Graduate and Research AffairsDivision of Graduate AffairsSan Diego State University5500 Campanile DriveSan Diego CA 92182 8220Phone: 619 594 5213Fax: 619 594 0819Orientation and Handbook:New Graduate StudentsWelcome to San Diego State University! This orientation document provides an overview of graduateprograms and policies at SDSU. For additional information, please visit the Graduate Affairs office inStudent Service East 1410, call 619-594-5213 during business hours (Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM 4:30 PM), or email us at [email protected] . More information and many of the forms you will need arealso available on our website: http://grad.sdsu.eduDean's WelcomeDear incoming graduate students,Over 2,000 of you will join more than 8,000 incoming undergraduate students to form the newestcohort at San Diego State University. You will build on your previous expertise, and strive to achieve avariety of personal, creative and career goals. The faculty, staff and administrators of SDSU will supportyou throughout your time as a graduate student, as we satisfy our commitments to engage the localcommunity, create an educated workforce through advanced degrees, and expand the boundaries ofhuman knowledge with original research.It is this last category that binds the two divisions of our Graduate and Research Affairs office.Graduate students are the engines of scholarship: nearly half of the research papers our faculty publisheach year include authorship by a graduate student. The products of that research are substantial. SDSUis widely recognized as a hub of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. We are in the top 150institutions for federal research funding, with the National Science Foundation and the NationalInstitutes of Health as the dominant sources. SDSU has nationally recognized excellence in manygraduate programs, including Speech, Language and Hearing, Cell and Molecular Biology, PublicHealth, Rehabilitation Counseling, Geography, Ecology, Mechanical Engineering, Creative Writing andMusical Theatre. The National Research Council ranks our Clinical Psychology program #1.Your arrival strengthens one of the most racially, ethnically and socioeconomically diverseacademic communities in the United States. The academic, career and personal successes of those whohave preceded you are impressive, and their legacy now passes to you. When your degree is complete,you will be well prepared to both develop your professional skills, and advance the reputation of theinstitution whose degree you will carry through life.In the coming years as a graduate student, you will be pressed for high levels of achievement andpersonal growth. This will set the context for a fulfilling career, make lifelong friendships, and, I trust,develop a fondness for this institution. We welcome you with a genuine eagerness to foster your growthfrom student to professional colleague.Stephen C. WelterVice President for Research and Dean of Graduate AffairsTHE CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY BAKERSFIELD CHANNEL ISLANDS CHICO DOMINGUEZ HILLS EASTBAY FRESNO FULLERTON HUMBOLDT LONG BEACH LOS ANGELESMARITIME ACADEMY MONTEREY BAY NORTHRIDGE POMONA SACRAMENTO SAN BERNARDINO SAN DIEGO SAN FRANCISCO SAN JOSE SAN LUIS OBISPO SAN MARCOS SONOMA STANISLAUS

Graduate Student OrientationGraduate Affairs, San Diego State UniversityGraduate Student ResponsibilitiesAll graduate students are responsible for adhering to the policies and procedures of San Diego StateUniversity. Please become familiar with the information outlined in the Graduate Bulletin. Althoughsome operational procedures described in the Graduate Bulletin may change over time, you areresponsible for the specific degree requirements from the year you were admitted to your graduateprogram. (Some Master's and certificate programs may provide the option to use later catalog years, ifdegree requirements change before you complete your degree.)Current and past Graduate Bulletins are available online ate Student AssociationThe Graduate Student Association (GSA) is a student-run organization that hosts activities to encourageboth professional and social interaction among graduate students. GSA provides an outlet for discussionof issues of concern to graduate students and to advocate for their rights and interests. GSA acts as apolitical voice for graduate students on the Associated Students Council and in Graduate Council (acommittee of the SDSU Academic Senate). Additional information can be found on the GSA web Registration and EnrollmentRed ID Number and Red ID CardWhen you applied to San Diego State University, you were issued a nine digit student identificationnumber called a Red ID number. This number will be used by offices and departments acrosscampus to identify you and locate your records. You will also need this number to access yourWebPortal account and various other student services. A forgotten RedID number can be retrievedhere: kiosk.mainYour Red ID number is printed on the SDSU card issued by the SDSU card office, located inStudent Services West 2620. Information about how to obtain your SDSU card is available d/get-a-card.aspxRegistration and WebPortalRegistration at San Diego State University is administered through the Office of the Registrar. Innearly all cases, you will register online through the SDSU WebPortal. The WebPortal is your onlineresource for information about your student standing, registration, course schedule, transcripts,SDSU e-mail, and much more. Click here to log into your WebPortal account: menu.login/The “My Registration” link in WebPortal will allow you to view your registration date and time,obtain information about fees, add and drop courses, and much more. For additional informationregarding registration and records, contact the Office of the Registrar at 619-594-6871 [email protected] Cashiers OfficeThe University Cashiers Office maintains student accounts, and is also responsible for billing itemssuch as university housing, mandatory lab fees, and financial aid overpayment obligations. TheCashier is located in Student Services West room 2536, and can be reached at 619-594-5253.Additional information on a wide variety of student financial issues is available here: 2/6/20202

Graduate Student OrientationGraduate Affairs, San Diego State UniversityFinancial Aid and ScholarshipsSee for details and links! Here are some highlights: The Graduate Equity Fellowship program provides support for economically disadvantaged graduatestudents, especially from groups who are underrepresented within their respective disciplines. Onlylegal residents of the State of California who can demonstrate significant financial need of 1,000are eligible, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA).Recipients must be classified or conditionally classified graduate students, maintain a 3.00 GPA, andmust be enrolled for a minimum of six units of graduate coursework each semester they hold thefellowship. Fellowships range from 500 to 2,000 for an academic year depending on thedemonstrated need. Students may receive awards for a maximum of two academic years, but theymust apply each year. Post-baccalaureate students are ineligible.Interested students should complete an application from the Graduate Affairs office (SSE 1410), anda FAFSA form, obtained from the Financial Aid office. Applications are due annually in September. Some students who are not California residents are granted a Non-Resident Tuition Waiver (NRTW)at the time of admission. The NRTW covers the extra tuition fee paid by international and nonCalifornians for attending a California State University. A very limited number of NRTWs areavailable, and they are awarded only to incoming graduate students at the time of admission.Students with a NRTW must keep their GPA at 3.00 or above, or risk losing the NRTW. The NRTWmay be renewed for up to five semesters. The NRTW only covers the Fall and Spring semesters. The California Pre-Doctoral Scholarship Program targets students who have experienced economicand educational disadvantages, and intend to apply to a Doctoral program. The program supportsupper division undergraduate students, and current (non-PhD) graduate students. The program placesa special emphasis on increasing the number of CSU students who enter Doctoral programs at one ofthe University of California institutions. Students chosen for this award are designated SallyCasanova Scholars. Recipients receive direct guidance from CSU faculty members and receivefunding for travel, development (broadly defined), and summer research experience (at any U.S.major research university). For more information, contact Graduate Affairs or visit The Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program targets current or incoming Doctoral students whointend to eventually pursue CSU instructional faculty positions. Students who obtain a loan throughthis program may have a portion of it forgiven if they obtain a CSU faculty position. For moreinformation, contact the Graduate Affairs or visit Many additional scholarships and financial aid opportunities are available to San Diego StateUniversity graduate students. Contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships or visit affairs/financialaid/Default.aspxGraduate Student EmploymentGraduate Teaching AssociateAppointments as graduate teaching associates, known more commonly as TAs, provide students theopportunity to participate directly in the teaching activities of the university. Indeed, facultymembers in many programs consider such appointments an integral part of the academic curriculumfor their graduate students. Under the supervision of senior faculty, TAs provide direct instruction toundergraduate students, primarily at the lower division level.revised 2/6/20203

Graduate Student OrientationGraduate Affairs, San Diego State UniversityAppointments as graduate TAs are available to qualified graduate students in all Doctoral programs,and many master’s programs. Graduate TAs must be admitted to San Diego State University withclassified or conditionally classified graduate standing. Appointments may be for a period of eitherone semester or the academic year. Reappointment is dependent on satisfactory performance ingraduate studies (as prescribed by Graduate Council), departmental need, and satisfactory teachingperformance. Information concerning an appointment as a graduate teaching associate may beobtained from the head of the department, school, or college in which the applicant wishes to obtainthe advanced degree. For further information, consult the Orientation and Handbook for GraduateAssistants and Graduate Teaching Associates available at grad students/handbooks and linksGraduate AssistantGraduate assistants (GA) provide instructionally related services to undergraduate students, or maybe assigned duties that directly support faculty research activities. Graduate assistants are availablein most San Diego State University departments and schools. Graduate assistants must be admittedto San Diego State University with classified or conditionally classified graduate standing.Appointments may be for a period of either one semester or the academic year. Reappointment orcontinuation of an appointment is dependent upon satisfactory performance in graduate studies (asprescribed by the Division of Graduate Affairs), departmental need, and satisfactory completion ofassigned duties. Information concerning an appointment as a graduate assistant may be obtainedfrom the head of the department, school, or college in which the applicant wishes to obtain theadvanced degree. For further information, consult the Orientation and Handbook for GraduateAssistants and Graduate Teaching Associates available at grad students/handbooks and linksInstructional Student Assistant (ISA)Graduate students are eligible for employment as student assistants, who perform a wide variety oftasks supporting faculty and staff across the university. Assistants are paid by the hour and arerestricted to assignments not to exceed 20 hours per week. Information concerning an appointmentas a student assistant may be obtained from the head of the department, school, or college in whichthe applicant wishes to obtain the advanced degree. Some available positions may also be listed withthe Office of Career Services in Student Services East, Room 1200.Research Assistant (SDSU Research Foundation)Some graduate students obtain part-time employment as research assistants. Research assistantswork directly with faculty in a laboratory or other research facility in the health, physical, and socialsciences. Although research assistants are employees of the SDSU Research Foundation, they aregenerally hired directly by faculty members seeking assistance for specific research programs.Students may inquire about such appointments through the appropriate faculty in their program, thechair or director of the respective department, or the Office of Human Resources of the SDSUResearch Foundation. Those interested in adding their names to a list of candidates for current orfuture openings may obtain application materials from the San Diego State University ResearchFoundation, Gateway Building, 5250 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-1945. Furtherinformation may also available on faculty and department websites.revised 2/6/20204

Graduate Student OrientationGraduate Affairs, San Diego State UniversityKnow Your StatusMain Campus vs. College of Extended Studies programsMost graduate programs are state-supported Main Campus programs in which students use theadministrative services that are found in various offices in Student Services West. Most courses thatapply to graduate degrees are state-supported. Enrollment in state-supported graduate coursesrequires admission to SDSU in an appropriate graduate program.The SDSU College of Extended Studies (CES) is located in the Extended Studies/Gateway Centerson the southern edge of campus. San Diego State University offers some CES courses that areapplicable to graduate degrees, certificates and credentials, and a small number of degrees thatinclude only self-supported CES courses. Students who intend to earn a Master's degree from theseprograms must be admitted to and matriculate in the program before completing more than nineunits. Similarly, students who pursuing an advance certificate must be admitted to and matriculate inthe program before completing an excess of non-matriculated units (consult the department forspecific unit limits). Students in CES programs that are offered only during summer session mustattend a minimum of three summers to earn their degree. Tuition for CES programs and coursesdiffers from tuition and fees for state-supported San Diego State University courses. For moreinformation, see https://www.ces.sdsu.eduConditional Admission vs. ClassifiedEvery graduate student is admitted to SDSU with a specific classification, which is listed on yourunofficial transcript under “Student Standing”. Students admitted with classified standing have metall university and department requirements for admission. Classified students are fully eligible toproceed with courses for their graduate program of study, and should not be required to take anyprerequisites or meet any additional requirements beyond those listed in the Graduate Bulletin for allstudents in the program. Students admitted conditionally have not met all program requirements foradmission. Conditionally admitted students are typically required to take prerequisite courses ormaintain a minimum GPA during their first 1-2 semesters of attendance. The specific conditions areset by the student's department and approved by Graduate Affairs. If you have been admittedconditionally, your graduate advisor should inform you of your specific conditions and when theymust be completed. Students who do not meet their admissions conditions may be dismissed fromtheir graduate program.As described below, a graduate student's "Standing" will later change from Classified to Advancedto Candidacy, when the necessary conditions have been fulfilled.(Master's and Doctoral students) Filing the Program of StudyGraduate degrees generally have more flexibility in specific coursework requirements thanundergraduate degrees. This allows the Graduate Advisor to customize courses based on eachstudent's needs. The Program of Study (POS) is essentially a contract between the student, theprogram, and the university. The POS is a list of the specific courses a student will take in order tosatisfy the requirements for the degree (as printed in the Graduate Bulletin). It includes both requiredcoursework and electives. The POS can only be submitted for students who have classified graduatestanding. Each graduate program permits a limited number of transfer units (usually 3-9) toward thePOS. These include graduate courses from other accredited universities, as well as SDSU coursestaken through Open University before the student started his or her program.Students should consult their graduate advisor about their Program of Study, usually during the firstsemester. The advisor will later submit the POS to Graduate Affairs electronically for review. If therevised 2/6/20205

Graduate Student OrientationGraduate Affairs, San Diego State UniversityPOS meets all university requirements, it is given final approval by the Graduate Dean and becomesbinding.The POS must be filed at least one semester before graduation. Remember that this will nothappen automatically; your graduate advisor must initiate the process. Courses in an approved andfiled POS may not be deleted or substituted after they have been completed. Graduate Advisors maypetition for other types of POS changes using a Petition for Adjustment of Academic Requirements.The student will complete the Petition with the Graduate Advisor, who will sign it. The signedPetition is submitted to Graduate Affairs in SSE 1410. After approval, a copy will be mailed to thestudent.(Master's and Doctoral students): Advancement to CandidacyWithin your WebPortal record, your “Student Status” must change from Classified to Advanced toCandidacy before you can complete your degree. A student who has been advanced to candidacy isofficially recognized by the university as a candidate for the degree. In order to be advanced tocandidacy, a student must have an approved Program of Study (POS) on file, completed a minimumnumber of POS units, and meet minimum grade requirements (see Grade Requirements below).Students are typically nominated for advancement by their department, and reviewed foradvancement by GRA at the time the POS is submitted.After advancement to candidacy, the student becomes eligible to file the Appointment ofThesis/Project Committee form in preparation for enrollment in thesis (Plan A), or to sit for thecomprehensive examination (Plan B). Refer to the Graduate Bulletin for a list of advancementrequirements, and exceptions to the rules listed above.(Master's and Doctoral students): Appointment of Thesis/Project CommitteeAfter advancement to candidacy, Master's and Doctoral students may choose their thesis/dissertationcommittees and file the Appointment of Thesis/Project Committee form. A very specific set of rulesrestricts who may (and may not) serve on your committee. A full set of guidelines is provided whenyou obtain the Appointment of Thesis/Project Committee form from Graduate Affairs (SSE 1410).Refer to your program's Graduate Advisor with questions, and to find out about program-specificguidelines(Master's students) Plan A or Plan B culminating experiencesAll Master's students complete a “culminating experience” at the end of their program. This finalstep is satisfied through either the Plan A or Plan B option. You will officially declare whether youare on Plan A or B at the time your Program of Study is submitted.Plan A (Thesis or Project)Plan A is completed with a thesis that will be published in the San Diego State Library. (A smallnumber of programs require their Plan A students to complete and publish a comprehensiveproject that does not take the form of a traditional thesis.) A thesis is the written product of asystematic study of a significant problem; it states the major assumptions, explains thesignificance of the undertaking, sets forth the sources for and the methods of gatheringinformation, and analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendation. The finishedproduct evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization,language, and format, high level of writing competency, and thorough documentation.revised 2/6/20206

Graduate Student OrientationGraduate Affairs, San Diego State UniversityYour thesis will be supervised by a faculty committee consisting of two members from yourdepartment, and one from another SDSU department. It is never too early to start thinking aboutyour thesis committee! Identify faculty members you work well with, and that specialize in yourarea of interest.Plan B (Comprehensive Examination)Students pursuing Plan B will complete a comprehensive written examination in lieu of thethesis. The comprehensive examination is an assessment of your ability to integrate knowledgeof your subject area, show critical and independent thinking, and demonstrate mastery of thesubject matter. Your department will administer your comprehensive examination. Examinationprocedures, dates, and guidelines vary, so consult with your graduate advisor early and oftenregarding how to prepare.Registering for culminating experience coursework (790, 795, 797)In some Master's and Doctoral programs, a specific course is associated with the culminatingexperience (for example: 790, 795 or 797). Certain departments only allow graduate students whohave been advanced to candidacy to register for these courses.Repeated courses1. Graduate students are not expected to repeat a course if the minimum grade was earned in thefirst attempt.2. If a course is repeated, both attempts will appear on the student’s transcripts.3. If a course is repeated, all grades are counted in all GPA calculations. (The number of unitsattempted will be increased accordingly in each case.) There is no "course forgiveness" of thefirst grade, which is a policy for SDSU undergraduates. There are two possible exceptions:a) Ignoring the first grade for GPA calculations may be possible in very rare situations wherethe first grade was WU (unauthorized withdrawal), and the program's Graduate Advisor filesa successful petition.b) If the original grade was not deficient, the second grade will not be used in GPA calculations.4. Master's students have a Program of Study (POS), which is a list of courses that will be used forthe degree, approved on a student-by-student basis. For Master's students:a) The minimum grade for each POS course is C, unless the graduate program has a higherrequirement (refer to your program's requirements in the Graduate Bulletin). When a POSgrade falls below this minimum, the same course must be repeated. A different course maybe approved (instead of a repeat) only if the original course is no longer offered.b) Only one course on the Program of Study may be repeated, and prior approval is neededfrom the Graduate Advisor.c) The second attempt for a repeated POS course cannot be taken Credit / No Credit if theoriginal attempt was graded.5. Courses that have been approved for withdrawal are assigned an entry of "W" on the transcripts.Approved withdrawals are not used for any GPA calculations, and do not fulfill anyprogrammatic requirements. Second attempts for these courses are not considered repeats, andare treated as first attempts in every way.revised 2/6/20207

Graduate Student OrientationGraduate Affairs, San Diego State UniversityGrade RequirementsThere are 6 sets of grade requirements for graduate students:1.Some programs define a "core" set of courses that have their own set of minimum graderequirements.2-4. For graduate programs that have a Program of Study (POS):2. A Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 or greater for the POS, excluding transfer courses( "SDSU POS GPA").3. A GPA of 3.00 or greater for the POS, including transfer courses ( "Total POS GPA").4. A minimum grade of C for every course in the filed POS. However, some degree programsrequire higher grades for some or all courses (see the Graduate Bulletin).5.A GPA of 3.00 or greater for 300-level and above courses taken concurrently with, orsubsequent to, the earliest course listed on the POS ( "300 1 GPA"). This includes transfercourses. This does not include courses numbered below 300. If your first POS course is nottaken in your first semester, it does not include any courses in the semesters before the firstPOS course.6.A GPA of 2.85 or greater for all SDSU courses on the graduate record ( "Post-baccalaureateCumulative GPA"). This does not include transfer courses.Similar GPA calculationsGPA calculations 2-6 will be identical when there are no transfer courses, no courses numbered 500, and all courses are on the student's POS.Grade requirements for good academic standingAll students are required to remain in good academic standing by maintaining grade requirement 6(2.85 post-baccalaureate cumulative grade point average). Failing to do so will result in academicprobation. Without immediate improvement, the student will be academically disqualified. Pleaseconsult the section of the Graduate Bulletin titled Probation and Disqualification for detailedinformation regarding the specific timeframe and requirements for avoiding disqualification.Grade requirements for advancement to candidacyTo be advanced to candidacy, all six grade requirements must be met, and 12 minimum POS unitsmust be completed. A few programs require more than 12 units (check the Graduate Bulletin ordiscuss with our advisor).Grade requirements for graduationTo graduate, all six grade requirements must be met.revised 2/6/20208

Graduate Student OrientationGraduate Affairs, San Diego State UniversityTransfer coursesA limited number of transfer units may be applied to a student's graduate degree. However, "transfer" inthis context is defined broadly to include all of the following:1. SDSU Open University (main campus) courses taken before the student is formally enrolled in agraduate program (i.e., before the student is "matriculated"). Each course must be reviewed andapproved by the program's graduate advisor.2. All SDSU College of Extended Studies courses. (Each must be reviewed and approved by theprogram's graduate advisor.)3. Courses from other institutions. (Each must be reviewed and approved by the program'sgraduate advisor.)Graduate students must appreciate that outside courses are viewed very differently in graduatevs. undergraduate degree programs. Courses from other universities are generally not used tofulfill graduate degree requirements, acceptance of outside courses must be agreed on by boththe graduate advisor and Graduate Affairs, and approval is rare. This is fundamentally differentthan the way that outside courses are viewed by undergraduate degree programs.In cases where transfer courses may be applicable, each program's graduate advisor has the primaryresponsibility in reviewing course content, and making a recommendation to Graduate Affairs.Leave of Absence (LOA)One-semester stop outs (no longer available)Prior to Fall 2016, the university permitted "one-semester stop outs". You could remain amatriculated (active) graduate student for one semester even if you took no classes and did notformally apply for a Leave of Absence (LOA). Graduate students not taking classes only had toapply for LOA every second semester. That policy has now ended. If you are not taking classesduring the fall semester or spring semester, and do not file the LOA request, you will losematriculation.Do I need to apply for LOA?1. Yes, if you are in a main campus graduate program, are not registered for one or more maincampus courses, and wish to remain matriculated (active in your graduate program).2. No, if you are in a graduate program run through the College of Extended Studies.3. No, if you only need to apply for graduation.4. No, if you only need to take the comprehensive exam (or file the exam completion form withGraduate Affairs) AND you will not be taking any more main campus classes before completingyour degree. Check with Graduate Affairs if you have questions about this situation.5. No, if you are registered for 799B or 799C through the College of Extended Studies, and will notbe taking any more main campus classes before completing your degree. Check with GraduateAffairs if you have questions about this situation.What if I don't take any classes, and don’t apply for LOA?You will lose matriculation at the beginning of the following semester. You will be required to filean application for readmission in order to take additional main-campus classes (but not 799Bthrough the College of Extended Studies).revised 2/6/20209

Graduate Student OrientationGraduate Affairs, San Diego State UniversityHow do I apply for LOA?1. Apply for LOA through your WebPortal account. LOA will be granted if unavoidablecircumstances prevent you from making progress in your degree program at this time.2. LOA may be requested for only one semester at a time. Students are generally expected toregister for classes and resume their studies in the following semester. If LOA is approved,re

Graduate Student Orientation Graduate Affairs, San Diego State University revised 2/6/2020 4 Appointments as graduate TAs are available to qualified graduate students in all Doctoral programs, and many master’s programs. Graduate TAs must be admitted to San Diego State University with classified or con