Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I find more information about your department?
- What are tuition costs? How much does it cost for the whole program?
- Can students apply on-line?
- If I am currently a graduate student at CSUN, do I need to apply again?
- If I am a CSUN or other CSU graduate, do I need to take the UPPER DIVISION WRITING PROFICIENCY EXAM?
- How do I sign up for the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam?
- Is the CBEST required for my credential program application if I took it before?
- Is the ELPS 600 Research course required if I have a master’s degree already?
- What is the difference between getting the master’s degree and getting the credential? If I already have a master’s should I get another one?
- What are the requirements for admission? What if I apply and don’t hear?
- Can I get credit for other graduate courses that I have completed toward my program?
- May I transfer courses from other institutions to my CSUN program?
- How long will it take me to complete the program?
- Can I substitute an Independent Study for a course so I don’t have to come to campus that frequently?
- When should I hand in my formal program document and other requirements for the program?
- Do I have to take the GRE?
- What do you expect in letters of recommendation?
- Can I take courses during the summer?
- Can I do a thesis instead of taking the Comprehensive Examination?
- How many times can I take the Comprehensive Exam if I fail any part(s) of it?
- Where can I purchase a copy of the College Catalog?
- How does one register for courses?
- How do I make sure I’m going to the right class at the right time and at the right place?
- What happens if I get a letter saying that I have been “Disqualified” from the University?
Q. How can I find more information about your department?
A. You can find our catalog entry online at http://www.csun.edu/catalog/educationalleadershipandpolicystudies.html, our department web site at http://www.csun.edu/education/elps, or you can contact us at (818) 677-2591. For information regarding the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential, please log in to the Credential Office web site at http://www.csun.edu/education/cred/applications/index.htm, or call (818) 677-2586.
Q. What are tuition costs? How much does it cost for the whole program?
A. Tuition and fees are listed by semester online at http://www-admn.csun.edu/ucs. Student fees are set by the Board of Trustees of the California State University and are significantly influenced by the level of State appropriations to support higher education, so we cannot project costs for the entire program at this time. Tuition and fees cover your enrollment in both the MA and Credential programs; students pay the part-time rate for four of the five semesters and the full-time rate for one semester to cover the 33-unit curriculum.
IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING FINANCIAL AID:
If you would like to be considered for financial aid, you must apply to CSUN via CSUMentor (http://www.csumentor.edu) AND complete an online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. Once you are admitted to CSUN, you will be considered for an aid package. For more information on financial aid at CSUN, please log in to http://www.csun.edu/financialaid/ or view the video online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqpvGuW0fBQ.
Q. Can students apply on-line?
A. Yes. Go to http://www.csumentor.edu and then “Graduate Application."
Q. If I am currently a graduate student at CSUN, do I need to apply again?
A. No. Students in an active status will be able to add our program using a Change of Objective form. This option has a caveat; please contact our office for more information before submitting a form to Admissions and Records.
Q. If I am a CSUN or other CSU graduate, do I need to take the UPPER DIVISION WRITING PROFICIENCY EXAM?
A. Not if it is listed on your graduate transcript or you can provide other acceptable proof. It is required for all students pursuing a master's degree at CSUN.
Q. How do I sign up for the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam?
A. The exam is given six times every academic year. Students must register prior to taking the exam, and may do so in person or by mail. Information on the exam, exam dates, and registration is available online at http://www.csun.edu/testing/upper.
Q. Is the CBEST required for my credential program application if I took it before?
Q. Is the ELPS 600 Research course required if I have a master’s degree already?
A. Having the master’s has nothing to do with waiving the requirement. However, what does matter is the semester when you were admitted to CSUN as an ELPS student. Students who completed their first graduate-level ELPS course prior to the Fall 2008 semester are eligible to petition for course equivalency (see "Student Forms" on our department web site), while students completing their first graduate-level ELPS course after August 24, 2008 are required to take ELPS 600 as part of our program requirements.
Q. What is the difference between getting the master’s degree and getting the credential? If I already have a master’s should I get another one?
A. The requirements are the same for both the degree and credential programs. See your advisor if you have specific questions on this.
Q. What are the requirements for admission? What if I apply and don’t hear?
A. You actually have to apply to the University, the ELPS Department (via the classification process), and for your credential. Please see the Overview of Admissions Process on our web site for the steps you need to take. If you don’t hear from Admissions and have questions about your status, contact their office at (818) 677-3700. The ELPS Department does not handle admissions.
Q. Can I get credit for other graduate courses that I have completed toward my program?
A. You cannot use the same course twice for a master’s program (this is known as "double dipping"). If you did take a course that is similar to one we require, you may ask to waive the course - but because you will be short on units, you must substitute another course for the one you waived.
Q. May I transfer courses from other institutions to my CSUN program?
A. You may request consideration to transfer up to 9 credit hours from other institutions. Prior approval should be sought. When transferring credits from a university on quarters rather than semesters, the transfer is not course for course, but based on a conversion formula that usually leaves a student shy on credits. For example, if you transfer 3 quarter courses, they might only represent a total of two courses at CSUN..
Q. How long will it take me to complete the program?
A. That depends on how many courses you take each semester and whether or not you are in a cohort. Ordinarily, our program takes about 21 months at the most for cohort students.
Q. Can I substitute an Independent Study for a course so I don’t have to come to campus that frequently?
A. No. An Independent Study is not designed as a substitute for content courses. It generally is applicable to students who are not in a K-12 strand (for example, Higher Ed) and whose program has been approved by the Graduate Advisor to include Independent Study in order to support career goals.
Q. When should I hand in my formal program document and other requirements for the program?
A. When you are initially accepted into the program, you will receive a letter indicating the requirements you need to satisfy classification status. At this time, you should see the Graduate Advisor for guidance through the required steps and sequence. The program document should not be completed and turned in until you have completed two courses with an average of B or better. The program document must be signed by the Advisor and Department Chair. For those in cohorts, a full-time faculty member is assigned to the cohort to do group advisement.
Q. Do I have to take the GRE?
A. You are exempt if you have a Master’s degree or your cumulative undergraduate GPA is 3.0 or better. A GPA of 2.99... is not enough. If you have taken two courses with us and received grades of B or better, and you fail the GRE, you can request a waiver. We cannot consider waiving the GRE results until after you take the test.
Q. What do you expect in letters of recommendation?
A. We are looking for letters from administrators who know you professionally and who can share their insights with us concerning your character and potential as a school leader. A copy of the form can be found on the ELPS web site under “Student Forms” (http://www.csun.edu/education/elps/forms/index.html).
Q. Can I take courses during the summer?
A. If you are in a cohort, some classes will be scheduled during the summer. Classes may also be available on campus on a limited basis; please contact the ELPS office for details.
Q. Can I do a thesis instead of taking the Comprehensive Examination?
A. No. The department does not currently have a thesis option.
Q. How many times can I take the Comprehensive Exam if I fail any part(s) of it?
A. As outlined in the College Catalog: “Students may not take an entire comprehensive examination more than twice...Failure of the second attempt of the comprehensive examination results in the disqualification from the Master’s program in that department.” The second attempt is defined to include any part or parts of the examination.
Q. Where can I purchase a copy of the College Catalog?
A: Catalogs are available on-line (see Should you wish to purchase a print copy, you can
Q: How does one register for courses?
A: Registration should be done over the internet (www.csun.edu/portal). The university provides “How to Guides for Students” at http://www.csun.edu/anr/soc/guides/index.html. Students who are late registering need to report to the first class and get a special permission number from the professor (late fees may be charged).
Q: How do I make sure I’m going to the right class at the right time and at the right place?
A: You really need to check the computer right up until the day you come to your first class. Rooms and times and days get changed since professors sometimes have to withdraw and this results in a new professor at a different time, etc.
Q: What happens if I get a letter saying that I have been “Disqualified” from the University?
A: You need to contact the Graduate Coordinator to determine your options. A DQ occurs when a student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0. Readmission may occur with conditions or may not be denied entirely, depending on circumstances.