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Frequently Asked Questions


Graduate Admissions

Specific Degree Programs

Financial Resources

General Questions


Graduate Admissions

1. What is the admission process and timeline for graduate students? 

Graduate admission to CSULA is a two step process.  Applicants must meet the requirements of both the University and their intended program to complete the admissions process.  Once all necessary documents are received, the Office of University Admissions usually is able to make a decision regarding the first step of the process within four to six weeks for domestic applicants.

Graduate applicants should contact the program they are interested in to learn that program's departmental requirements, deadlines and processing timelines.

2. What are the GPA requirements for acceptance into graduate programs?

Students should check with the individual department for updated information. In general, the minimum University GPA is 2.5 in the last 90 quarter units of undergraduate coursework.  Master’s program with a minimum GPA requirement other than 2.5 are listed below:

MA - Art Education – 3.0

MA - Art History – 3.0

Master of Fine Art (MFA) – 3.0

MA - Anthropology - 2.75

MA - Child and Family Studies – 2.75.

MA - Communication Disorders – 3.0

MA – Communication Studies – 3.0

MS - Criminal Justice – 2.75

MS - Criminalistics – 2.75  

MA - Education - check with Charter College of Education

MA – English – 3.0

MS - Geological Sciences - 2.75

MA - History -  3.0

MA - Kinesiology and Nutritional Science – 2.75

MA – Modern Languages and Literatures – 2.75 - 3.0

Master of Music (MM) – contact Department of Music

MS - Nursing and Health Science – 2.75

MA - Political Science - 3.00

MS - Public Administration - 2.75

MA/MS - Psychology - 2.75

MA - Sociology - 2.75

Master of Social Work (MSW) – 2.75

MA - Theater Arts - 3.0

3. Can I take graduate courses prior to graduate admission? 

Yes, restrictions may apply to individual courses.  Check the Schedule of Classes for restrictions and/or department approval.

4. Which departments require Graduate    Admissions Tests (GRE/GMAT) for admission?

The following is a list of graduate programs which require a graduate admissions test:

§ MBA Business Administration –(GMAT)

§ MS Civil Engineering (if below 2.75)

§ MA Communication Disorders

§MS Criminal Justice (includes new option in Forensic Mental Health)

§MS Criminalistics

§ MA Economics

§ MS Mechanical Engineering (if below 2.75)

§ MS Psychology – with stipulations, must contact department

§ MSW Social Work

5. I need to delay my entrance for graduate school. Will I have to reapply for admission? –

Yes, an application to the university will have to be submitted for the quarter the student is planning to attend. The student should also check with the department they intend to enter for re-application procedures to the department.

6. How can I find out the status of my application?

You may contact the admissions office at  (323)343-3901. 

7. If I have not applied to the university and would like pre-admission counseling, where should I go?

If you are unclear as to which degree program you wish to pursue, you can make an appointment to see the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies & Research by calling (323) 343-3820, or, if you wish to find out more information about a specific program offered, call the department office to make an appointment with the graduate advisor. Click here to view office listings.

8. Are letters of recommendation required? If so, to whom do I turn those letters in? –

At least two letters of recommendation are required for most programs. It is best to check with the specific department you are applying to, and to whom the letters should be addressed to.

9. If I am interested in getting a certificate, which application do I fill out?

Certificate applicants are required to complete the Graduate/Post-baccalaureate Application for Admission. Applicants should inquire to the department offering the certificate for specific guidelines.

10. Can I apply to a masters program and to the credential program at the same time? If so, what is the procedure to declare both programs?

Yes, courses for both a master’s degree and credential can be taken concurrently. Students need to inquire with the department offering the master’s degree to ensure the correct credential courses are taken through the Charter College of Education. Additional guidelines from the Charter College of Education can be obtained by contacting the Student Services Office at (323) 343-4320.

11. Are letters of recommendation required? If so, to whom do I turn those letters in? –

At least two letters of recommendation are required for most programs. It is best to check with the specific department you are applying to, and to whom the letters should be addressed to.

12. If I am interested in getting a certificate, which application do I fill out?

Certificate applicants are required to complete the Graduate/Post-baccalaureate Application for Admission. Applicants should inquire to the department offering the certificate for specific guidelines.

13. Can I apply to a masters program and to the credential program at the same time? If so, what is the procedure to declare both programs?

Yes, courses for both a master’s degree and credential can be taken concurrently. Students need to inquire with the department offering the master’s degree to ensure the correct credential courses are taken through the Charter College of Education. Additional guidelines from the Charter College of Education can be obtained by contacting the Student Services Office at (323) 343-4320.

14. What is “Special Action Admission” and what is the procedure for getting a Special Action Admission?

Special Action Admission is a process of admission for students whose GPA is below 2.5. (minimum university requirement). The academic department which offers the degree should be contacted to see if this option is available to the student.

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Specific Degree Programs

1. I have a specific career objective in mind, but a graduate program in my field does not exist.  Who do I talk to first?

The Interdisciplinary Studies program provides a mechanism by which a student can combine two, but no more than three disciplines within the University. The Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research can direct you through the process. For more information, click here.

2. How can I set up an appointment to see the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies?

Call the Graduate Studies and Research Office at (323) 343-3820.  

3. How can I apply to a Certificate Program?

Students who have a baccalaureate may enroll in a certificate program to receive specialized instruction and training within a particular field. Students who pursue a certificate must fulfill admission criteria and program requirements established by the departments, divisions, and schools that offer the programs. Check with the academic department which offers the certificate for details.

4. Can I take courses for the master’s degree before I complete coursework for the bachelor’s degree? 

Undergraduate students may register for 500-level courses if the department/division chair determines that space is available. These students must satisfy all prerequisites for the course and obtain the approval of the instructor, the principal graduate adviser, and the chair of the department/division that offers the course.

5. Can I work on two masters simultaneously?

Students who are currently enrolled in a master’s degree program at Cal State L.A. may concurrently complete an additional option under the same degree if the department/division and college concerned verify that the additional option requires significantly different knowledge, skill, and course work. The additional option must include a minimum of 23 quarter units of course work that is specific to the option (not included in the previous option) and an appropriate culminating experience (thesis/project or comprehensive examination). An approved program plan for each option is required. For more information, contact the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.

6. What is the procedure for changing my master’s program to another field?

Speak to your faculty and or graduate advisor in your present field to find out how best to pursue a change in courses of study. If it is a completely different field, you would need to apply to the new department just as you applied to your present program. If it is a different option in the same department, the department may generate the paperwork directly to the appropriate offices.

7. How many units can I take and receive credit before my program is approved?

No more than 13 quarter units of acceptable course work completed before approval by the principal graduate adviser, major department/division, and college graduate dean may be included on a master’s degree program. This includes acceptable transfer work. Credit for thesis (i.e., 599), research (i.e., 597), and comprehensive examinations (i.e., 596) is not transferable. All other course work included on the master’s degree program must be completed after approval by the principal graduate adviser, major department/division, and college graduate dean. This policy shall not apply to students admitted to a master’s degree program offered jointly with other educational institutions.

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Financial Resources

1. What are the resources available for financial support for graduate students at this university?

There are various sources available. Click here to view resources.

2. What are the financial resources available for students planning to proceed to a doctoral program?

The two programs available are the Pre-Doctoral program (if you have an interest in pursuing a doctoral) and the Forgivable Loan program (upon entering a doctoral program or currently in a doctoral program).

3. What financial support is available for international students and/or non-residents of California?

There is limited sources of financial support for international and/or non-California resident students. The International Student Fee Waiver is available for qualifying CSULA international graduate students. Click here for more information.

4. Is there funding available to support students who wish to present papers at conferences and/or professional meetings?

The “Student Application Travel Support for Presentations at National Conferences” is available in the Office of Graduate Studies and Research, Administration 710.  In addition, the Pre-Doctoral Program can provide funds. 

more information about financial resources...

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General Questions

1. How much is the application fee?

The cost to apply to the university is $55.00. This is a non-refundable fee which cannot be deferred if student does not enroll the quarter applied to.

2. Which graduate programs are offered at Cal State LA? –

Click here to view Catalog contents.  

3. Where can I get a University catalog?

Catalogs can be purchased at the bookstore in the University Student Union, (323) 343-2500.

4. What is the definition of a “full-time student”?

A graduate student is considered full-time if they are enrolled for either 8 quarter units of 500-level courses, or 12 quarter units of 400-level and 500-level coursework in any one quarter.

5. I cannot attend next quarter; will I still maintain my continuing status?

You may take up to two quarters off without breaking continuing student status. Upon applying for and getting an approved Leave of Absence, graduate students may take a maximum of four quarters per year without breaking their continuing student status, of which the preceding two quarters will be included.  

6. If I need to take more than 1 or 2 quarters off, what do I do?

A student must apply for a Leave of Absence if they plan to take more than TWO successive quarters off. You must apply for a leave of absence no less than 3 weeks before the end of the quarter before the proposed leave. Only one year (4 quarters) is allowed for graduates.

7. How do I apply for leave of absence from my graduate program?

Petitions for Leave of Absence are available at Administration 146, or click here to retrieve forms. All required signatures must be obtained before submitting to Administration 146.  

8. What is the procedure for changing my status from undeclared to declared?

The department office personnel of the program you are entering will generate the necessary paperwork to the appropriate records office.

9. What does the Department of Graduate Studies and Research do?

The Office of Graduate Studies and Research provides leadership and service to promote higher education.  The office is the administrative office over the graduate curriculum, policies and procedures and oversees the following programs for CSLA graduate students: Graduate Equity Fellowship Program; International Graduate Student Tuition Waiver Program; the California Pre-Doctoral Program; and the CSU Forgivable Loan/Doctoral Incentive Program.

10. Where is your office located?

The Office of Graduate Studies and Research is located in the Administration Building, Room 710.

11. What are your office hours?

Our hours of operation are the following: Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  and Friday, 8:30 – 5:00

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