2022-2023 Bulletin: Policies and General Information 
    Mar 25, 2023  
2022-2023 Bulletin: Policies and General Information

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 & Certificates  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, and to the Application of Units to Multiple CGU Degrees  page. 

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 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. Completed and approved theses must be submitted for publication by appropriate degree deadline listed in the Academic Calendar .  See the Thesis Publication section below for details.

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

Graduation is only available to currently active CGU students (Summer graduates must have been enrolled in the previous Spring semester). Former students seeking to graduate should refer to the Reinstatement  section for procedures. 

Thesis Publication

Theses must follow the Thesis (master’s) Formatting and Filing Requirements.  


Review Thesis Formatting & Filing Requirements document (available on the Registrar’s Form Index webpage) for thesis formatting requirements.

Electronic Submission

Master’s theses should be submitted to the Registrar’s Office electronically through the ProQuest Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) Administrator after academic department approval and by the deadline announced in the Academic Calendar .  Documents submitted to the ETD are not eligible for publication until approved by CGU.

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 pursuing a doctoral degree, none of the units credited to the two degrees may be applied to or counted toward a subsequent CGU degree.