Jul 21, 2024  
2022-2023 University Catalog 
2022-2023 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Studies - General Information

Administration of Graduate Programs

The Associate Vice President (AVP) for Academic Programs and his or her delegate, the Director for Graduate Studies are responsible for leadership and coordination of graduate programs. The Executive and Extended Graduate Councils advises the Director for Graduate Studies in all matters of the university’s graduate and post-baccalaureate programs. It also addresses issues that affect programs and students and serves as an advisory body to the administration in setting policies.

Each college program coordinator or director is responsible for establishing clear implementation procedures for individual programs and for administering those consistently and fairly in a manner that agrees with the Graduate Council and university policies. Autonomy within programs and colleges is preserved while overall policies and standards of excellence are maintained at a consistent level throughout the university. In addition, the larger programs have graduate committees that set specific program policies and standards, review student selection and academic progress, develop curriculum, and provide general guidance concerning program matters.

College graduate program directors/coordinators and department program coordinators regularly provide academic advising, oversee academic standards, and assist students. They are responsible for monitoring program quality. They approve student programs and petitions, schedule courses, coordinate faculty assignments, and review curriculum.

For more information contact the Office of Graduate Studies, Building 121, Graduate Studies Analyst, (909) 869-3331.

Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Admissions

Application Procedures

All graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants (e.g., doctorate, master’s degree applicants, those seeking credentials, and those interested in taking graduate level courses for personal or professional growth) must file a complete graduate/postbaccalaureate application for admission. Applicants seeking a second bachelor’s degree should submit the undergraduate application for admission. Applicants who complete undergraduate degree requirements at Cal Poly Pomona and graduate the preceding term are also required to complete and submit an application and the $70 nonrefundable application fee. All applicants should submit their applications through the Cal State Apply system at https://www2.calstate.edu/apply.  The Cal State Apply system allows simultaneous applications to various programs within the CSU system, but only to one degree per campus.

Postbaccalaureate Standing

For admission to postbaccalaureate standing, a student must:

  1. hold an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association or have completed equivalent academic preparation as determined by an appropriate campus authority;
  2. have attained a grade point average of at least 2.5 (4.0 A) in the last 60 semester units (90 quarter units) attempted; and
  3. have been in good standing at the last college attended.

If an applicant meets the minimum requirements for graduate and post-baccalaureate studies, he/she will be considered for admission in one of the following categories:

Graduate Classified

To pursue a graduate degree, applicants are required to fulfill all of the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, prescribed by the campus; or

Graduate Conditionally Classified

A person may be admitted to a graduate degree or credential program in this category if, in the opinion of appropriate campus authority, he/she can remedy deficiencies by additional coursework but otherwise satisfies all other university requirements for admission. All prerequisites must be specified by the admitting department at the time of student admission. Academic departments are responsible for tracking conditionally admitted students and must report their academic progress to the Financial-Aid and the Graduate Studies Office via a memo on a term basis. Students admitted conditionally will not be allowed to concurrently register for graduate courses that are required for the completion of their projected graduate or professional program. To comply with both existing federal regulations and CSU system policy, conditionally admitted students’ financial aid is limited to private loans. Once all deficiencies are resolved and unconditional status is granted by Cal Poly Pomona, students may be eligible for federal and state aid. Conditional admission does not guarantee unconditional admission to a program.

Post-Baccalaureate Classified (e.g. admission to an education credential program) 

Persons wishing to enroll in a credential or certificate program will be required to satisfy additional professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, prescribed by the campus.

Master’s Degree

Conditional Status Admission

Students eligible for admission to a California State University campus in the undeclared or conditional master’s degree standing may be admitted to an authorized master’s degree curriculum of the campus as unconditional master’s students if they satisfactorily meet the professional, personal, scholastic, or other standards for admission to the master’s degree curriculum, including qualifying examinations required by appropriate campus authority. Only those applicants who show promise of success and fitness will be admitted to the master’s degree curricula. Graduation Writing Test requirements may or may not be satisfied.

Limitations on Admissions

The admission of postbaccalaureate students lacking degree or credential objectives may be limited or suspended because of limitations in facilities or staff. Doctorate, master’s degree or credential programs may be limited in enrollment whenever the lack of facilities and/or staff warrants.

Re-Enrollment of Continuing Postbaccalaureate Students

Graduate students who complete a degree objective must complete a new graduate application and pay the admissions fee if they wish to continue taking courses at this university.

Reapplication After Failure to Enroll

Applicants who fail to register for the semester for which they have been accepted will have their admission eligibility canceled. A new application must then be filed, and admission requirements existing for the term of the new application must be met.

All transcripts on file for students who apply but do not attend are kept for two years if the student so requests. These transcripts may be used for admission during that period. However, transcripts of any additional work completed since the original transcripts were filed must be requested by the applicant from the college(s) attended as part of the new application procedure.

Former Students

Former students returning to the university after an absence of more than one semester in a calendar year must file a complete application for admission and pay the application fee. Former students absent for five or more years should request official transcripts from all institutions to be sent to the Admissions Office.

Admission From Non-Accredited Schools

Applicants who are graduates of non-accredited schools but show evidence of unusual promise and superior background may petition the department concerned for conditional graduate student status and if the petition is granted, may proceed in the graduate program.

Foreign Applicants

Applicants from foreign countries should contact the Office of Admissions at least one year in advance of the semester in which they seek admission so that they can supply all required materials.

Tests and Examinations

English Language Proficiency

All graduate and postbaccalaureate applications whose native language is not English and who hold a bachelor’s degree from a college or university where the principal language of instruction was not English must demonstrate competence in English. Applicants must request official results of the Test of English as a Foreign language (TOEFL) to be mailed directly to the Admissions Office prior to admission. The TOEFL score requirement varies by department. A minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based)/213 (computer-based), or 80 on Internet-Based *TOEFL is required for all programs, except for MBA and for Urban and Regional Planning and Public Administration that require a score of 580 (paper-based)/237 (computer-based), or 92-93 on Internet-Based TOEFL, and English that requires a score of 600 (paper-based)/250 (computer-based), or 100 on Internet-Based TOEFL. The essay portion is mandatory in certain programs.

*The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an acceptable measure of English language proficiency. The University requires a minimum score of 6.5 on IELTS. However, applicants should contact their Graduate Coordinator in their intended major as IELTS minimum scores may be higher for certain programs.  

Foreign nationals who are not graduates of Cal Poly Pomona will be accepted as graduate students only if they hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution in the United States or Canada or have comparable academic credentials from a foreign country. The admission of international students to graduate status may be limited or suspended because of facility or staff limitations.

*For Fall 2022 admissions, the University will accept Duolingo in lieu of TOEFL or IELTS.

GRE and GMAT Test Requirements

Some departments require new graduate students enrolling at this university with a degree objective to take the General and/or Subject Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) before admission.

Some departments also may require the Subject Test of the Graduate Record Examination in their subject matter areas. Other departments require a locally developed qualification examination. Applicants can check in the corresponding websites of the program they are applying to or Cal State Apply for GRE or GMAT requirements. 

*For academic year 2022-2023, the GRE and GMAT will not be required. 

Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Scholastic Requirements

Standards of Graduate Study

Graduate study deals with more complex ideas and demands more sophisticated techniques, searching analysis, creative thinking, and time than undergraduate study. The research required is extensive in both primary and secondary sources and a high quality of writing is expected.

Careful and prompt attention to required procedures should be followed in pursuing a master’s graduate degree program to prevent unnecessary confusion and delay. Although advisory services are provided to assist students, students alone are responsible for following the procedures and completing the steps required in a program. Failure of an advisor to remind a student of a requirement or deadline date is not acceptable as a basis for waiver of the requirement. Requirements for advanced degrees, both procedural and substantive, may be waived only upon a written request of the student and/or committee concerned and approved by the Graduate Coordinator, and by the academic college dean, if required by college policy. Petition forms are available in department offices and in the Graduate Studies Office of Academic Programs. 

Students who wish to enroll in postgraduate courses before their transcripts or test scores have been transmitted to the department concerned may receive unofficial advisement by making an appointment with a graduate advisor at the appropriate department or school office. If the students bring their own copies of transcripts with them to the conference, the advisor can make specific suggestions, but the advisor can make no formal decisions on the basis of hand-carried transcripts.

Requirements for Master’s Degrees

Graduate programs are based upon adequate preparation at the undergraduate level. Students who plan to become candidates for a master’s degree must hold a bachelor’s degree substantially equivalent to that of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in the discipline in which they intend to do their advanced work, or they must be prepared to undertake additional work to make up any deficiency.

Students seeking a master’s degree at this university will submit an acceptable thesis, or project, or successfully pass a comprehensive examination after advancement to candidacy. See “Advancement To Candidacy” section in this catalog.

General Requirements

The requirements for graduation depend upon the master’s degree program undertaken and upon the major field. The following requirements apply to all master’s degrees offered by the university:

  1. The program for the one-year master’s degree must consist of not fewer than 30 units in courses numbered 4000 and above (courses at the 3000 may be substituted upon graduate coordinator approval), with a minimum of 18 units of 5000 and 6000-level courses completed at the university consistent with departmental requirements. Master’s programs requiring a total of more than 32 units will require more than 18 units of 5000-6000 level courses.
  2. A total limit of 9 transfer and/or extension and/or units petitioned for graduate credit may be included as part of the student’s graduation requirements. 
  3. For lower division course work (1000-2000 level at this university), no graduate credit will be given.
  4. All 6000-6990 courses are open only to graduate students classified as unconditional.
  5. At least 21 units of upper-division and graduate-level offerings must be completed in residence at this university.
  6. Two-year master’s degrees may have higher unit requirements than specified above. See detailed information in the appropriate sections of this catalog.
  7. A minimum of 3.0 (B) average must be earned in all graduate work taken at this university while in postbaccalaureate standing and in degree programs. No course with a grade lower than “C” (2.0) may apply toward the fulfillment of degree requirements. All courses required for the degree with a grade of “F” must be repeated with a passing grade.
  8. A course may not be used for credit toward both a baccalaureate and a master’s degree.
  9. A thesis, a project, or a comprehensive examination is required in all programs.
  10. Culminating Experience units cannot be used to substitute for required or elective units.
  11. A favorable vote of the department, school, or center faculty is required before the degree may be conferred.
  12. A graduate student who expects to receive a degree at the end of any semester must submit an application online through BroncoDirect prior to the deadline listed in the academic calendar. The student must be enrolled in the university the semester he/she graduates. Degree requirements are outlined in departmental sections of this catalog. Students seeking a master’s degree will be held responsible for meeting requirements applicable to the program of their choice and for fulfilling general master’s degree requirements.
  13. The Graduation Writing Test requirement or waiver must be fulfilled before Advancement to Candidacy.
  14. A Report of Culminating Experience must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office during the semester of graduation. This report certifies that a graduate student has successfully completed all components of the Culminating Experience for the designated degree as specified in the Catalog. Culminating Experience units cannot be used to substitute for required nor elective units.

Determination of Graduation Requirements

Graduate students may decide to meet the degree requirements listed in the Cal Poly Pomona university catalog (1) at the time they take their first course as a conditional or unconditional student in that degree program; (2) at the time they graduate.

Graduate students who are not in attendance for more than a semester and do not have an approved leave of absence form on file, are considered to have broken enrollment status and must apply for readmission to return and continue their studies. Returning students must meet with a Graduate Program Coordinator for advisement on remaining degree requirements. Returning students who have more than six units left to complete their degree may elect to meet the degree requirements listed in the Cal Poly Pomona university catalog (1) at the time they take their first course after returning; or (2) at the time they graduate.

Returning Cal Poly Pomona graduate students can request to meet the degree requirements when last enrolled when the following conditions have been met: the student has satisfied or received a waiver the GWT requirement, and six or less units left to complete the degree. The student, must meet with a Graduate Program Coordinator and file:

  1. a graduate academic petition to be allowed to complete requirements on the curriculum being followed when last enrolled;
  2. if applicable, a plan to validate any outdated coursework;

If these two items are approved, the student shall meet the degree requirements listed in the Cal Poly Pomona university catalog at the time when last enrolled.

Whenever a student changes graduate objectives, while this action is not considered a break in enrollment status, the student may elect to meet the degree requirements listed in the Cal Poly Pomona university catalog (1) at the time the objective was changed; or (2) at the time of graduation.

Degree Program of Study (Contract)1

At the time students are admitted to a master’s degree curriculum, they should arrange with the advisor to prepare an official program. If they are admitted as unconditional graduate students, they should accomplish this step as soon as possible. A program must be prepared and submitted for approval no later than the end of the sixth week of the second semester of attendance.

Students who do not file graduate contracts prior to the completion of their second semester may have a hold placed on their registration. Students are reminded that completion of the graduate contract is required for advancement to candidacy, which is a prerequisite for many 6000-level courses related to the culminating experience, such as thesis/project research and writing. Additionally, it is not possible for the Evaluations Office to complete the graduation check or approve the graduation application if a graduate contract is not on file with the Registrar’s Office.

When the contract has been approved by the Graduate Studies, students are notified by email.

A graduate academic petition is to be filed electronically for deviations from the contract or catalog curriculum requirements. In order to be accepted, such a petition must be submitted by the student and reviewed and approved by the appropriate graduate coordinator, department Chair, and College Dean. The AVP for Academic Programs or the Director of Graduate Programs will consider each petition on an individual basis and will grant such approvals for deviation only with the approval of the appropriate graduate coordinator.

The program must meet the following specifications:

  1. It must comply with the general requirements outlined above and with departmental requirements listed in this catalog.
  2. The complete program may be chosen from within the offerings of the major department or it may include offerings drawn from other fields acceptable to the major advisor or committee. In developing the program, the student and advisor will seek to plan a meaningful pattern of courses focused upon the objectives of the major and the student. If the student has deficiencies or lacks prerequisites to enroll in certain courses necessary to a program, he/she will be expected to complete them in addition to the minimum requirements of the approved master’s degree program. Advisors will permit the use of already completed courses in a master’s degree program only if they clearly fit into the requirements of the student’s curriculum.
  3. No course in teaching methods or directed teaching may be included in a master’s degree program.
  4. No more than 6 semester units of credit for thesis or project may be included.
  5. The master’s degree program must be approved by the student’s departmental advisor and/or graduate coordinator, department chair, and college dean, and verified by the Graduate Studies analyst. The approved program is an official agreement between the institution and the student.
  6. Graduate students may not file for “Credit by Examination.”
  7. Work experience is not acceptable as fulfillment of any requirement.

    1The Master’s Degree Contract applies only to graduate students who are eligible and choose to graduate with a curriculum year 2021-2022 or earlier. Students eligible to graduate with a curriculum year 2022-2023 do not have to submit a contract and can follow their degree requirements in their degree progress report.

Culminating Experiences

a. Selection of Culminating Experience

In programs that allow students to choose from among more than one type of culminating experience, students shall select their culminating experience with guidance from their advisor before advancement to candidacy. Students may attempt the chosen culminating experience a maximum of two times. Once enrolled in a particular culminating experience, students may not switch to an alternative experience.

b. Writing Proficiency

Graduate study deals with more complex ideas and demands more sophisticated techniques, searching analysis, creative thinking, and time than undergraduate study. The research required is extensive in both primary and secondary sources and a high quality of writing is expected. Demonstration of advanced-level writing proficiency shall be completed through fulfillment of the Graduation Writing Test requirement before Advancement to Candidacy

c. Theses

A thesis is the written product of a systematic study of a significant problem. It identifies the problem, states the major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendation. The finished product evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation.

A thesis is distinguished by certain elements such as an introduction to the study, a review of the literature, a methodology section, results, summary, and recommendations for further research. There may be a difference between the elements found in a quantitative thesis versus those found in a non-quantitative (qualitative) thesis. The thesis committee will be most concerned with the manner in which the material is researched, organized, developed, and presented.

An oral defense of a thesis shall be required. It will include a presentation by the master’s candidate to the Thesis Committee. The Committee chair may approve oral defenses undertaken partly or wholly in mediated environments, including via conference call or on-line, provided that the defense takes place in “real time.” Any member of the University community may attend the defense. The oral defense shall be graded pass/fail. It shall be documented by a signed statement attesting to the outcome of the defense.

The composition, procedures, and other rules pertaining to Master’s thesis committees shall be governed by Senate referral AS-2468-145/AA.

The Master’s Thesis Committee provides guidance to students in the planning and execution of the thesis. The committee should be comprised of individuals with expertise directly related to the thesis research. The following guidelines are intended to promote a commonly accepted set of academic standards regarding the composition of the committee.

The term “Academic Unit” refers to either the academic department or the program in which the degree is offered.

If the Graduate Director/Coordinator does not hold a terminal degree in either the same area of the proposed thesis research or in a closely related field; the duties of the director/coordinator shall be delegated to a graduate committee of faculty, if one exists, or to a full-time tenured faculty member appointed by the head of the academic unit that offers the degree.

(1) Composition of Committee

a. The thesis committee shall be comprised of at least three members.

b. The thesis committee chair must hold a full time tenured or tenure track faculty appointment in the academic unit in which the student’s degree is offered.

c. The second member of the thesis committee must also be a tenure track, or tenured faculty member in the university. Faculty participants in the Early Retirement Program may serve as the second member of the thesis committee.

d. The third member of the thesis committee may come from outside the University. The member shall have at least a master’s degree or equivalent experience in the field or discipline under study as determined by the graduate director/coordinator.

e. The composition of the thesis committee is subject to exception through the process of petition and approval by the Graduate Director/Coordinator.

(2) Eligibility of Committee Members

a. Academic units may institute additional guidelines concerning faculty eligibility and selection beyond those included here. Students and their graduate advisor are responsible for complying with all guidelines.

(3) Terms of Service

a. All members of the committee must sign an agreement to serve as a member of the Master’s Thesis Committee.

b. It is the student’s responsibility to verify that the committee members can be available throughout the process

c. A signature on this agreement signifies full participation in the entire process, which may span more than one year.

d. It is the responsibility of both the student and the committee member to ensure that the committee member will be available throughout the process.

e. The graduate director/coordinator may require the reconstitution of a committee.

(4) Replacement of Committee Members Committee members may be replaced under circumstances such as:

a. A committee member resigns from the committee.

b. The committee member can no longer fulfill the guideline requirements.

c. The committee has become dysfunctional such that the student’s progress is obstructed.

d. There is evidence of unethical behavior on the part of a committee member.

A committee member may resign from the thesis committee at any time if he/she is no longer able to fulfill the duties of a committee member. Resignation from the committee shall be in writing, stating the reasons and the effective date, and delivered to the graduate director/coordinator who then shall inform all parties concerned as soon as possible. It is the student’s responsibility to find a suitable replacement in consultation with the committee chair and Graduate Director/Coordinator.

d. Projects

A project is a significant undertaking appropriate to the fine and applied arts or to professional fields, and to professional applications of other subjects. It evidences originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a rationale. It is described and summarized in a written abstract that includes the project’s significance, objectives, methodology and a conclusion or recommendation.

Types of projects may include but are not limited to:

  • A Creative Project: an original contribution to the verbal, visual, or performing arts. Examples include a music recital; a musical composition; an interactive multimedia project; a completed novel or play; a completed collection of short stories or poems; direction of a theatrical production; a gallery showing of works of art.
  • A Research Project: a project that contributes to the professions, by adding to technical/professional knowledge in the professional field. Examples include building a device; designing an experiment; a field study; a case study.
  • A Portfolio Project: a collection of new and re-envisioned work including elements of revision, reflection, analysis, and application of theoretical concepts and practical strategies. Material completed previous to the beginning of the culminating project must be re-evaluated

The Project Committee will be most concerned with the manner in which the material is researched, organized, developed, and presented. The written document describing the project shall be filed in the Library. In cases where the project is a manual or handbook, the project itself is placed in the appendix, while sections in the main body of the text are tailored to introduce, justify, and validate the study or creative effort.

An oral defense may be required, at the discretion of the program. If required, an oral defense of a project shall include a presentation by the master’s candidate to the Project Committee, and/or a period of questioning directed to the master’s candidate by the committee.

The composition, procedures, and other policies governing Master’s project committees shall be described in a separate referral to the Academic Senate. A minimum of two committee members is recommended for projects. Students should check with their department on project committee requirements.

Project/Thesis Enrollment

If a project or thesis is included in the degree program, the candidate may register for 6950 (project) or 6960 (thesis) only with approval of a professor in the major. Before registration for thesis, the candidate shall confer with the thesis advisor and have selected a thesis committee and a tentative subject. Each candidate registering for thesis or project is required to register each succeeding regular semester until the work is complete in order to receive faculty advisement and use of university facilities. However, total registration shall not exceed the number of units of thesis or project in the approved degree program. The candidate who has enrolled for the maximum number of units of thesis or project prior to completing the work should register for 6990 (Master’s Degree Continuation) to avoid break in residence. During any break in residence, either non-enrollment or leave of absence, a candidate may not use university facilities or receive faculty assistance. When a candidate has failed to maintain resident status through non-enrollment or leave of absence after commencing a thesis or project, readmission to the program will require departmental approval. Since passing the final oral exam is a part of the completion of projects and thesis in several disciplines, the graduate candidate must be enrolled the semester the oral exam is taken. A thesis or project in the official master’s degree program will carry not less than 1 nor more than 6 units of credit depending upon departmental policy. When the project or thesis has been completed, the committee has signed the approval page, and there has been library clearance of the project or thesis, the credit for course for 6950 or 6960 will be submitted by the professor to be recorded on the official transcript.

Guidelines for Master’s Project or Thesis Formatting

The Graduate Studies Office has established formatting guidelines for master’s projects and theses. Projects and theses are University Records, and as such, must conform to standardization in order to achieve consistency. It is your responsibility to check with your department and committee for the style manual required for your discipline. We encourage you to consult with your advisor and/or department graduate coordinator for current regulations, procedures, and deadlines concerning your project or thesis. You can review the project or thesis formatting guidelines at:


Submission Process for Projects and Theses

Deadline dates for submission of the thesis to the Graduate Office can be found in this publication and the graduate studies website. Projects (6950) must be completed on the same time schedule but may have separate departmental rules for approval and submission. Students must obtain approvals of their project or thesis through Docusign. The candidate must submit an electronic version of their project or thesis to the university library. Further information is contained in the project/thesis guidelines available from the Graduate Studies Office and website:


e. Comprehensive Exams

A comprehensive examination is an assessment of the student’s ability to integrate the knowledge of the area, show critical and independent thinking, and demonstrate a mastery of the subject matter. The results of the examination evidences independent thinking, appropriate organization, critical analysis, and accuracy of documentation. 12 Comprehensive exams test a student’s ability to think and write under a time constraint that parallels the demands student will face in their professional careers.

Departments that include the comprehensive exam as a culminating experience shall offer the exam at least once a year. Before administration of an exam, a minimum of two faculty shall evaluate the exam’s quality and adequacy for a culminating experience. A minimum of two faculty will evaluate the student’s responses.

Departments shall be responsible for developing and posting an implementation statement that includes the following elements:

• The format of the exam, written or oral, or some combination of the two.

• Frequency of offerings and length of the exam.

• The relative emphasis on breadth and depth of knowledge

• Procedures for students to prepare for the exam.

• Methods for development of the examination.

• Method of assessment of the examination.

• Grading system (letter grade or credit/no credit) and grading criteria.

• Options for retaking a portion of or the entire exam in those instances where the student does not pass the exam.

A comprehensive examination may be required in lieu of a thesis or project as a culminating experience for the master’s degree. When a comprehensive examination is an element in a candidate’s approved degree program, it must be completed satisfactorily before the candidate will be certified to receive a master’s degree.

The comprehensive examination is administered by a departmental graduate faculty committee under the leadership of the graduate coordinator or major professor. A candidate for the master’s degree at this university shall be permitted to take the comprehensive examination no more than two times. Failure to complete the examination satisfactorily the second time will result in termination of the candidate’s master’s degree program and of further registration in the department in which the candidate is enrolled.

In some departments credit is given for successful completion of parts of the comprehensive examination. There may then be different criteria than stated here for full compliance. Candidates will be fully informed of any departmental variations in requirements.

Degree Progress Report

The Degree Progress Report (DPR) is a tool used by the Registrar’s Office that provides information about the completion status of degree requirements at Cal Poly Pomona. Graduation checks for all Master’s students whose curriculum year is 2022-2023 or later will be done automatically through the Degree Progress Report. Graduation checks for students whose curriculum year is prior to 2022-2023 is done through the student’s program of study (contract). The Degree Progress Report is available to students and academic advisors through BroncoDirect. Adjustments to the DPR can be manually corrected.

Advancement to Candidacy

Some type of culminating experience is required for each master’s degree. Acceptable culminating experiences include thesis, project or comprehensive examination. Individual departments permit the experience in one or more forms.

It is only upon the removal of all conditions, having an approved contract on file if the curriculum year is prior to 2022-2023, being in good academic standing (at least 3.0 GPA), completing all preparatory courses, and receiving a pass/waive on the GWT that the graduate student will be advanced to candidacy for his/her culminating experience for the master’s degree.

Time Limit and Recertification

The graduate degree program of not fewer than 30 units shall be completed within 7 years from the time the first course (including transfer courses) which applies to the degree requirements, is started. This time limit, at the option of the university, may be extended for students who pass a comprehensive examination in the entire subject field or who validate the outdated coursework by examination. The plan for validation of outdated coursework must be negotiated in consultation with the graduate coordinator and approved by the College Dean and the Associate Vice President for Academic Programs. Documentation of the approved plan must be placed in the student’s permanent file. Under no circumstances will the time limit be extended beyond 9 years. A maximum of nine (9) units may be recertified. Only Cal Poly Pomona coursework is eligible for recertification.


Candidates must be enrolled in the university during the semester in which they graduate.

An application for graduation must be submitted online through BroncoDirect prior to the deadline specified on the academic calendar. The graduation fee is paid through BroncoDirect or at the Cashier’s Office. This fee includes the diploma cost. Participation in the annual commencement exercises is not mandatory but is strongly recommended. Commencement ceremonies are held once a year, in May. Diplomas may be obtained from the Registrar’s Office. Verification that the master’s degree has been awarded may be secured through an official transcript, ordered from the Registrar’s Office.

Participation in Graduation Ceremonies

Students may participate in Spring Commencement ceremonies, if they have graduated or applied for graduation for the prior Fall term, current Spring term, or applied for graduation for the following Summer term. .

Research Compliance and Regulatory Affairs

Research involving either human subjects or vertebrate animals must be administered in a manner consistent with requirements of the University Policies and Procedures and applicable federal regulations. The Office of Research within the Division of Academic Affairs is charged with ensuring compliance and ethical review. The Compliance Associate can be reached at extension 4215 for more information pertaining to the requirements for training and completion of protocol applications to conduct such research.

Protection of Human Subjects Policy

University Policies and Procedures for the Protection of Human Subjects in research have been developed to comply with the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects and are specified in the University’s Federal-wide Assurance filed with the US Office of Human Research Protections. The University Committee having oversight of the use of human subjects in research is the Institutional Review Board (IRB), which has the responsibility to determine risk with regard to human subject research and to approve or not approve such research conducted at the University or under the sponsorship of the University or the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation. This approval must be obtained prior to the initiation of the research. Information and copies of the Policies and Procedures for the Protection of Human Subjects are available in the Research Office and at http://www.cpp.edu/~research/irb/index.shtml.

Concern for Animal Welfare

The University is committed to the proper care and use of vertebrate animals used in research and instruction on campus. The University Committee having oversight is the Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC), which has the responsibility to evaluate proposed uses of vertebrate animals and to approve or not approve such uses at the University or under the sponsorship of the University or the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation. Cal Poly Pomona has been accredited by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International, and retains an Assurance Statement with the Public Health Service of the National Institutes of Health. Any instances of improper treatment of vertebrate animals in teaching or research should be reported to the Office of Research. Information about policies and procedures concerning uses of vertebrate animals is available in the Research Office and at http://www.cpp.edu/~research/acuc/index.shtml.

Academic Policies

Maximum Unit Load

The maximum unit load for students working toward a graduate degree is 16 units per semester. Exceptions may be made by the advisor. A student must petition for permission to carry over 16 units in one semester. Maximum program limits will be waived only upon presentation of evidence of the student’s ability to complete successfully such a group of courses. Graduate and postbaccalaureate students are considered as full-time for most purposes, such as veteran’s benefits, when they are enrolled for 6 units. Upon recommendation of a student’s primary department/division/school and approval by the appropriate college dean, a student enrolled in any of the following department/division/school courses - 6910, 6940, 6950, 6960, 6970, and 8000 - may be certified as full-time with fewer than 6 units.

Graduate Enrollment Priorities

Departments with high graduate enrollments may assign priorities to students wishing to enroll in graduate-level courses. Applicants for a master’s degree who are in the last semester of residence have first priority; other unconditional graduate degree or credential students have second priority; conditional and undeclared graduate students have third priority. Undeclared postbaccalaureate students are admitted on a space available basis.

Minimum Grade Point Average

If a graduate student has attempted all the courses in an approved master’s degree program with less than a 3.0 (B) average in courses specified to complete the degree, with less than a 3.0 (B) average in graduate work at Cal Poly Pomona, or with less than a 3.0 average in all upper division and graduate work attempted while on graduate standing, the student’s major department may (1) terminate the program, or (2) require the student to take additional courses in an attempt to raise the program grade point average to the minimum 3.0. When the student’s major department recommends that he/she be allowed to do the latter, the additional courses selected must:

  1. Include courses at the 5000-6990 level and total not fewer than four semester units.
  2. Apply directly to the student’s master’s degree objective, although they need not be drawn from offerings in the student’s major department.
  3. Be new courses (courses previously completed but not originally listed in the master’s degree program may not be used).

If the student fails to earn the minimum 3.0 (B) grade point average on completion of the revised master’s degree program as outlined above, the program may be terminated without award of the master’s degree.  Graduate students may not use either the campus course repeat policy or academic renewal which apply only to undergraduate students.

Grades earned at another institution may not be used to offset grade point deficiencies in courses taken at this university.

Disqualification/Reinstatement for Graduate Students


The purpose of this policy is to establish the criteria for assignment of probationary and disqualification academic standings to postbaccalaureate students. The minimum requirements for academic probation and disqualification are established under Executive Order No. 1038, Sections 41300 and 41300.1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, and Chapter III, Sections 1 and 2 of the Standing Orders of the Board of Trustees of the California State University. Probation and disqualification criteria of post-baccalaureate and graduate students may not be less than those established for undergraduate students.

Academic Probation

A postbaccalaureate student shall be placed on Probation if at any time the cumulative grade point average in all postbaccalaureate level course work attempted or cumulative grade point average for postbaccalaureate course work attempted at Cal Poly Pomona falls below 3.0. The student shall be promptly notified in writing of their probation status.

The first time a postbaccalaureate student’s cumulative grade point average in either postbaccalaureate course work attempted at Cal Poly Pomona or for all postbaccalaureate course work attempted overall falls below 3.0 they shall be placed on academic probation, even in circumstances where their GPA falls below the Probation with Contract thresholds as described under section 3.0 of this policy.

A postbaccalaureate student shall be removed from academic probation when the cumulative grade point average in all postbaccalaureate course work attempted overall, and the Cal Poly Pomona cumulative grade point average is 3.0 or higher. The student shall be provided with any additional conditions for removal from probation and the circumstances that would lead to disqualification, should probation not be removed.

After the first occurrence of the GPA falling below 3.0, postbaccalaureate students may be placed on Probation with Contract without first being put on probation.

Probation with Contract and Academic Disqualification

A postbaccalaureate student will be assigned Probation with Contract status if:

a) After the completion of 8 semester units of postbaccalaureate work, the student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 2.3 for all postbaccalaureate work attempted at Cal Poly Pomona or for all postbaccalaureate work attempted overall.

 b) After the completion of 16 semester units of postbaccalaureate work, the student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 2.7 for all postbaccalaureate work attempted at Cal Poly Pomona or for postbaccalaureate work attempted overall.

c) After the completion of 24 semester units of postbaccalaureate work, the student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 2.9 for all postbaccalaureate work attempted at Cal Poly Pomona or for all postbaccalaureate work attempted overall.

A postbaccalaureate student who has Probation with Contract status will be permitted to attend at least one semester. These students shall be notified of their Probation with Contract standing before the beginning of the semester following the assignment of that academic standing. Students who have Probation with Contract standing at the beginning of a summer enrollment break shall be notified at least one month before the start of the fall term. The notification shall advise the student that the Probation with Contract is to be effective immediately. The notification shall include any conditions which, if met, will result in permission to continue in enrollment. Failure to notify students does not create the right of a student to continue enrollment.

Students who have Probation with Contract standing have the right to be considered for continued enrollment each term. To do so, the student must meet with their graduate coordinator AND maintain a term GPA of a 3.0 or better each subsequent term. Students on Probation with Contract may take no more than 13 units per term until their overall and Cal Poly Pomona grade point average is 3.0 or better. If students meet these criteria, they will be permitted to continue enrollment. If students do not meet these criteria, they will be academically disqualified.

Students can fall into Disqualification in two ways:

1). If students do not meet the term GPA of 3.0 or higher at the end of any term following their first Probation with Contract status, while they remain in Probation with Contract status.

 2) If, after a first Probation with Contract status, students successfully raise their CPP and Overall GPA above the Probation with Contract threshold, but then their GPA falls below the threshold in a subsequent term.

All academically disqualified postbaccalaureate students shall be notified of their disqualification before the beginning of the semester following the assignment of that academic standing. Students disqualified at the beginning of a summer enrollment break shall be notified at least one month before the start of the fall term. The disqualification notification shall advise the student that the disqualification is to be effective immediately*. Failure to notify students does not create the right of a student to continue enrollment. Students will not be allowed to attend the semester following academic disqualification.

Students who do not attend two semesters consecutively in one calendar year are considered to have broken continuous enrollment status.

Students have the right to appeal their eligibility to enroll by after Disqualification by contacting the Office of Graduate Studies. Only in extraordinary circumstances, will appeals be considered. A successful appeal request is considered a reinstatement. However, no reinstatement petition or advising contract is required. Students may not appeal a second disqualification. Students who are disqualified at the end of the spring semester shall have until the end of the following fall semester to appeal.

Upon initial disqualification, students may request consideration for reinstatement only after presentation to the university of satisfactory evidence that they have improved their chances of scholastic success. After reinstatement, students must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better each subsequent semester and may take no more than 13 units until the overall and Cal Poly Pomona grade point average is 3.0 or better.

All Academically Disqualified postbaccalaureate students shall be notified of their disqualification before the beginning of the semester following the assignment of that academic standing. Students disqualified at the beginning of a summer enrollment break shall be notified at least one month before the start of the fall term. The disqualification notification shall advise the student that the disqualification is effective immediately. The disqualification notification shall include any conditions which, if met, will result in permission to continue in enrollment. Failure to notify students does not create the right of a student to continue enrollment.

Postbaccalaureate and graduate students will normally be ineligible for reinstatement or readmission after a disqualification. However, in exceptional circumstances, a student may be allowed to petition for reinstatement or readmission after a disqualification.

Administrative-Academic Disqualification

A postbaccalaureate student may be placed on administrative-academic probation for any of the following reasons:

 a) Withdrawal from more than two-thirds of a program of study in two successive semester or in any three semesters. A student whose withdrawal is directly associated with a chronic or recurring medical condition or its treatment is not to be subject to Administrative Academic probation for such withdrawal.

b) Repeated failure to progress toward the stated degree objective or other program objective, including that resulting from assignment of 15 semester units of No Credit, when such failure appears to be due to circumstances within the control of the student.

c) Failure to comply, after due notice, with an academic requirement or regulation, as defined by campus policy, which is routine for all students or a defined group of students (example: failure to complete a required CSU or campus examination, failure to complete a required practicum, failure to comply with professional standards appropriate to the field of study, failure to complete a specified number of units as a condition for receiving student financial aid or making satisfactory progress in the academic program) .

When such action is taken, the student shall be notified in writing and shall be provided with the conditions for removal from probation and the circumstances that would lead to disqualification, should probation not be removed.

Administrative-Academic Disqualification

A student who has been placed on administrative-academic probation may be disqualified from further attendance if:

 a) The conditions for removal of administrative-academic probation are not met with in the period specified.

b) The student becomes subject to academic probation while on administrative academic probation.

c) The student becomes subject to administrative-academic probation for the same or similar reason for which they have been placed on administrative-academic probation previously, although not currently in such status.

When a student has been placed on administrative-academic disqualification they shall receive written notification including an explanation of the basis for the action.

In addition, the Office of Academic Programs may disqualify a student who at any time during enrollment has demonstrated behavior so contrary to the standards of the profession for which the student is preparing as to render him/her unfit for the profession. In such cases, disqualification will occur immediately upon notice to the student, which shall include an explanation of the basis for the action, and the campus may require the student to discontinue enrollment as of the specified date.


The university considers plagiarism a serious academic offense which subjects those engaging in the practice to severe disciplinary measures. Moreover, some forms of plagiarism, the use of purchased term papers and pirated computer software, have been considered so serious that the state and federal governments have enacted laws providing for criminal penalties for use, sale or other distribution of such materials. Students are, therefore, cautioned against this and all other forms of plagiarism.

Transfer Credit

If accepted by the faculty of the discipline involved, graduate credit (up to 9 units) from another accredited institution may be applied toward the master’s degree. The stipulations under “Time Limit” apply to transfer courses.

Extended University course work (up to 9 units) may be used to satisfy prerequisites or degree requirements when such work is acceptable to the department or school offering the master’s degree. See the appropriate sections for special regulations applying to professional master’s degrees (more than 30 units). A limit of 9 transfer, Extended University, and/or units petitioned for graduate credit may be included on a contract. Correspondence courses may not be used to satisfy degree requirements.

Concurrent Enrollment in Postbaccalaureate Programs

A student may not enroll for a bachelor’s and a master’s degree or for two master’s degrees concurrently. This does not apply to enrollment with the goal of obtaining a master’s degree and a credential at the same time or in a blended (4+1 bachelor’s and master’s) program. Qualified students may request to enroll in a credential program concurrently with a master’s degree at this university. For eligibility requirements, please refer to the appropriate program section in this catalog.

Changes in Objective

Examples of graduate changes are: (1) changing from one major field to another for the master’s degree; (2) changing from a certificate/credential objective to a master’s degree objective; (3) changing from a master’s degree objective to a certificate/credential objective; (4) changing from no objective to some stated objective listed in this catalog; (5) changing from one credential objective to a different credential objective; (6) changing from certificate objective to credential objective; (7) adding a master’s degree objective to a credential objective and vice versa; and (8) adding dual credential.

The evaluation of credits transferred to the university is based primarily upon the student’s objective. Thus, a change in objective may affect the acceptance of transfer credits. A student who wishes to change his/her master’s degree objective from that indicated on the original application must follow these procedures:

  1. Obtain a Petition to Change/Add Graduate Degree Objective from the Graduate Studies Office website. 
  2. Obtain the signature of the current graduate coordinator and the signature of the graduate coordinator, department chair, and College Dean of the department/college to which the student plans to transfer acknowledging approval of the request.

A student who discontinues working for a master’s degree in one department to undertake master’s work in another department shall replace the first master’s program by one in the new field. Degree credit may be transferred from the original program, but the transfer of credits must be approved by the new department and the Graduate Studies Office.

Students in a state-support master’s program who want to change to a CEU self-support master’s program and vice versa must submit a new graduate admissions application.  Only students going from a state-support to another state-support and from a self-support to another self-support master’s program may use the petition to change/add degree objective. 

To request a change in a credential program objective, credential students must follow the following procedure:

  1. Obtain a Petition to Change/Add Credential Objective from the Student Services Center or its website.
  2. Obtain the signature of the new credential program advisor and the current credential coordinator.
  3. Student must complete an oral interview with the new credential program advisor and attach signed oral interview form to petition (BCLAD candidates must show proof of attempting Spanish proficiency exam).
  4. Student is to bring petition with attached oral interview form back to the Student Services Center (5-228).
  5. The signature of the new department chair and college Dean will be obtained on behalf of the student by the education department. When complete, the form will be forwarded to the Registrar’s Office for implementation of the change.

Grading System

(see the Academic Policies - Grading System section for complete definitions) 

The university employs the following grading system for graduate courses:

  A Superior work, representing effective representation, unusual competence, and high skill.
  B Very good work, meeting full requirements for performance at the graduate level.
  C Adequate, meets minimum requirements of the course; acceptable for graduate credit, (2.0).
  D Minimally Acceptable Work; not acceptable for graduate contract work.
  F Unacceptable, below minimum requirements of graduate courses. CR/NC-Credit/No-Credit, see undergraduate section of catalog for definition.
  I Incomplete Authorized
  IC Incomplete Charged
  AU Audit (no credit)
  RP Report in Progress
  W Withdrawal
  WU Withdrawal Unauthorized
  RD Report Delayed
  CR Credit

At the discretion of the instructor, plus and minus (+/-) grading symbols may also be granted. The grade points associated with each grade are as follows:

  A = 4.0
A- = 3.7
B+ = 3.3
B = 3.0
B- = 2.7
C+ = 2.3

C  = 2.0
C- = 1.7
D+ = 1.3
D = 1.0
D- = 0.7
F = 0

I = 0
IC = 0
RP = 0
W = 0
WU = 0
AU= 0
RD = 0
CR = 0
NC = 0

Every course required for the degree requires a grade of “C” or higher to fulfill the requirements of the degree.* A “C-” grade or lower would not be acceptable and the course would have to be repeated.

*A CR grade earned in Spring 2020 will also fulfill the requirements of the contract.

The “RP” grade is approved for all university courses numbered 6900-6990. All “RP” symbols must be changed to letter grades within a one-year time-limit. The only exceptions are Project 6950 and Thesis 6960 which have two-year allowances. In any 6000 level course, if not completed within the allotted time, the student must re-enroll to receive credit.

Refer to the undergraduate section of the catalog for detailed definitions of grading and administrative symbols.

Under the provisions of Executive Order 1037, “Assignment of Grades and Grade Appeals,” and Cal Poly Pomona University’s “Statement of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Grievance Procedures,” students may appeal grades that they consider to be unfair. In the appeal process, however, it is a basic presumption that the grades assigned to a student are correct. Thus, the burden of proof rests with the student who is appealing. For specifics of the appeal procedure, students are referred to the Grade Appeal Policy

Repetition of Courses

A graduate or postbaccalaureate student may not file a repeated course form, but may repeat a course if a grade of “C-” or less was assigned.* All letter grades received in repeated courses will be included in the calculation of the CPP, overall, and degree GPA.

*Students may subsequently repeat a course with a CR grade earned in Spring 2020 for a letter grade.

Academic Renewal

Academic renewal is not available to graduate students.

Retroactive Withdrawal

Retroactive withdrawal is available to graduate students. Students are referred to the Retroactive Withdrawal Policy posted in this catalog.