Path to Graduation


Course Schedule


CIS 598

Comprehensive Examination

Course Substitution

Transfer of Credits


Downloadable Forms

Contacts and Locations




Path to Graduation


For most students, there are basically three stages to complete on their path to successful graduation with an MSIS degree. These three stages follow the admission of the student to the university to pursue graduate studies.

There is, however, an additional preparatory stage for students who have to complete a set of prerequisites assigned to them as a result of they not meeting some of the entry requirements placed by the College.

Stage 0: Initial Stage of Admission to the University (G0)

Each prospective student, immediately after being admitted to the university and prior to enrolling in any degree program will fall under this category. In this initial stage, the student will fall under the Graduate Unclassified status. This status is unofficially referred to as G0.

Stage 1: Admission to the Program in Graduate Classified (G1) Standing

After being admitted to the University, the separate application filed by the student to gain entry to the MSIS program is reviewed at the College level. A student accepted by the College to the MSIS program will then move to the next stage as a Classified Graduate student that would be confirmed on the students completing an MSIS Program form in consultation with the departmetnal advisor.  

Most students will enter the MSIS program under this category having successfully met the criteria placed upon them by the university as well as the department for entry to the MSIS program. 

Need to Fill and File the Graduate Program Form

Those who gain admission to the MSIS program as a Graduate Classified student, are required to complete a Program of Study Form before starting the program. It can be obtained from the department advisor and it is completed in consultation with the advisor. The form essentially contains the list courses to be taken by a student to meet the required 45 units of courses required for the MSIS program. Once the student and the advisor reach agreement on the selection of courses for the program, both will sign the form.

The signed form will be transmitted to the graduate office (SHC 222) for approval by the associate dean. Following the approval, the student will officially be confirmed to a have attained the Graduate Classified standing. 

The form must be completed and submitted during the first quarter of graduate enrollment at Cal State LA. This graduate program form is a statement of academic requirements that students must complete for the masterís degree. Students must have an approved masterís degree program and must have achieved classified standing before they can be advanced to candidacy for the MSIS degree.

Program Changes

Course Additions/Deletions. Although not encouraged, additions and deletions of courses on an already approved program form is possible. However, a course may not be added to or deleted from a masterís degree program after it has been taken.


Program Change Limitation. No more than nine quarter units beyond the total number of units approved at the time a student achieves classified graduate standing may be added to a studentís masterís degree program.


Special Consideration for Students not Meeting Regular Entry Criteria

Students not meeting the regular entry criteria for the MSIS program at the collge level may be considered for possible entry to the program and assigned prerequisites to be completed prior to being admitted to the program. Only students who meet the criteria for "consideration with prerequisites" as stated in the department's entry requirements will be assigned prerequisites and slated for further consideration.

In this cases, they will remain in the their Graduate Conditionally Classified status that they acquired after being admitted to the university. Once the prerequisites are successfully completed, they will become eligible for admission to the program. Once the completed Graduate Program Form is in the student's file at the Graduate Programs Office, they would have gained the official status as a Graduate Classified student to pursue the MSIS program.

Stage 2: Advancement to Candidacy (G2)

Advancement to candidacy is a part of the continuing process of review of the studentís progress and is not automatic. It is granted by the school graduate dean upon completion of the requirements listed below and upon the recommendation of the major department or division. It is the prerequisite to enrolling for the comprehensive examination. 


Advancement to candidacy requires:

  • Satisfying the Graduation Writing Assessment (WPE) Requirement

  • Classified graduate standing

  •  An approved masterís degree program on file in the school graduate studies office

  • Completion of a minimum of 16 quarter units of the masterís degree program with an overall B(3.0) grade point average or higher

  • Recommendation of the major department or division

  • Approval of the school graduate dean (associate dean)

Where and How to File for Advancement to Candidacy


The advancement


Stage 3: Completion of the CIS 598 Research Requirement and Comprehensive Examination

CIS 598 Graduate Directed Study

A student in the MSIS program is required to complete a research paper for 1 unit of credit. It is listed in the catalog as CIS 598 Graduate Directed Study


How to enroll in CIS 598?


Although there is no specific time period for enrollment, students would normally enroll in CIS 598 as they near completing their MSIS course requirements. Generally, it would be close to the quarter in which they expect to complete the requirements.


Before enrolling in CIS 598, a student need to contact a professor and seek his or her approval to participate in the directed study. A project topic and the work to be done must be agreed upon by both the student as well as his or her supervisor.


Once the area of research is determined and research to be conducted is defined, the student needs to fill a form and submit it to the department secretary at the IS Department located at STF 603. The form will contain the topic and a brief description of the project to be completed. It also requires the signature of the advisor.


The form can be downloaded here: CIS 598 Project Description Form


Thereafter, the student will need to enroll in the section listed as CIS 598 through the GET system.


Students are expected complete the project in the quarter in which they enrolled for CIS 598. The grades are posted at the end of the quarter as in any other CIS courses.

Comprehensive Examination

Only students who have been advanced to candidacy are eligible to enroll for comprehensive examinations (course #596 in their major discipline). In addition, the students should have completed all the core requirements prior being given permission to take the comprehensive examination. 

When to Take the Comprehensive Examination?


Students should expect to take their comprehensive examinations during the quarter in which they complete all course work on their program or shortly thereafter. Those who do not pass the comprehensive examinations must fulfill any department, division, and/or school requirements for subsequent enrollments in these examinations.


Taking the exam ahead of time?


When to declare to take the Comprehensive Examination?


Students must declare to their major department or division, at least one quarter in advance, their intent to take the examination. They must obtain department or division permission and register for the comprehensive examination which carries the course number 596 in their major discipline.


Students who are not enrolled in any credit-bearing course during the quarter in which they take the comprehensive examination must pay the comprehensive examination fee.  Payment of State University, student services, facilities, and associated student fees, or any tuition charges, is not required.



A student can apply for graduation with a MSIS degree by filing an application for graduation (degree check form)  upon successfully fulfilling the requirements for the degree. The check list provided below highlights the requirements for completing the MSIS degree. .


Check List


A check list of requirements for graduation are as follows.

  • Unit Requirement: Completion of at least 45 quarter units in approved courses and any special requirements placed upon the student by the department.

  • Grade Point Average Requirement: Achievement of a minimum B(3.0) grade point average in all courses on the approved degree program. A grade of C is allowed on the program; however, any grade below C requires that the course be repeated with both grades computed in the grade point average.

  • Post-baccalaureate Writing Proficiency Requirement: Fulfillment of the Post-baccalaureate Writing Proficiency Requirement as described in the section entitled WPE.

  • Culminating Experience Requirement: Passing a comprehensive examination within the number of attempts allowed by the department which in the case of the Department of Information Systems is ????

Application for Graduation


After ensuring that all the requirements are met, a student must apply for graduation. Application for graduation (degree check) is made on a form available at Administration 146 or in any academic department or division office. Permission to apply for graduation must be granted by the candidateís major department or division before the completed application and required fee are submitted to the Cashiersí Office for payment of the fee.


Students are required to file an application by the deadline announced in the Schedule of Classes. The application is valid only for the stated quarter. A new application is required from students who do not meet requirements for the stated quarter by the completion deadline announced in the Schedule of Classes. Further information appears in the Undergraduate Study section of the University catalog.



Celebrating your Achievement: The Commencement Exercise


Commencement is held annually at the end of the Spring Quarter. Students who have completed degree requirements the previous Summer, Fall, or Winter Quarter are eligible to participate in the ceremony along with those who complete their work in the Spring Quarter. 


Information bulletins about commencement activities are mailed to the home address of those eligible to participate early in the spring and are available on campus in school, department, and division offices and Administration 146 and 409.


During commencement exercises, degrees are conferred on the candidates by the President of the University. Although each candidate receives a diploma cover during the program, the actual diploma is sent several months later. Within a few weeks after graduation, eligible candidates receive a letter of congratulations in the mail and degrees are posted on the permanent academic records.



A Note on Time Limitation


No subject, unit, or grade credit will be granted for any course completed more than seven years prior to the date of completion of the masterís degree. In extraordinary circumstances, students may petition and the school may grant permission to validate such an expired course by an examination given by and with the concurrence of the department or division offering the course. An expired course taken at another institution may not be validated by examination.


(c) Professor N. Ganesan, All Rights Reserved.