Bachelor's Degree Requirements

Basic Graduation Requirements

There are nine basic graduation requirements that all students must meet in order to earn a bachelor's degree from California State University, Chico. These requirements provide the framework within which you develop your academic program. The more you understand your progress toward meeting these requirements and relate them to the many programs available to you, the better your chance of creating an exciting educational experience and avoiding errors that may delay graduation. You are responsible for meeting all requirements, though assistance is available from faculty advisors assigned through your major department, Graduation Advising, and Academic Advising Programs.

Plan your degree program carefully and review it frequently with your academic advisor. The basic graduation requirements are:

1. Total Units

  • Bachelor of Arts Degree
    • 120 units
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree
    • 120 units
  • Bachelor of Science Degree
    • 120 units
  • Bachelor of Science Degree in engineering
    • 128 units

Note: A maximum of 70 semester (105 quarter) units from community colleges may be applied to the total units.

2. Upper-Division Units

You must pass a minimum of 39 units of upper-division coursework (Chico State courses numbered 300 and above). Of these 39, a minimum of 12 units must be in the major for a BA degree or 18 in the major for a BS or BFA degree. Enrollment in upper-division courses is normally restricted to students with junior, senior, or graduate standing. 

3. Residence Units

You must complete a minimum of 30 units in residence at Chico State. At least 24 of the 30 units must be in upper-division coursework (numbered 300 or above), and 12 of the 30 must be in the major. At least 9 of the 48 units required for General Education must also be taken in residence at Chico State.

Chico State summer/special session classes, including Open University course work, generate residence credit. General extension courses do not. No more than 24 units of Open University and 24 units of extension credit will count towards the bachelor's degree.

4. General Education

You are required to take 48 units of a prescribed General Education program. The 48 units are counted as part of the total unit requirement. See General Education for details. At least 9 of the 48 units required for General Education must also be taken in residence at Chico State.

5. Diversity

You must complete a minimum of two courses that focus primarily on cultural diversity. At least one course must be in U.S. Diversity and at least one in Global Cultures.  

US Diversity

You must complete at least one course that focuses on and contextualizes the experiences of one or more groups found in the U.S. that are distinct from the dominant U.S. culture.

See U.S. Diversity Course Requirements for a complete listing of applicable courses. Some courses used to satisfy this requirement also may be counted toward the 48-unit General Education requirement. Courses from other institutions which meet the intent of this requirement will be accepted.

Global Cultures

You must complete at least one course that focuses on non-U.S. culture(s) distinct from the dominant U.S. and European experience.

See Global Cultures Studies Course Requirements for a complete listing of applicable courses. Some courses used to satisfy this requirement also may be counted toward the 48-unit General Education requirement. Courses from other institutions which meet the intent of this requirement will be accepted.

6. U.S. History, Constitution, and American Ideals

You must demonstrate competence in your understanding of the Constitution of the United States, of U.S. history, including the study of U.S. institutions and ideals, and of the principles of California state and local government. Competence may be demonstrated either by passing examinations or completing appropriate coursework in the History Department and Political Science and Criminal Justice Department. If you are a transfer student, you may have completed these requirements at the school you previously attended; if so, your transfer credit summary will certify completion. Direct your questions regarding transfer credit for this requirement to Graduation Advising.

The U.S. history portion of the requirement may be fulfilled by HIST 130 (or an equivalent transfer course), or by a challenge exam. The latter is administered by the Department of History once each semester during the first three weeks of classes. Details may be obtained from that department. A passing grade not only meets part of the requirements but also carries 3 units of lower-division credit toward graduation.

The Constitution and Ideals (including California state and local government) portion of the requirement may be fulfilled by POLS 155 (or an equivalent transfer course), or by a challenge exam. The latter is administered by the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice on the second Thursday of each fall and spring semester. Details may be obtained from that department. A passing grade not only meets part of the requirement but also carries 3 units of lower-division credit toward graduation. If you have completed the requirement in the Constitution of the United States, but not the requirement in California state and local government, you should take POLS 402, or see Graduation Advising for other options. A special California state and local government exam is also administered by the department for students who wish to demonstrate competence with or without earning credit. See the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice for details.

7. Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning and Writing Requirements

You must demonstrate competence in your use of writing and mathematics/quantitative reasoning.

To satisfy the University's Writing Across the Curriculum (EM 17-009) requirement, you must complete a GE Written Communication (A2) course with a grade of C- or higher, and a Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GW) course in your major with a grade of C- or higher. You also must complete two additional Writing (W) courses.

To satisfy the University's mathematics/quantitative reasoning requirement, you must pass a GE Quantitative Reasoning (B4) course with a grade of C- or higher.

See Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning and Writing Requirements for more information.

8. An Approved Major

You must complete an approved major program. Major program requirements are described fully in the University Catalog

9. Grade Point Average

You must attain at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average that includes both transfer and Chico State work, at least a 2.0 in courses required for the major, and at least 2.0 in all work taken at Chico State. Some majors may have additional grade point average requirements. They are described in each major program description.

Exception and Waivers of Academic Policy

Exceptions to the University's academic policies will be considered only by petitioning the department office in the case of major requirements or Graduation Advising for University requirements. The latter petitions may require departmental, college, and administrative approval and will be considered only during the student's last semester before graduation. Direct your questions to Graduation Advising.

How to Apply for Your Bachelor's Degree

Congratulations on arriving at this point in your academic career! Please note the following important information as you prepare for graduation.

Steps to Take to Graduate

  1. Make sure you have declared all majors and minors you intend to complete and dropped any you do not intend to complete. You can review your declared majors and minors on your degree progress report, through your Student Center on your Portal account.
  2. Complete the online graduation application. The graduation application includes a filing fee. If you have any questions, please contact Graduation Advising at 530-898-5957.
  3. Meet with your faculty advisor to review your progress towards completion of your major(s).
  4. Meet with your faculty advisor to review your progress towards completion of your minor(s).
  5. Take care of any debts you owe to the University.
  6. Register to participate in the spring commencement ceremony, if desired.

Final Graduation Review

The University will review your progress toward completion of the degree and send you a notice via your Wildcat email account regarding your remaining requirements. (Note filing deadlines below). If you meet all degree requirements, the University will order and mail your diploma. If you do not meet all the requirements you will be sent a non-qualifying letter via your Wildcat email.

Substitutions

Any changes that need to be made to your major(s) or minor(s) must be approved by your department advisor. This approval must then be sent to Graduation Advising from your department advisor. These substitutions are submitted electronically.

Your Degree Progress Report

Your degree progress report is an official document found on your Student Center that outlines all remaining degree requirements. The degree progress report includes:

  • Total Units which include:
    • Upper-division units
    • Residence units
  • General Education
  • General graduation requirements
  • Major and minor (if applicable) requirements
  • Grade point deficiencies

Filing Deadlines

To graduate at the end of: Your Deadline is:
Spring Semester May 15 of previous year
Summer term August 15 of previous year
Fall Semester December 15 of previous year

Filing Fees

Type of Request Amount You Pay
Graduation fee $68
Late fee $10
Refiling fee $8
Diploma replacement fee $12

Note: Fee amounts are subject to change.

Graduation Cycles

The University has three graduation cycles and official graduation dates that coincide with the end of our three terms: summer, fall, and spring. To qualify for graduation for any given term, you must fully complete all degree requirements by the official graduation date.

Graduate Cycle Complete All Requirements By:
Summer Semester August 31
Fall Semester December 31
Spring Semester May 31

If you plan to complete coursework in your last term at another college or university, it must be finished in accordance with these dates. To qualify for graduation for any given term, you must fully complete all degree requirements, including applying for your bachelor's degree, by the official graduation date.

Spring Commencement Ceremony

Commencement occurs in May. Commencement ceremonies accommodate students graduating in spring, summer, or fall, as well as those who graduated the preceding fall and summer terms if they did not already participate in a prior ceremony. For information on how to participate in the commencement ceremony, please check the commencement website.

Participation in formal commencement is not a guarantee that you have officially graduated. You will graduate only when you follow all steps outlined here and meet all degree requirements.

Changing Your Date of Graduation or Not Qualifying for Graduation

If you do not fully complete all degree requirements, Graduation Advising will e-mail you a non-qualifying notification. If you need to change your date of graduation or do not meet degree requirements for the semester in which you applied to graduate, you need to re-file for graduation by submitting a new graduation application and paying the refiling fee. If you are refiling after more than one year, you will be charged a late fee.

Multiple Majors

Upon completion of all degree requirements, you will receive one of the following degrees: Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). If you complete two or more majors within the same degree (BA, BS, or BFA), then all majors will appear on a single diploma. If you complete two or more majors that lead to different degrees, each degree, with all majors and options leading to that degree are listed on separate diplomas.

Honors in General Education and Honors in the Major

If you are graduating with Honors in General Education and/or honors in your major, please check with an Honors Program advisor for approval procedures.

Debts Owed the University

You will not graduate if you owe money to the University. Be sure to check with departments to learn if you owe money for equipment, books, fines, or other fees.

Misspelled Names and Incorrect Addresses

The graduation application includes a line that states "You may make minimal changes to the name that exists below. If you need to make a legal name change contact the Office of the Registrar. If you do not update the application correctly and you want the diploma corrected, you will need to order a replacement diploma, including a $12 fee and a legible diploma order form.

The application also lists a location to send the diploma 12 weeks after the semester has ended. At any point before the diploma is ordered you can change this address in your Student Center by changing the diploma address as well as the permanent address.

If we do not receive an accurate diploma address and the diploma is not received, students will have to submit a diploma order form, including a $12 replacement fee and the new address.

Your Diploma

Diplomas are mailed approximately 10-12 weeks after each official graduation date. Included on your diploma are:

  • Degree (BA, BS or BFA)
  • Major and option, if applicable
  • Date of graduation
  • Honors, if applicable

If you have multiple majors with the same degree (BA, BS, or BFA), all majors will appear on your diploma. Please note that minors, major patterns, emphasis and certificates earned do not appear on your diploma.

Degree Verification

An official transcript of your permanent record is the most complete document of your academic history at Chico State. It indicates all degrees, majors and options within the major, minors, certificates, and honors awarded. Your official transcript is available from Student Records and Registration. Once your degree and major(s) have been posted to your official academic record, no changes can be made. Grades may not be changed, retroactive withdrawals or academic renewal will not be allowed, nor will Incomplete grades be changed. If you have an Incomplete grade in a class that is not required for graduation that you plan to complete, you must complete the class by your date of graduation.

Minors

Completion of a minor may be a requirement for some major programs; check with your major advisor. Usually, a minor is not a graduation requirement; however, completing one may be a useful addition to your academic program. The number and type of units required for a minor are specified in the University Catalog. Minors range from 18 to 30 semester units; at least 6 units must be in upper-division courses (those numbered 300 or above). All courses comprising a minor must be taken for a letter grade, except for those courses graded CR/NC only. A cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher is required in all courses applicable to a minor. General Education courses required for a minor may count for both General Education and the minor. There is no residence requirement for completion of a minor. An academic department may approve completion of all minor requirements based on equivalent coursework transferred from other accredited institutions.

Declaring and Changing Academic Programs

Plan Change Forms for declaring, changing, or adding an undergraduate major, major option, or minor prior to the time you apply for graduation are available online.

Requirements for a Second Bachelor's Degree

Graduation requirements for a second bachelor's degree are the same as those for the first:

  • 30 units in residence at Chico State subsequent to the first degree (even if it was earned at Chico State), 24 of which must be upper-division, and 12 of which must be in the major of the second degree;
  • All courses required for the major, including the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) course; in your major with a grade of C- or higher; and
  • A 2.0 GPA for all Chico State, cumulative, and major coursework comprising the second bachelor's degree. Coursework used to meet requirements for the first degree may be applied to the second major with departmental approval.

Students whose first degree was earned at a regionally-accredited institution will not be held to additional General Education or U.S. History, Constitution, American Ideals requirements. Students whose first degree was earned at an institution that was not regionally-accredited or was outside the United States may have to complete General Education courses that shall, at a minimum, include English composition/language arts; two courses from mathematics, life, and/or physical science; two courses from humanities and fine arts; and two courses from behavioral and social sciences. U.S. Diversity and Global Cultures requirements shall be waived if, as part of the first degree, the student satisfied the minimum humanities and behavioral and social sciences areas. Students may be required to meet all or part of the two-course U.S. History, Constitution, and American Ideals requirement. The upper-division Pathway requirement is waived.

If you have questions or need to know your status towards the second bachelor's degree, consult Graduation Advising, SSC 110, during your first semester of enrollment.

Election of Graduation Requirements and Your Catalog Rights

As long as you maintain continuous attendance at Chico State or a combination of CSU campuses and California Community Colleges (CCC), your catalog rights are protected according to the following regulations:

You may elect to meet the graduation requirements in effect

  1. at the time you began your college program at any one of the California State University campuses or California community colleges,
  2. when you entered the CSU campus from which you intend to graduate, or
  3. at the time you graduate from a campus of the California State University.

Continuous attendance is defined as "regular attendance....one regular semester or two regular quarters per each calendar year." Once you have established your "catalog rights," your absence related to an approved educational leave or for attendance at another accredited institution of higher learning shall not be considered an interruption, providing the absence does not exceed two years.

If you are following an earlier version of a program in which your department has discontinued or modified required courses, the department may authorize appropriate substitutions.

If while enrolled you declare or change your major, major option, or minor, you should normally expect to follow the requirements

  1. in effect at the time of the declaration or change; or
  2. in effect when you file for graduation. For details see your advisor.

Whether you choose option 1 or 2 concerning your major, major option, or minor requirements, you may continue to follow the University, General Education, and Mathematics and Writing Requirements for which you claim "catalog rights" as defined above.

Direct your questions regarding election of graduation requirements to Graduation Advising.

Courses in Excess of Bachelor's Degree Requirements

If you take coursework in your final undergraduate semester that is not required for your degree, it may possibly count toward a credential or master's degree. Approval for credential credit must come from the School of Education. If you seek credit toward a master's degree, you must obtain approval from the Office of Graduate Studies before the end of your last undergraduate semester. This is a local policy and other agencies or schools are not obliged to accept undergraduate units for postbaccalaureate credit.


This information is subject to change. For the most up-to-date information check with Graduation Advising.