Sep 27, 2023  
2020/2021 University Catalog 
2020/2021 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Course Information

This section contains the specific requirements for all graduate degrees authorized at San Diego State University by the board of trustees of the California State University. These specific requirements of departments or schools supplement and are in addition to the basic requirements for advanced degrees. All official master’s degree programs must be prepared in conformity with the specific requirements for the degree in question.

In addition, courses acceptable for credit toward an advanced degree are listed under major fields and areas of concentration. Each course is listed by department number, title, and units. Not all courses are offered every semester or every academic year. Ordinarily each listed course will be offered not less than once during a two-year period. Refer to the Class Schedule for a listing of course offerings.

San Diego State University reserves the right to withdraw any course listed in the Class Schedule for which the enrollment is not sufficient to warrant the organization of a class.

NOTE: Select courses are offered at SDSU Imperial Valley.

Absence from Class

Instructor Initiated Drop Policy

Students who do not attend the first class session of a course may be dropped from that course by the instructor within the first eight class days of the semester. Students who do not meet prerequisite requirements can also be dropped within the first eight class days of the semester. Any student dropped by the instructor during this period will be notified of the action by e-mail. It is the student’s responsibility to keep a current e-mail address on file through the SDSU WebPortal at Summer deadlines vary by session. Consult the Class Schedule for specific dates.

NOT ALL INSTRUCTORS WILL DROP STUDENTS WHO MISS THE FIRST CLASS SESSION OR FOR LACK OF PREREQUISITES. Students are responsible for all courses on their schedules. Students should check their online schedules regularly and take necessary action to add or drop during the schedule adjustment period.

Religious Observances

By the end of the second week of classes, students should notify the instructors of affected courses of planned absences for religious observances. Instructors shall reasonably accommodate students who notify them in advance of planned absences for religious observances.

Major Academic Plans (MAPs)

The MAPs website located at was created to help first-time freshmen navigate the course requirements for their majors. Students may also access their personal MAP at The Major Academic Plans (MAPs) created for each major are not meant to encompass every major-specific requirement or a required sequencing of courses.

The MAPs will help you identify which General Education course will also fulfill a major preparation course requirement. They will also suggest sequencing to ensure that you complete prerequisites for an upper-division course prior to taking the higher-level course.

Questions about graduation requirements and General Education should be directed to the Academic Advising Center at 619-594-6668. The Academic Advising Center is located in Student Services West, Room 1551 (north of Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union) and online at

Numbering of Courses

Courses numbered 80 through 99 are nonbaccalaureate level and are not acceptable for a bachelor’s degree; those numbered 100 through 299 are in the lower division (freshman and sophomore years); those numbered 300 through 499 are in the upper division (junior and senior years) and intended for undergraduates; those numbered 500 through 599 are in the upper division and are also acceptable for advanced degrees when taken by students admitted to graduate standing; those numbered 600 through 799 are graduate courses; and those numbered 800 through 899 are doctoral courses.

Courses numbered at the 900 level, except 997, are reserved for graduate courses in certain professional curricula as part of advanced certificate, credential, and licensure programs and are specifically intended for students admitted to the university with post-baccalaureate classified standing. Undergraduate students may enroll in these courses only if they are officially admitted to a blended or integrated program where undergraduate and credential coursework is included in the same program. Courses numbered at the 900 level are not applicable to other graduate programs.

Courses numbered 397 offered in regular sessions are professional advancement/training or tutorial/discussion classes that may accompany other credit courses and are not acceptable towards an undergraduate or graduate degree.

Courses numbered X-01 through X‑79 and X‑397 are professional development units offered only through SDSU Global Campus to meet specific academic needs of community groups and are not acceptable toward an undergraduate or graduate degree.

Credit Hour or Unit

As of July 1, 2011, federal law (Title 34, Code of Federal Regulations, sections 600.2 and 600.4) requires all accredited institutions to comply with the federal definition of the credit hour. For all CSU degree programs and courses bearing academic credit, the “credit hour” is defined as “the amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or 10 to 12 weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.”

A credit hour is assumed to be a 50-minute period. In courses in which “seat time” does not apply, a credit hour may be measured by an equivalent amount of work, as demonstrated by student achievement.

Prerequisites for Undergraduate and Graduate Courses

Students must satisfy course prerequisites (or their equivalent) prior to beginning the course to which they are prerequisite. Students are responsible for knowing the prerequisites of any course for which they intend to enroll (NOTE: Not all courses are checked for prerequisites at the time of registration). Faculty have the authority to enforce prerequisites listed in the current catalog and current Class Schedule, to evaluate equivalent preparation, and to require proof that such prerequisites/preparation have been completed. Students who do not meet prerequisite requirements can be dropped within the first eight days of the semester.

NOT ALL INSTRUCTORS WILL DROP STUDENTS WHO MISS THE FIRST CLASS SESSION OR FOR LACK OF PREREQUISITES. Students are responsible for all courses on their schedules. Students should check their online schedules regularly and take necessary action to add or drop during the schedule adjustment period.

General Education and American Institution Courses

Notations in brackets at the end of course titles in the course listings identify courses which satisfy General Education [GE] and American Institutions [AI] requirements. See Graduation Requirements for the Bachelor’s Degree section in this catalog for full explanation.

Common Courses

Experimental or Selected Studies or Topics or Workshop Courses (96, 296, 496, 596)

Courses offered by departments under the numbers 296, 496, 596 are subject to the following conditions: no more than nine units of such courses shall be applicable toward a bachelor’s degree; such courses may be applicable toward the minor or toward preparation for the major only with the approval of the department chair.

Topics courses may be offered by the departments under the number 96. These courses are nonbaccalaureate level and are not acceptable for a bachelor’s degree or General Education.

Special Study (299, 499, 599)

These courses provide opportunity for individual study of a subject not offered in the regular curriculum. The student does this outside of the classroom and must secure the consent of an instructor to supervise the study before registering for the course. The student should discuss the topic with the instructor and come to an understanding on the amount of time to be devoted to the topic, the credit to be earned, and the mode of investigation and report to be used. As with regular courses, the expectation is that the student will devote three hours per week to the subject for each unit of credit. A maximum combined credit of nine units of 299, 499, and 599 is applicable to a bachelor’s degree. Examination credit awarded for a 299 course is excluded from the nine unit limit. Maximum credit of six units of 499 in one department applicable to a bachelor’s degree.

A 499 or 599 number cannot be used to offer lower division coursework. Also, 299, 499, and 599 cannot be used to extend internships, to award academic credit in place of pay, for work experience, or for class-sized groups.

Credit/No Credit Courses

Courses which are offered for credit/no credit are indicated by the symbols Cr/NC in the course title.

Hybrid, Online, and Intercampus Courses

Hybrid, online, and intercampus classes involve a formal educational process in which student and instructor are not necessarily in the same physical location, but interact in a synchronous or asynchronous manner through technology. Classes in which 20% to 50% of the scheduled sessions are conducted through this process are defined as hybrid. Classes in which greater than 50% of the scheduled sessions are conducted through this process are defined as online. Classes in which the instructor is located on one SDSU campus and interacts with students on another SDSU campus shall be defined as intercampus; such intercampus classes shall be arranged through consultations between the instructor and the appropriate personnel on each campus. For all three class modes, any required synchronous interactions (e.g., weekly sessions, aperiodic examinations, capstone presentations) shall be clearly established in the official schedule of classes with respect to specific dates, days, times, and locations as appropriate. Hybrid, online, and intercampus courses offered each term can be found in the Class Schedule.

Faculty Office Hours

All faculty members are required to hold regularly scheduled office hours during the week to allow for student consultation. A schedule of those hours and contact information is posted outside each faculty member’s office door and on their course syllabi.


San Diego State University is accredited by the Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda CA 94501, 510-748-9001; FAX 510-748-9797; It is also approved to train veterans under the G.I. Bill.

San Diego State University’s programmatic accreditation is through membership in the following associations:

Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
415 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
(Preventive Medicine Residency Program)
401 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60611

American Chemical Society
Committee on Professional Training
1155 Sixteenth Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

American College of Nurse Midwives Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education
8403 Colesville Road, Suite 1550
Silver Spring, MD 20910

American Psychological Association (Clinical Psychology)
750 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
1900 Capitol Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95811

Commission on Accreditation Athletic Training Education
6850 Austin Center Boulevard, Suite 100
Austin, TX 78731

Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education
6110 Executive Boulevard, Suite 614
Rockville, MD 20852

Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education
112 South Alfred Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Council for Interior Design Accreditation
206 Grandville Avenue, Suite 350
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Council of Graduate Schools
One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 230
Silver Spring, MN 20910

Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
2200 Research Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20850

Council on Education for Public Health
1010 Wayne Avenue, Suite 220
Washington, D.C. 20005

Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
1001 North Fairfax Street, Suite 510
Alexandria, VA 22314

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
1701 Duke Street, Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314

National Association of School Psychologists
4340 East West Highway, Suite 402
Bethesda, MD 20814

National Association of Schools of Art and Design
11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21
Reston, VA 20190

National Association of Schools of Theatre
11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21
Reston, VA 20190

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
1140 19th Street, Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20036

National Council on Rehabilitation Education
1099 E. Champlain Drive, Suite A, #137
Fresno, CA 93740

National Recreation and Park Association
22377 Belmont Ridge Road
Ashburn, VA 20148

Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration
1029 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005

Western Association of Graduate Schools
University of Washington, The Graduate School
Box 351240
Seattle, WA 98195

In addition, San Diego State University is accredited by the following agencies:

The Fowler College of Business and the School of Accountancy are accredited by AACSB International-The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Several Fowler College of Business programs are registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, 1425 K Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20005, 202-379-2200.

The College of Engineering undergraduate programs in aerospace engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, construction engineering, electrical engineering, environmental engineering and mechanical engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET, 415 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, 410-347-7700,

The School of Journalism and Media Studies programs in advertising, journalism, and public relations are accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, Stauffer-Flint Hall, 1435 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-3973,

The School of Nursing is approved by the California State Board of Nursing, State of California, Department of Consumer Affairs, 400 R Street, Suite 4030, Sacramento, CA 95814, 916-322-3350. The baccalaureate and master’s degrees in the School of Nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791,

Concentrations in Environmental Health and Occupational Health, in the Graduate School of Public Health are accredited by the American Board for Engineering and Technology, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202, 410-347-7700.

The undergraduate program in Athletic Training in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, 2201 Double Creek Drive, Suite 5006, Round Rock, TX 78664, 512-733-9700,

Foods and Nutrition, the Didactic Program in Dietetics in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences is approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606, 800-877-1600,

Special Topics Courses 596 and 696

No more than 12 units of coursework numbered 596 and/or 696 may be applied to a graduate degree; up to six units for an advanced certificate program with approval of the graduate adviser and graduate dean of the Division of Graduate Affairs. Special topics courses may also not constitute more than half the units toward a degree or certificate program.

Special Prerequisites for Registration in 798 and 799A

Registration in course 798, Special Study, must be arranged through the instructor, the major adviser, and the chair of the department concerned. Forms for this purpose are available in the departmental offices.

Only those students who have been advanced to candidacy and who have an officially appointed thesis committee are permitted to register for course 799A, Thesis. The student must obtain clearance for registration in this course from the Division of Graduate Affairs. Failure to obtain this clearance may result in cancellation of enrollment.

Thesis Extension (799B)

This course is intended solely for those graduate students who have had prior registration in Thesis 799A with an assigned grade symbol of SP or RP. Credit is issued for 799B if the final version of the thesis (approved by Montezuma Publishing) is submitted, paid for, and published by the publishing deadline that semester. If this does not happen, the 799B course has not been completed and a grade of NC (no credit) is issued. After receiving a grade of NC in 799B, students can register again for 799B in a future semester. A grade of NC is issued each time a 799B student does not submit his or her thesis to Montezuma Publishing by that semester’s deadline. Although credit may be given retroactively for the outstanding report in progress (RP) in 799A, any 799B NC grades from previous semesters remain NC.

Comprehensive Examination Extension (799C)

Enrollment in 799C (0 units) is intended solely for those graduate students who have completed all degree requirements except for the comprehensive examination (Plan B) option. Enrollment in 799C is not necessary if a student is enrolled in other coursework during the semester they take the comprehensive examination. Enrollment in 799C is limited to two semesters. A grade of NC is issued for 799C if during the term the student is registered in 799C does not complete the comprehensive exam. Students who have satisfied the comprehensive exam requirement are not allowed to register in 799C.

Special Prerequisite for Registration in 899

Registration in course 899, Doctoral Dissertation, is limited to those doctoral students who have been advanced to candidacy and who have an officially appointed dissertation committee.