's degree requirements vary according to the discipline of study and degree sought. Though the minimum requirements for a 30-unit master's degree program are indicated below, you should also refer to the appropriate academic program information for the requirements specific to your degree objective.

Continuous enrollment is required. Please review the Graduate Education Policies pages for more information on this requirement. You must complete all requirements for a master's degree within the time limit specified by your department, either five or seven years from the end of the semester of enrollment in the oldest course on the approved program. You must also maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average in each of the following three categories:

  • All coursework taken at any accredited institution subsequent to admission to the master's program
  • All coursework taken at California State University, Chico subsequent to admission to the program
  • All courses taken in fulfillment of your approved program
  1. Development and completion of an approved program of at least 30 semester units of postbaccalaureate 400/500/600-level courses as follows:
    • At least 18 units in the program discipline.
    • At least 18 of the units required for the degree in stand-alone 600-level courses (those not cross-listed with 400/500-level courses). In programs requiring more than 30 units, at least 60 percent of the units required for the degree must be in stand-alone 600-level courses.
    • At the discretion of the academic program, a maximum of 30 percent of the units counted toward the degree requirements may be special session credit earned in non-matriculated status combined with all transfer coursework. This applies to special session credit earned through Open University, or in courses offered for academic credit through Professional & Continuing Education. Correspondence courses and University of California Extension coursework are not acceptable for transfer.
    • Not more than a total of 10 units of Independent Study (697), Comprehensive Examination (696), and Master's Study (699) combined; not more than 3 units of Comprehensive Examination (696) or 6 units of Master's Study (699).
    • Not more than 10 units graded CR/NC; no courses in the major department graded CR/NC, with the exceptions of Independent Study (697), Comprehensive Examination (696), Master's Study (699), and courses offered CR/NC only.
    • For students not enrolled in a blended program, any course to be counted toward a master's degree program may not have been counted toward any previous degree at any institution. Further, it must be acceptable for graduate credit by the discipline offering the course (i.e., a 400/500/600-level course that is not acceptable for a master's degree in its home department cannot be counted toward a master's degree in another discipline).
    • The program must be planned in consultation with the graduate coordinator and your graduate advisory committee. A Master's Degree Program Plan should be submitted to Graduate Studies early in the program.
  2. Completion and final approval of one of the following, as specified by the department:
    • Master's Study (699 enrollment), whether thesis or project, as specified by your advisory committee: Enrollment is required in a minimum of one unit and a maximum of six units of Master's Study (699). You must submit to Graduate Studies either your thesis or, if you have a terminal project, the written component or description of your project as well as any media components which will be cataloged by, and housed in, the library (e.g., videos, etc.). An oral defense of the thesis or project is required as part of a 699 enrollment.
    • Comprehensive Examination (written or oral) in the field of study, with a written report prepared by the examining committee describing your examination and performance: The report will be sent to Graduate Studies no later than three weeks prior to the date of your expected graduation and will be made available to you by the graduate advisory committee chair.
    • Comprehensive Examination and Supplementary Component (research paper, professional paper, etc.) in the field of study: The examining committee will prepare a written report describing your examination and performance and will send it to Graduate Studies no later than three weeks prior to the date of your expected graduation. The report is to be made available to you by the graduate advisory committee chair.
  3. Approval of the Graduate Council on behalf of the faculty of the University.

Graduate Requirement in Writing Proficiency

All students must demonstrate competency in writing skills as a requirement for graduation. Each department has developed a method of assuring that its students have adequate writing skills. Refer to the "Graduate Requirement in Writing Proficiency" section of individual master's degree program descriptions for specific information.

Master's Degree Programs and Options

The master's degrees and options offered by Chico State encompass a broad spectrum of liberal arts, sciences, and professional fields. Descriptions and requirements for each degree can be found in the Academic Programs section.

Please note that no applicants will be accepted to the following master’s programs because admissions have been suspended indefinitely:

  • MA in Recreation Administration
  • MS in Accountancy
  • MS in Botany
  • MS in Mathematics Education
  • MFA in Art

Postbaccalaureate Certificate Programs

Chico State offers the following postbaccalaureate certificate programs that may be completed as independent objectives or in conjunction with a master's degree program.


Program under review and revision.

Fellowships and Assistantships

Graduate Studies currently administers the Graduate Equity Fellowship Program for underserved master's degree students. The program is designed to encourage students to enter doctoral programs and provides fellows with a stipend and a research assistantship with a faculty mentor.

Graduate Studies also administers the California Pre-Doctoral Program and the Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program. The California Pre-Doctoral Program provides funds for selected upper-division and graduate students to participate in scholarly activities and visit doctoral-granting institutions to explore opportunities for doctoral study. The Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program provides loans for students to complete doctoral study in disciplines of particular interest and relevance to the California State University, with forgiveness of the loans at a rate of 20 percent for each year of full-time teaching in the CSU after they complete the doctorate. Check with Graduate Studies or contact a campus coordinator for information and application. 

Many master's programs also have Graduate Assistant or Teaching Associate positions available for qualified master's students. Check with your graduate coordinator to learn more about these options and their availability for your discipline.