Graduate Studies

  • Current Students

Graduate Student Handbook

The Graduate Student Handbook has been converted to the accordion below. The accordion is an excellent resource for prospective and current graduate students at CSUN. The accordion provides relevant information that graduate students need in order to make informed decisions and be successful.

Content within the accordion is intended to supplement the information found in the University Catalog. Within the accordion, you will find the minimum university requirements, policies, procedures and resources.

Please note that many graduate programs have specific policies, procedures, and/or admissions requirements in addition to the University’s requirements.

Welcome Letter from the Assistant Vice President of Graduate Studies

We are delighted that you are planning to join the California State University Northridge Graduate student family! CSUN is a very special place for graduate studies. Many students come to CSUN for a graduate degree to help them get ahead in their current job or to create new job opportunities. Others come for master’s programs that help to prepare them for doctoral studies. Still others come to CSUN’s graduate programs for the sheer pleasure of studying one-on-one with our world-class faculty. Whatever your goals, we look forward to watching you shine at CSUN.

Why is CSUN a special place for graduate studies? One reason is our focus on relevance - both regional and international. Many of our graduate programs are specifically designed to address the needs of Southern California. Whether studying water availability in Geography, biotechnology in Engineering, or Autism in Psychology, graduate students at CSUN are learning the tools needed to solve problems in Southern California as well as in the world at large. And because so many of our graduate programs focus on real world issues, our students can readily apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to their work in their respective fields.

Another unique characteristic of graduate studies as CSUN is that most of our graduate programs are relatively small while our campus is quite large. While CSUN graduate students get all of the benefits of studying at California’s third largest graduate serving public university, they also get individual attention with our world-class faculty. At CSUN, your faculty will know your name and will encourage you to work beside them in their labs, classrooms and offices.

Finally, CSUN makes excellence accessible. Our tuition is significantly lower than other graduate schools and we offer extensive financial aid. Our excellence is nationally recognized. For example, CSUN has been ranked 1st in the nation for the number of our students who go on to research doctorates in Psychology, 2nd in the nation for the number of students who continue on to research doctorates in Engineering and 5th in the nation for subsequent research doctorates in Biology. We’re also proud of the fact that CSUN is ranked 10th in the nation for master’s degrees awarded to Hispanic students. US News & World Report ranks our MBA and MSW programs amongst the best in the nation. We’re proud of the excellence in our graduate programs and especially in our incredible graduate students. Welcome to the CSUN family.

Sincerely,

Amy Levin, M.S.W., Ph.D.

Assistant Vice President of Graduate Studies

The Office of Graduate Studies

The Office of Graduate Studies is responsible for implementing university graduate policies. Graduate Studies encompasses the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) and Graduate Evaluation Services (GES).

The Office offers graduate student support programs, such as Thesis Support, Graduate Equity, and Travel Awards. Graduate Studies is also in charge of organizing various events aimed at fostering students’ academic success.

If you have any questions, please call (818) 677-2138 or email graduate.studies@csun.edu.

You may also contact any of us directly by clicking the Staff Directory page.

Graduate Status

A graduate student is one who has applied and received formal admission to a specific course of study that will lead to a master’s or doctorate in one of the many disciplines available at CSUN. The status of a graduate student can either be classified or conditionally classified, depending on whether or not a student has met university requirements. Graduate students in either category may enroll in 500, 600 and 700-level courses, although in some program’s enrollment is limited to only classified students. Graduate students must follow a specific course of instruction identified to them by the graduate program coordinator and describe for the individual program on the Master’s or Doctorates page.

Admission to a Graduate Program

The Graduate Department reviews applications for requirements for admission into the graduate program. Some programs require a department application. The status of admitted students are as followed:

Admission Status: Classified or Conditionally Classified

Knowing your classification status is vital as you begin your graduate degree. The two types of admission classifications are:

Conditionally Classified Status
Students who do not meet all requirements may be accepted as conditionally classified students, subject to meeting various University and program requirements for classified status. It is important to achieve full classified standing prior to completing 12 units of graduate coursework on the program of study. No more than 12 units of work taken prior to attaining fully classified status will be applied to a master’s degree program.

Note: You must request classification through your Graduate Coordinator.

Classified Status
To be granted classified status, students must have a 3.0 GPA for all work taken as a conditionally classified student and in any courses required by the program for admission to its program. Once the requirements for classified status have been met, it is the responsibility of the students to notify their graduate coordinator. The graduate coordinator will then submit the Classification form to the Office of Graduate Studies.

To meet the minimum requirements for classified status, the student must fulfill the following (individual programs may have more stringent standards):

  1. A 3.0 GPA or higher in all work taken after completion of a bachelor’s degree.
  2. Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  3. Pass the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) or equivalent. Students who have fulfilled the Upper Division Writing Exam at another CSU campus may submit official notification of a passing score.

Individual departments or programs may have additional requirements. Refer to their websites for information.

Note: Once a conditionally classified student has met the requirements to be Classified, it is the responsibility of the student to notify their graduate coordinator. The Graduate Coordinator will submit the online “Request for Classification” form to Office of Graduate Studies. Completion of this process should happen as soon as the student completes 12 units of coursework.

Full/Part time Enrollment

Full time enrollment for graduate students requires a minimum of 8 units and part time enrollment requires a minimum of 4 units.

Types of Culminating Experiences and Policy

Satisfactory completion of a thesis, project, or comprehensive examination, defined as follows:

  1. 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. Normally, an oral defense of the thesis is required.
  2. A project is a significant undertaking appropriate to the fine and applied arts or to professional fields. 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. An oral defense of the project may be required.
  3. 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 mastery of the subject matter. The results of the examination evidences independent thinking, appropriate organization, critical analysis and accuracy of documentation. A record of the examination questions and responses shall be maintained in accordance with the records retention policy of The California State University.

Culminating Experiences (Graduate Policy)

A culminating experience is required for completion of a master’s or doctorate degree program. The University recognizes the following types of culminating experiences: Theses, Dissertations, Graduate Projects/Artistic Performances and Comprehensive Examinations. Each graduate program permits one or more of the culminating experiences as described below. Where more than one option is offered, the specific type of culminating experience is identified on the student’s formal program.

Thesis/Graduate Project/Dissertation

A Thesis/Dissertation is an original scholarly contribution to the student’s field based on a systematic study of a significant problem or issue. Although it may be part of a larger research program, each Thesis is unique and written by a single student. The Thesis typically explains the problem; sets forth the methodology used to address the problem and the limitations of the methodology; reports the results, whether those are an analysis of data or a presentation of theory; and explains the significance of the findings in the context of previous work on the topic.

Graduate Projects/Artistic Performances represent the significant undertaking of a pursuit appropriate to professional fields and fine arts. Graduate Projects/Artistic Performances must represent originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization and a rationale. Graduate Projects/Artistic Performances may be individual or group efforts. Examples of appropriate projects include the development of curriculum, a market research study for an organization, the testing of a therapy on a particular population or the design of an electronic device. In the arts, examples could include a music recital, a music composition, direction of a theatrical performance or a gallery showing of works of art. The results must be described and summarized in a written document with an abstract.

Thesis/Graduate Project/Dissertation Committee Selection: A minimum of three individuals who do not have a conflict of interest with the student, must serve on a student’s committee. A conflict of interest is defined as a person who has an economic, sexual, and/or romantic involvement with the student or a member of the student’s immediate family that could reasonably be perceived as impairing objectivity.

The chair of the committee must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member of the department or academic degree granting program. The majority of members of the committee must be active members of the department or program. Active members include all tenured and tenure-track faculty and lecturers affiliated with the department or program—as defined by the graduate coordinator. Faculty participating in the Faculty Early Retirement Program are considered active faculty members and, as such, can serve as either the chair or a committee member. Some departments or programs may have alternate policies approved by the Graduate Studies Committee.

A minority of committee members may be drawn from outside the department or program, either from within or outside of the university. Like all committee members, such outside members must (a) have a graduate degree in a related field, or (b) have extensive experience in the topic, and (c) demonstrate professional recognition through publications, creative activities, reports, papers or membership in a national professional organization and/or working committees in their institution. Individuals from outside the university must submit a CV to, and be approved by, the graduate coordinator of the department or program.

Once the committee is formed, the student will need to register through the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) website. A curriculum vitae of a part-time faculty member or off-campus committee member must be uploaded electronically on the ETD website for approval by the committee chair, department graduate coordinator and the Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies.

Some departments or programs, if they choose, may allow students who have received a grade of Report in Progress (RP) in the first semester of their 698 course to enroll in a different culminating experience (e.g., comprehensive examination). See section on Switching Culminating Experiences below.

Comprehensive Exam

A comprehensive examination will test the range of subject matter covered in the student’s graduate program. The purpose of the examination is to allow students to demonstrate their ability to integrate content, knowledge, independent thinking and critical analysis. Each master’s program that offers a comprehensive examination option is required to maintain University-approved guidelines for the administration of the examination, and these guidelines are to be available on request. The following regulations apply in all cases:

  1. Students must be classified before they can be given permission by the department to enroll in a comprehensive exam (697) course.
  2. Students become eligible to attempt the examination during the semester in which all required coursework will be completed.
  3. Ordinarily, the examination is given at least one month before the end of the semester. Arrangements to enroll and take the examination should be made with the student’s program.
  4. If the examination is not passed, the student may register again for the examination course (697) for the semester in which they plan to complete their degree. Alternatively, the student may register for the thesis/graduate project course (698), if allowed by the department or program (consult the department chair or graduate coordinator). These additional units may not be counted as units toward the master’s/doctorate degree.
  5. Students may not take the comprehensive examination more than twice.
  • Students who fail the examination on the first attempt may be required to register for the examination again the next available term.
  • Students who fail the first attempt will be required to submit a Course Repeat form to the Office of Graduate Studies with the approval of the graduate coordinator once enrolled for the second attempt.
  • The first attempt is defined as the complete comprehensive examination prescribed by the program. The second attempt is defined as retaking the examination on the entire program or, at the discretion of the department, a supplementary examination on any part or parts of the first examination that the student failed.
  • Failure of the second attempt of the comprehensive examination results in disqualification from the University.
  • The graduate coordinator will file the result of each examination with the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Some departments or programs, if they choose, may allow students who have failed the comprehensive exam (or any part of it) to complete their program by enrolling in and successfully passing another culminating experience (e.g., thesis, dissertation or graduate project). See Switching Culminating Experiences below.

      6. At least three committee members must certify the success or failure of the student in the examination.

Switching Culminating Experiences

  • Some departments or programs, if they choose, may allow students to switch from one culminating experience to another. Please check with the graduate program regarding the department policy.
  • Students who earned a grade of NC or F in their first 697 enrollment may be eligible to switch. Students who earned an NC or F in their second enrollment are not eligible to switch to another culminating experience and will be disqualified from the University.
  • Students who earned a grade of RP in their first 698 enrollment may be eligible to switch.
  • Students are only able to switch from one culminating experience to another one time, and only if the department policy allows.

Theses, Dissertation & Graduate Projects Rules/Procedures Policy

The following rules apply to Theses, Dissertations and Graduate Projects:

  1. A student must be classified before he or she can be given permission by the department to enroll in a Thesis/Project (698) course.
  2. The Thesis must be an individual effort. However, the University recognizes that there are circumstances that warrant group graduate projects. In such instances, a signed addendum by each student and by the culminating experience committee chair must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies. The addendum must identify the names of other authors and describe the project and responsibilities of each author. The division of responsibilities specified must be reviewed, endorsed and evaluated by the students’ committee chair, signed by each student and subsequently approved by the Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies.
  3. Students must contact their graduate coordinator to determine the maximum number of required culminating units.
  4. Students must be registered during the semester in which they expect to graduate.
  5. If a student fails to successfully complete/defend the Thesis/Dissertation or Graduate Project, or any part of it, the student will be disqualified from the master’s program in the department and normally not allowed to take the Comprehensive Examination option, if that option exists.
  6. Guidelines: The Thesis, Dissertation and Graduate Project must be prepared according to the guidelines set forth by the Office of Graduate Studies and available online. All Thesis, Dissertations, Graduate Projects or Abstracts must be uploaded through the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation website.
  7. Time Limit: Theses and Projects must be completed, filed and approved within 2 years of the first enrollment in culminating experience. In some situations, a student is given an “RP” (Report in Progress) grade for work in progress (see Grading System). The “RP” will be converted to a “credit” or “letter” grade once the culminating experience has been approved.

Planning Form, Formatting and Deadlines

A planning form is required for students submitting a thesis, graduate project or dissertation. Select Formatting Guidelines and Deadlines for more information.

Note for Thesis/Graduate Project and Dissertation Submission

  • Preliminary Submission
    It is the students responsibly to check ETD for comment reviews regarding format change(s). If a student’s formatting is rejected, students are given two days to make corrections and to resubmit in ETD.
  • Final Submission
    It is the students responsibly to check ETD for comment reviews regarding format change(s). If a student’s formatting is rejected, students are given one day to make corrections and to resubmit in ETD.

Human & Animal Subjects Research

Human Subjects Research

What is human subject research?
Human subject research is the activities in which a researcher obtains information about a living person through the means of survey, interview, observation or experimentation. Activities of human subject research can involve the analysis of previously collected human tissues, records, samples or other existing or secondary data collected from an individual. Some research conducted by graduate students will involve human subjects and thus will require review and approval by the CSUN Committee for Projection of Human Subjects (a.k.a., the Institutional Review Board, or IRB). Federal regulations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services require approval for all such activities by the CSUN IRB before beginning any research recruitment, data collection, or data analysis.

Who must apply?
Faculty, students, and staff at CSUN. Graduate student theses, dissertations, and projects involving human subject research must include the corresponding IRB approval number. Again, CSUN faculty, students, and staff must obtain approval BEFORE any research can begin. Federal regulations do not allow for retroactive human subject’s approval after the work is completed.

When must graduate students apply?
Some research activities that involve human participants are exempt from complete human subject’s review. However, only the IRB may determine whether the research fits the applicable federal exemption criteria. According to federal regulations, it is a conflict of interest for researchers to determine whether their own research is exempt. If you are even the slightest bit unsure whether your research is human subjects research, whether might be exempt, or how to proceed if your graduate advisor has IRB approval but you do not, or if you have any other questions, please call (818) 677-2901 or email irb@csun.edu.

What happens if I conduct human subject research without IRB Approval?
You will place the university out of compliance with federal requirements that regulate human subject research. This can result in federal or IRB actions that could prevent you, your Department/Division, or the university from conducting human subject research. It will also jeopardize the Institution’s human research certification with the federal Office for Human Research Protections. Data collected without IRB approval restricted from use in class research, theses, graduate projects or dissertations and may ultimately prevent students from fulfilling graduation requirements.

What does submitting research for IRB review involve and how long does it take?
Please visit the Protection of Animal Subjects.

Animal Subjects Research

Federal regulations also require that anyone conducting research that involves animal subjects MUST complete and receive approval for their research protocol BEFORE they begin their research. At CSUN, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) will only review applications submitted by faculty. If you are planning to do research with animals, please work with your faculty mentor to prepare an IACUC application well before your research begins. If you have questions about doing research with animals, please call (818) 677-2901 or email iacuc@csun.edu.

Apply for Graduation Online

Required Enrollment During Your Final Semester

Enrollment is required in the semester during which the student plans to complete their graduate degree.

Online Application for Graduate Degree and Diploma

Who can apply to Graduate?

  • Students who have been classified
  • Completed or in progress of completing 18 units

When do I apply to Graduate?
To access the deadlines to apply for Graduation, please click on the Graduation Deadlines page.

How do I apply to Graduate?

  • Apply to graduate online via your MyCSUN Portal.
  • The fee to apply to graduate is $47. You will be able to verify how your name will appear on your diploma and the correct address of where your diploma will be sent.

A tutorial is available to assist students, please click on the Apply for Graduation Online page.

What happens if I miss the deadline to apply?
Students MUST apply for the next available term and will be required enrollment.

What happens if I do not meet the requirements after applying to graduate?
If you need more time to complete degree requirements and have already submitted the Application for Graduate Degree and Diploma, you must submit a “Change of Date form” along with an $8 processing fee. The form can be obtain from the Graduate Studies Student Forms page.

Graduating with Distinction

Graduate Master’s students who obtain a 3.885 or higher in their formal program GPA will be graduated “With Distinction”. This will appear on the official transcripts and the diploma. Master’s students that graduate “With Distinction” are eligible to participate in Honors Convocation. Students can verify if they are eligible for distinction by viewing their DPR.

Updating Your Contact Information

All students are responsible for ensuring that CSUN has their current contact information. Whenever you move, change your phone number, or change your email address, please go into your myNorthridge portal and update your information to prevent important letters and documents (e.g., your diploma!) being sent to the wrong place. CSUN will not be responsible for documents sent to outdated addresses in the CSUN database. To change your contact information, go to your myNorthridge portal within CSUN Homepage, and then click the personal information tab.

Academic Policies and Procedures

A full explanation of the policies governing graduate students are in the University Catalog. It is the responsibility of all graduate students to familiarize themselves with all of the policies governing their graduate program.

GPA Requirements for Graduate Programs Policy

Students pursuing a graduate degree must maintain a minimum 3.0 (“B”) GPA in the formal program and in the cumulative grade point average once admitted to the program. No grade below a “C” can be counted in the formal program. Any grade of “C-” or below in the formal program must be repeated after an approved course repeat form has been filed. If the student does not receive a “C” or better on the second attempt, the student will be disqualified from the program. A maximum of 6 units in the formal program may be repeated at the graduate level. The repeat grade will appear on the transcript. Departments may have higher standards that take precedence over the University policy.

Transfer Work for Graduate Programs

Credit for work performed in extension or at another regionally accredited institution is subject to the following limitations:

  1. Transfer of work is subject to the approval of the graduate coordinator of the major department and the Assistant Vice President of Graduate Studies. An unofficial transcript must be submitted with either the formal program or course substitution to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval of the specific coursework.
  2. Only graduate coursework with a grade of “B” or better may be transferred (CR/NC grading is not transferable).
  3. No more than 9 units in combination of transfer work, extension work or work completed prior to earning a baccalaureate/master’s degree can be used toward a degree.
  4. Both transfer and CSUN coursework may not exceed the 7-year time limit.
  5. Transfer courses and undergraduate CSUN course(s) petitioned to count for postgraduate coursework cannot be validated once the course exceeds the 7-year time limit.
  6. Units transferred in from a quarter institution will hold a lesser value (i.e. 4 quarter units= 2.67 semester units).
  7. If the course(s) petitioned have been taken at an institution where the degree has been granted, the student must provide a memo from the institution indicating the course(s) was not used for degree completion.

Note: If graduate transfer coursework is approved to be used in substitution of CSUN coursework on a student’s formal program, then it will only be calculated in the student’s formal program GPA. Transfer work is not calculated in a student’s cumulative GPA and will not appear on the student’s CSUN transcript.

Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) Substitution for Graduate Students

All CSUN graduate students earning a degree are required by the CSU to satisfy the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) prior to full classification. Graduate students who completed an undergraduate degree at any CSU since 1982 have automatically met this requirement because they were required to demonstrate writing proficiency in order to graduate. All other graduate students have been required to take the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) and score an 8 or higher. There are three paths to satisfy the GWAR requirement.

Students can complete this requirement in one of the following ways:

  • Demonstrate that they earned an undergraduate degree at a CSU since 1982.
  • Take the UDWPE and earn a score of 8 or higher.
  • Take the GRE-Analytical and earn a score of 3 or higher.

Graduate programs with existing requirements of higher GRE or UDWPE scores may continue to enforce those requirements. Please go to the University Catalog to view the GRE/GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment score for your graduate program.

NOTE: Scores are valid only up to 5 years from the date of the test.

Time Limits

Time Limit for Completion (Graduate Policy)

Students must complete requirements for the degree within 7 calendar years from the date they were admitted to a program, unless a lesser time is specified by the department or program committee.

Courses that were completed more than 7 years prior to the date on which all requirements for the degree are completed cannot be counted to meet unit requirements unless the student can show current knowledge in the content of the outdated courses by written examination for each course in question. A maximum of 9 units taken in residency at CSUN may be validated in this manner. The graduate coordinator in the student’s program must certify this competency by way of a memorandum to the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies. Outdated courses taken at another institution may not be validated.

Two-Year Limit for Culminating Experience

Time Limit: Theses and Projects must be completed, filed and approved within 2 years of the first enrollment in culminating experience. In some situations, a student receives an “RP” (Report in Progress) grade for work in progress. The “RP” changes to a “credit” or “letter” grade upon approval of the culminating experience. For more information, see Grading System for Graduate Students.

Academic Leave (Leave of Absence)

Graduate students in good standing may take a two-semester leave of absence. Though no formal approval is required, it is suggested that students seek academic advisement.

Graduate students in degree programs should contact their departments before the end of the second semester of leave of absence. Students who do not enroll by the third semester of leave of absence must reapply for admission.

The University will automatically place qualified resident and nonresident students on a leave of absence if they:

  1. Were matriculated students in the semester immediately prior to the beginning of the leave.
  2. Were not disqualified at the end of the semester.

Foreign students with J or F visas are eligible for leave, but must request the prior approval of their international student advisor and apply for a leave of absence.

Probation and Disqualification (Graduate Program Policy)

Academic Probation

Students enrolled in a graduate program (certificate, master’s, or doctoral) will be placed on academic probation at the end of the semester when their cumulative GPA falls below 3.0. Failure to raise their cumulative GPA to 3.0 in the following semester of enrollment will result in disqualification. (Please refer to Grading in the Regulations section of the Catalog to determine grade points assigned per unit value of coursework.)

Disqualification

Students on probation are placed in disqualified status if, at the end of their next semester of enrollment, their cumulative GPA remains below 3.0.

Categories of Disqualification

First Disqualification
Upon a first disqualification, a graduate student who wishes to be considered for readmission to a master’s/doctoral/certificate program must submit the Graduate Reinstatement form for the semester immediately following disqualification notification. First disqualification materials will be emailed to students after final grades are posted. The form should be submitted by students to the graduate coordinator or department chair of the program. The student must then submit the completed form for processing as specified in the letter or reinstatement form the student receives. Students who choose not to file a reinstatement form for the semester following first disqualification will be required to submit a new University application and fee in order to be considered for enrollment in any future semester.

Second Disqualification
Students who are disqualified a second time are not permitted to enroll in CSUN courses through the matriculated enrollment process for a minimum of 3 years after the final day of the semester during which they received the second disqualification. Students who have been disqualified two times may not retake classes for the purpose of raising grades to avoid another disqualification.

Three years from the final day of the semester during which the student received a second disqualification, the student may reapply to the University during the appropriate application filing period. The student must provide evidence to the graduate coordinator or department chair of the program that demonstrates acquired skills or achievements that support a successful return to the University.

Readmission of Disqualified Graduate Student

The student’s cumulative GPA will be analyzed at the time of both first and second disqualification. If it is found to be arithmetically impossible for the disqualified student to bring the cumulative GPA to 3.0 or above within the parameters of the current course repeat policy, the disqualified student will not be readmitted to the University.

Final Disqualification

Students returning from a second disqualification who do not earn a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA by the end of the first semester of reinstatement will receive a final disqualification. Furthermore, students returning from a second disqualification who fail to maintain a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA in every semester following reinstatement will receive a final disqualification. Students receiving a final disqualification will be given no further opportunities for readmission.

A separate policy exists for post-baccalaureate credential students.

Withdrawals (Graduate Policy)

Cancellation of Registration or Withdrawal from the Institution

Students who find it necessary to cancel their registration or to withdraw from all classes after enrolling for any academic term are required to follow the university’s official withdrawal procedures. Failure to follow formal university procedures may result in an obligation to pay fees as well as the assignment of failing grades in all courses and the need to apply for readmission before being permitted to enroll in another academic term. Information on canceling registration and withdrawal procedures is available from Admissions and Records.

Students who receive financial aid funds must consult with the Financial Aid and Scholarship Department prior to withdrawing from the university regarding any required return or repayment of grant or loan assistance received for that academic term or payment period. Students who have received financial aid and withdraw from the institution during the academic term or payment period may need to return or repay some or all of the funds received, which may result in a debt owed to the institution.

Medical Withdrawals

A medical withdrawal usually constitutes complete withdrawal from the university for the academic period in question. Requests for complete medical withdrawals should be submitted as soon as possible after the medical condition impairs the student’s ability to complete the coursework for which the student is registered.

  • In cases of severe illness, the student is advised to provide written permission for a representative or, if mentally incapacitated, a student’s legal representative to request a withdrawal on the student’s behalf.
  • Requests for conditions or circumstances that arise during the final three weeks of instruction, or thereafter, will only be considered in cases of severe illness or injury.
  • Where medical evidence and the physical demands of a class overwhelmingly support withdrawal from only a portion of a student’s program of study, partial medical withdrawals will be permitted when there is a clear link between the class and the medical condition.
  • Petitions requesting retroactive withdrawals beyond one year after the conclusion of the semester for which the withdrawal is requested will not be considered.

Note: International students with F or J visa status must contact International and Exchange Student Center (IESC) before submitting a request for withdrawal to learn about the impact on their student immigration status.

Repeat of Courses (Graduate Policy)

A graduate student may repeat up to 6 units in which a grade of “B-” or below has been earned. In these cases, only the most recent grade will count.

Students seeking a second master’s degree will be allowed to repeat up to 6 units in which a grade of “B-” or below has been earned.

Once student enrolls for their second occurrence, they must notify their Graduate Coordinator to submit an Online “Graduate Repeat” form to the Graduate Studies Office.

Standards for Student Conduct

Financial Aid and Scholarship Department

CSUN administers a number of financial aid programs. For financial aid assistance please call (818) 677- 4085 or visit the Financial Aid website. To apply for financial assistance, both continuing and entering students must complete the on-line Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between October 1st and March 2nd of every year to be considered for grant aid in the following year. To submit a FAFSA on-line, visit Federal Student Aid.

NEW STUDENTS
Should apply for aid as early as possible, even if you have not yet been admitted to your program. Aid applications are not processed until you are admitted into your program, but the application date will be used to determine eligibility for grants once you are admitted.

What aid is available for Graduate Students?

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans up to $20,500 maximum annual eligibility and Federal Direct GRAD PLUS loans to cover the remaining unmet cost of attendance, if needed.
  • State University Grants (SUG). These grants for high need students are applied to the State Tuition Fee only. Funding is limited and based on application date and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculated by the federal government based on information provided on the FAFSA application.
  • Summer funding is available on a limited basis. Students should check the financial aid website at Apply for Financial Aid in late March to view information about the summer aid process. Students must enroll in all summer classes as early as possible to receive priority consideration for grant funding. Scholarships are available through the University and from off-campus resources. All students are encouraged to research scholarship opportunities listed on the financial aid website at Scholarships and also by completing the online scholarship database Academic Works at My Matador Scholarships. Students should also check with their Department about departmental scholarships.

General Requirements for financial aid and scholarships for Graduate Students

  • Graduate students must maintain at least half-time enrollment (4 units in their formal program of study) in 400 and/or 500+ level courses to qualify for aid. SUG is prorated based on enrollment status. If awarded a SUG, students must maintain at least half-time enrollment. If the student is not enrolled at least halftime, the SUG will be canceled.
  • All financial aid recipients must meet financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements for aid eligibility. For detailed information about SAP, see Satisfactory Academic Progress It is the student’s responsibility to know the policy and to follow it as they plan and follow their program to graduation.
  • All financial aid funds and any outside resources that a graduate student may receive (such as scholarships, fellowships, fee sponsorships, fee waivers, etc.) must fit within the student’s annual cost of attendance for financial aid eligibility. For detailed information about financial aid cost of attendance, visit Cost of Attendance.
  • Graduate students must be enrolled in graduate level coursework (500 level and above) required for degree to receive financial aid assistance. If a student’s program plan includes coursework at a level below 500 they must make sure that they take at least 4 units of graduate work in their formal program (program of study)at the same time to qualify for aid, and that it can fit within 140% of the required units for the Master’s or Doctoral degree they are pursuing. If students have been enrolled in more than one post baccalaureate program, units for all programs are counted towards the maximum attempted unit cap.
  • Should a student need to withdraw from their program, including medical withdrawals, they should check with the financial aid office about the impact of the withdrawal on their aid as they may be required to repay all or part of the aid they received. For additional information about what can affect aid, visit What Affects My Aid?
  • Financial aid recipients must complete loan exit counseling at the time you complete your degree. Student should visit Federal Student Aid to access this. While completing loan exit counseling, students will receive information on repayment options, loan repayment charts, and deferment, forbearance, and loan cancellation options. Student rights and responsibilities as a loan borrower are included at the end of this communication.

If a student has questions, they should consult with a financial aid counselor.

Additional Resources for Graduate Students

  • For additional information about the federal loan programs, visit Loans.
  • If additional funding beyond federal and state aid is needed, students may research Private Educational loan opportunities at FINAID.
  • Students should make sure to check their CSUN email and student portal regularly for information about their financial aid status, possible document requests, or to view their financial aid award. Students should make sure to respond to any document requests promptly. Typically, the financial aid document deadline is early May. The annual review for Satisfactory Academic Progress is completed in late June and appeals must be filed by a deadline in early July.
  • Preparing for the cost of a graduate education and managing the aid a student receives is very important. The Financial Aid Office offers a number of workshops each semester and a wealth of information can be found on the Financial Aid website at Financial Literacy Program.
  • For additional information about the financial aid process at CSUN, please contact the Financial Aid Office at (818) 677-4085 or visit the financial aid website at Financial Aid & Scholarship Department. The Financial Aid Office is located in the 1st floor lobby of Bayramian Hall.

For additional information about the federal student loan programs, visit Loans.

Graduate Student Events and Funding Opportunites

Click on the link for more information about Upcoming Events.

Click on the link for more information about Funding Opportunities.

Student Resources