2017-2018 Bulletin 
    Jun 16, 2024  
2017-2018 Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Master’s Degree Regulations

Academic Fields

Various types of master’s degrees are offered in numerous academic fields.  For a full list, see the Degrees Offered  section of this Bulletin.

Unit Requirements

Unit requirements vary by program, although 30 units of graduate credit is the minimum for a master’s degree. Refer to the specific academic program section for individual unit requirements. A student whose program includes a thesis or critique may, on faculty recommendation, receive a maximum of six units of credit for thesis research. Four units of credit may be awarded for writing a critique.

Time to Degree

All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed within the following time limits, based upon the student’s admission or reinstatement semester.

  • 5 calendar years for most master’s degrees
  • 6 calendar years for MBA and EMBA programs

Time to degree may be extended by completing and submitting an Extension of Time for Degree form to the Registrar’s Office. 

Transfer Credit

Refer to the Bulletin section on Transfer credit  for qualifications and limitations specific to master’s degrees.

Degree Milestones

Not all of the requirements on this page may apply to every student’s specific program, so be sure to consult the degree requirements for their individual program. CGU policy requires students to maintain their student status throughout their career at CGU, from enrollment in courses through the completion of exams, internships, theses, and/or all degree requirements. Joint program students should be aware of additional requirements because of their joint program status. 

Specific degree program requirements are known as milestones. Students must be enrolled for the semester in order for milestones to be accepted and recorded on the student’s official transcript. Progress to degree in the successful and timely completion of degree milestones is governed by the University’s policy on satisfactory academic progress . Milestones for the master’s degree may include the following: 

Research Tools

Reading proficiency in an approved foreign language may be required. Students should consult the specific academic program section of the Bulletin for requirements. Substitutions may include statistics, mathematics, computer programming, and others in selected fields. You must demonstrate proficiency by either passing an exam, enrolling in a qualified course and receiving a grade B or better, or other acceptable and documented process. Forms are available on the Registrar’s form index webpage.

Students who have fulfilled a research tool at another institution may petition their faculty to have these research tools accepted. An official transcript is required to substantiate that completion of the applicable coursework occurred within the last three years. Entering students should petition their academic programs as soon as possible after acceptance.

Verification and Documentation: Satisfaction of each required research tool is documented on a Research Tool Approval form. This form is completed by your department and submitted to the Registrar’s Office. Research tools are recorded on your transcript under the Non-Course Milestones section.

Tools Completed Outside CGU: If you completed a research tool at another institution, you may petition to apply the tool to your CGU degree program. Non-CGU tools must meet the following qualifications.

  • Transfer credit requirements apply - that is, graduate level achievement from an accredited institution and documented on an official transcript
  • In compliance with transfer credit policies, grades received in non-CGU coursework must be B or better
  • Tools completed at another institution must have been accomplished within three years of the date you of your petition

If you wish to transfer tools to your CGU degree program, be sure to petition your department as early as possible after you begin your studies at CGU to meet the three year requirement. Submit your request as follows:

  • Complete an academic petition form.
  • Attach an official transcript that documents your completion of the tool. If this information was included in the transcript you provided upon admission, you need not obtain a new transcript. Simply indicate on the petition that your official transcript is already on file. Your department will make and attach a copy of that transcript to your petition.
  • Submit the petition to your department for approval and forwarding to the Registrar’s Office.

Qualifying Examinations

The faculty of a particular field may require a written qualifying examination in addition to or in place of the thesis or critique. Students should consult the specific academic program section of the Bulletin for requirements.

Thesis or Critique

Theses and critiques are required only in certain fields. These documents afford evidence of the candidate’s ability to analyze and evaluate materials as well as to write clearly. A thesis involves the careful design and execution of a research problem. A critique may involve a research problem, may present a critical analysis and evaluation of the literature on a particular subject, or may describe and evaluate a project. A thesis or critique may be prepared either in conjunction with one or more courses, or independently under the guidance of the student’s advisor. Theses or critiques must be read and approved per specific program requirements.

The catalog number for Thesis Research is 399. Using the Enrollment Contract for Independent Study Activities, students may register for a maximum of 6 units of credit for thesis research and 4 units of credit for the critique with faculty approval. Enrollment contracts must document information about the area or focus of research for the thesis or critique. A grade is not assigned until the thesis or critique is completed.

Final Oral Examination

Students submitting a thesis or critique may be required to defend their manuscripts in an oral examination. This examination may also include questions on the candidate’s general field of concentration. The committee conducting the examination normally includes the candidate’s advisor and one or more CGU faculty members with whom the candidate has taken graduate work. In certain fields, a thesis examiner who is not a member of the University faculty may be invited to participate in the examination.

Final Approval & Graduation Requirements

Students must be enrolled continuously, either for credit or through Continuous Registration (400M), until the degree is earned. Students who do not maintain a continuous student status with the University must apply for reinstatement may be required to apply for reinstatement to resume studies and/or to graduate. Please refer to the reinstatement section for procedures. A student who has not maintained continuous student status up to five years must apply for admission. An exception is made for Summer graduates, provided students were enrolled in the previous Spring semester.

Students must submit their Intent to Receive a Degree form to the Registrar’s Office by the deadline announced in the Academic Calendar .

Students will have completed their degree program when all of their grades have been recorded and the Registrar’s Office has received the Final Approval MA-Certificates form from their department.

Note that regardless of the date students complete their degree requirements, CGU confers degrees only once each semester. The degree conferral date is announced in the Academic Calendar  and is usually the last day of the semester.

Thesis Publication


Review Preparing Your Thesis for Submission for thesis pagination and other important information.

Electronic Submission

Master’s candidates are provided an opportunity to publish their thesis using the ProQuest/UMI electronic gateway. Electronic submissions expedite publication and avoid publication and binding costs. Manuscripts and any applicable fees are due to the Registrar’s Office by the degree completion deadline announced in the Academic Calendar . Manuscripts are not released for publication until the Registrar’s Office has received final approval from the department.

Theses are published for CGU by ProQuest/UMI. A national publisher of academic works, ProQuest has provided CGU with an Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD) Administrator to manage the collection, review, and submission of manuscripts to ProQuest. Documents submitted to the ETD are not eligible for publication until approved and released by CGU. For the student author, the ETD provides the following benefits:

  • Lifetime access to the publisher even after graduation - be sure to provide permanent address and e-mail address information
  • PDF conversion tool and other author resources
  • Secure storage of manuscript until released for publication - including an ability to maintain private research or composition notes
  • Efficient collection of author specifications, including copyright and embargos
  • E-mail notifications of all actions taken regarding manuscript during the submission process
  • Publication of manuscript in six weeks - the former paper process required a minimum of six months
  • Ability to order copies of published dissertation
  • Publication and Microfilming/Binding fees are waived for electronic submissions

ETD Account: A thesis may be prepared, reviewed, approved, and submitted electronically. This process is managed by the Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD) Administrator created by ProQuest/UMI, the national publisher to whom CGU submits its academic documents. The ETD Administrator is used for all of the following purposes:

  • To create an electronic–or portable document format (pdf) - version of the manuscript or work
  • To collect author specifications regarding publication, copyright, and any applicable embargos
  • To order print versions of the thesis
  • To communicate with ProQuest/UMI, the publisher, even after the student graduates
  • Create an ETD Account anytime during the manuscript preparation process. If the student is able to create a pdf using other resources, they need not create an account until they are ready to submit a manuscript at the end of the approval process. Creating an account early in the process allows the student to carefully consider the publication options as well as consult a library of publication aids.
  • When creating an account, go to the ETD Administrator gateway and follow the procedures provided. If the student is unable to link to the ETD Administrator, use www.etdadmin.com/cgu to manually type the URL into your browser. The student must submit information in the requested progression at the outset of establishing an author account. Until the thesis is submitted to ProQuest/UMI, the student may return to the initial data input pages and revise information or requests on their account.

Account Creation Requirement: Only the student author may create an ETD account. They will need to specify copyright and embargo instructions, if applicable. They may also need to provide credit card information, such as for copyrights and purchase orders of print copies.

Permanent E-Mail Address: Students will continue to have access to their ETD account even after they leave CGU, so be sure to provide permanent contact information so that ProQuest/UMI can contact the student and/or verify their identity as an author even after graduating from CGU.

Process Acknowledgements: Once the Registrar’s Office submits the manuscript to ProQuest/UMI, the students are notified by e-mail by the ETD Administrator. ProQuest will also notify them once the manuscript is published. If they wish to request the URL of their publication, they may do so at that time by contacting ProQuest/UMI. Questions about the ETD may be referred direct to ProQuest/UMI through the ETD Administrator.

Using the ETD: Go to CGU’s ETD Administrator or type www.etdadmin.com/cgu into the browser.

  • Students should create an account early in the process of working on their thesis. This will allow them time to enter all author specifications, which can be changed before their thesis is moved into the published stage. In addition, you will have access to the many resources on thesis composition available in the ETD.
  • The ETD is your personal author link to the publisher. Only the student author can create and manage the account. Further, ProQuest/UMI provides assistance to authors by answering questions and/or providing referrals to other resources.
  • Complete all author specifications requested by the ETD. The manuscript cannot be published unless the publisher has received the student’s agreements and/or preferences regarding the available options. Note that specifications can be changed at any time before the thesis is sent to ProQuest by CGU. Thesis are published upon receipt by the Registrar’s Office of the final version of the manuscript and all approval forms from the department.
  • Questions about the ETD or ETD Administrator can be directed to ProQuest/UMI, using the author contacts provided in the ETD itself.

Paper Submissions

These may be submitted either in hard copy or via the Electronic Thesis & Dissertation (ETD) website. If submitted electronically no fees are assessed. If submitted in hard copy, fees for the binding of the thesis are $30 (rate subject to change), payable to Claremont Graduate University and submitted to the Registrar’s Office with your thesis. The original and one copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Registrar prior to the deadline for completion. The final date for the submission of theses is listed in the annual Bulletin and Schedule of Classes for the semester in which you have applied to receive your degree.


Students who publish a thesis or critique may wish to consider being included in the academic publication library of Claremont Graduate University at The Claremont Colleges Library. Known collectively as Scholarship@Claremont, the repository provides global visibility for the student author as well as tracking services regarding access to the student’s publication. Interested students are urged to contact the Scholarship@Claremont office prior to graduation to arrange for services.

Master’s Degree Along the Way to the PhD

Doctoral students may qualify for a master’s degree under the following conditions.

  • The student is pursuing a doctoral degree in the same field.
  • The student has completed requirements for the master’s degree.
  • None of the units earned towards the master’s and doctoral degrees are used for another CGU degree.
  • The student submits an Intent to Receive a Degree form.

Once a master’s degree is earned in the same field the student is pursing a doctoral degree, none of the units credited to the two degrees may be applied to or counted toward a subsequent CGU degree.