Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 University Catalog 
2024-2025 University Catalog

Nondegree Curricula

Preprofessional Programs

Entrance into professional schools is becoming increasingly competitive; therefore, it is imperative that students begin planning their curriculum at the earliest possible time in conjunction with the appropriate academic adviser and your preprofessional adviser.

Students who hold undergraduate degrees who wish to take courses for professional schools may do so through Open University with SDSU Global Campus.

Prelegal Curriculum

The prelegal program is pursued in conjunction with a degree program. There is no specific prelaw program leading to a bachelor’s degree. Students interested in the legal profession should consult with the university prelaw adviser regarding the entrance requirements of the specific law school they hope to attend.

The following curriculum is designed to meet the requirements of standard American schools of law for a broad and liberal education, while at the same time providing desirable flexibility in the individual programs. A focus on a rigorous curriculum of courses for those interested in law and legal issues is strongly recommended.

There are two patterns of concentration which will usually be indicated for the prelegal student, either of which may be selected, in consultation with the adviser, to fit best the interests of the student. These are the major-minor pattern and the liberal studies major pattern. Subject to individual variation, the fields of political science, history, criminal justice, English, communication and philosophy should receive first consideration when choosing the pattern of concentration as being the most effective background for later professional study in law.

The following courses of study are recommended. Lower division: POL S 101  and POL S 102 , and a year course in history. Upper division: In the junior and senior years students will plan their course with the counsel of their adviser in terms of the field of law in which they plan to work, but keep in mind the entrance requirements and examinations for admission to schools of law. The following list should receive prime consideration by all prelegal students in the selection of courses, though it is to be thought of as flexible in accordance with student needs. PHIL 341 , PHIL 342 , POL S 320 POL S 346 , POL S 347A , and/or POL S 347B , SOC 443  / SOC 543 , AFRAS 380 . Additional: ECON 380 , HIST 536 , POL S 301A  and/or POL S 301B POL S 348 , POL S 541 .

In addition to the courses taken in the fields of concentration, upper division electives in English, philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and writing, sociology, and speech communication are recommended. A mastery of English (for written and oral communication) is essential. A certificate in Public Law is also recommended so students can diversify their studies by obtaining multiple perspectives on the use of law to regulate social problems.

Students interested in pursuing a legal career are counseled by the university prelaw adviser. Through this office, prelegal students receive information and advice concerning law school application and admission procedures. The university prelaw adviser can be contacted through the Department of Political Science.

Health Professions Advising Office

The Health Professions Advising Office provides information and guidance for predental, premedical, preoptometry, prepharmacy, prephysician assistant, and preveterinary students as they prepare and apply for admission to professional programs. There is no premed major. Students work with their major adviser and the prehealth adviser to establish an academic plan that includes prehealth requirements as part of, or in addition to, degree requirements. Most prehealth students major in the sciences, but students may pursue any major as long as they also complete coursework required for their chosen health profession.

Prehealth professions students must attend a health professions information session to learn about general requirements and establish a file in the Health Professions Advising Office. Prehealth students should meet each semester with the prehealth adviser. Special topics courses are offered for prehealth students and the many campus prehealth student organizations provide opportunities for students to learn more about specific health professions.

Students may sign up for a health professions information session and open a file any time after the beginning of the semester. The Health Professions Advising Office is located in GMCS 323. Contact the office at 619-594-3030 or visit http://hpao.sdsu.edu. NOTE: Prephysical therapy and preoccupational therapy students should contact an adviser in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, located in ENS 353 or call 619-594-5161, for additional information.

Preoccupational Therapy

Students interested in a career in occupational therapy may major in a variety of areas including psychology, kinesiology, art, or biology. There are several schools in California that offer B.S. or M.S. degrees in occupational therapy. Students must complete certain courses required by each school; in general, these include courses in the humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences. For further information, contact the American Occupational Therapy Association at http://www.apta.org.

Prephysical Therapy

The prephysical therapy curriculum is pursued in conjunction with an established major. Students ordinarily select a major in kinesiology (emphasis in prephysical therapy) and complete selected coursework in other departments. Another major often selected is biology. Prephysical therapy students should confer with their departmental adviser prior to initial registration, and at least once each semester regarding their program progress. Course requirements for entry to a graduate program in physical therapy vary according to the institution. Information regarding entrance requirements for specific physical therapy schools is available through the American Physical Therapy Association website at http://www.apta.org. Each student should consult the major adviser for the level of course required when there are alternatives. It is recommended that students consult at least two years prior to graduation with the physical therapy schools to which they are planning to apply in order to learn the details of the entrance requirements for those particular institutions. Students should expect to fulfill the following general requirements for admission: (1) specific course requirements as outlined above; (2) volunteer experience in a hospital or clinical physical therapy program, under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist; (3) satisfactory completion of the GRE examination; (4) overall GPA of 3.0 or better (the average GPA of applicants accepted to a physical therapy program is 3.5) and; (5) grades of “B” or better in basic science courses (biology, chemistry, physics).

Preparation for Other Professions

Full programs of professional study in other fields, such as agriculture, forestry, architecture, and theology, are not available at San Diego State University. However, students who may wish to take some undergraduate work in liberal arts at this university can also begin coursework in preparation for such programs. Students are advised to consult the catalog of the university to which they expect to transfer to determine requirements before arranging the program. Further information may be obtained from the assistant dean of students in the appropriate college at San Diego State University.

Preprofessional Advising

It is recommended that students contact their preprofessional adviser in their first semester at SDSU. Advisement for students planning to attend professional schools is available for the following programs:


  • Geology/Mathematics/Computer Science, Room 323, 619-594-3030


  • Nasatir Hall, Room 126, 619-594-6244


  • Geology/Mathematics/Computer Science, Room 323, 619-594-3030

Preoccupational Therapy             

  • Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, Room 331, 619-594-5161


  • Geology/Mathematics/Computer Science, Room 323, 619-594-3030


  • Geology/Mathematics/Computer Science, Room 323, 619-594-3030

Prephysical Therapy       

  • Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, Room 359, 619-594-5161

Prephysician Assistant  

  • Geology/Mathematics/Computer Science, Room 323, 619-594-3030

Prepodiatric Medicine  

  • Geology/Mathematics/Computer Science, Room 323, 619-594-3030

Presocial Work 

  • Hepner Hall, Room 109, 619-594-0780

Preveterinary Medicine

  • Geology/Mathematics/Computer Science, Room 323, 619-594-3030

* Advisers in prelaw are not available during the summer months.

Certificate Programs

Basic Certificate

The purpose of the basic certificate program is to provide individuals whose educational objectives do not require a degree program the opportunity to participate in university academic activities designed to meet specific educational needs.

Ordinarily, credit certificate programs are available to matriculated and nonmatriculated students. Students seeking a certificate must apply for admission according to the guidelines set forth by the individual certificate programs. Graduate students interested in a basic certificate should first consult with the appropriate department and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships regarding course requirements and financial aid implications.

Coursework for a basic certificate shall not duplicate in content and level the student’s prior educational experience. Unless otherwise stated, a student may apply no more than six units of coursework from a basic certificate program toward a major or minor with the approval of the department.

For a complete listing of certificate programs offered by San Diego State University, refer to the Curricula Summary  section of this catalog.

Graduate Certificate Programs (Advanced Certificate - Post-Baccalaureate)

The advanced certificate at the post-baccalaureate entry level provides students a program of coursework leading to a specific applied goal. The general educational background of a bachelor’s degree with a major in the appropriate field(s) of study is prerequisite to such a certificate. Courses taken for an advanced certificate program may be applied to a master’s degree with the recommendation of the program adviser and approval from the College of Graduate Studies. A student wishing to be admitted to an advanced certificate must meet the criteria specified under General Admission Requirements. The student must also meet the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards prescribed by the appropriate department and the Graduate Council. Advanced certificate students are governed by the same regulations as master’s degree students when accepting courses taken prior to matriculation. Students in an advanced degree program that wish to add the advanced certificate concurrently must be formally admitted to the certificate no later than halfway through master’s degree completion, and when no more than half of the advanced certificate units are completed. Students are ineligible to pursue two advanced certificates concurrently. Courses applied toward one advanced certificate cannot be used toward the completion of a second advanced certificate.

It is the student’s responsibility to maintain a grade point average of at least a 3.0 in all certificate courses, earn at least a grade of C (or better if specified by the department) on courses required for the certificate. A certificate must be completed within six years and a student must maintain good academic standing. With the recommendation of the program adviser and approval of the College of Graduate Studies, a student may include up to six units of 596 and 696 courses toward the fulfillment of the requirements. Courses used toward the fulfillment of a basic certificate cannot be used to fulfill the requirements for an advanced certificate.

Graduate students interested in a basic certificate should first consult with the appropriate department and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships regarding course requirements and financial aid implications.

Professional Certificate

The purpose of the professional certificate is to provide students with professional development opportunities through SDSU’s Global Campus. Professional certificate programs do not carry academic credit transferable toward a degree at SDSU. For more information and a list of certificates offered, please visit SDSU Global Campus.