Graduate Student FAQ
What's the most important thing a graduate student can
do to be successful?
READ! Read about being a graduate student. Particularly, read Part Three and
Four of the Graduate Bulletin. These
pages inform you about fees, admissions, residency, regulations and the
requirements for doctoral and masters degrees. Refer to the Graduate Bulletin
often. The Graduate Bulletin is available in the Aztec Bookstore and on
line at http://arweb.sdsu.edu/es/catalog/bulletin/ Communicating with your program adviser or director will be important to your success as well.
What is a Red ID Number?
The Red ID Number (a 9-digit number, beginning with the number "8,"
shown on your admission letter) is the reference number used to identify you
and your student record. If you do not have this number, or have misplaced it,
contact the Registrar's Office (619-594-6871). You will also need to pick up your ID card as well. Please see the Card Office website for more information.
What is Classified Admission?
Students admitted with classified standing have met all university and
department requirements for admission. Classified students are fully eligible
to proceed with courses for their graduate program of study, and should not be
required to take any prerequisites or meet any additional requirements beyond
those listed in the Graduate Bulletin for all students.
What if I have been admitted Conditionally?
Students admitted conditionally have not met all university or department
requirements for admission. Conditionally admitted students are typically
required to take prerequisite courses or maintain a minimum GPA during their
first several semesters of attendance. The specific conditions, and the
allotted time period for completing them, are set by the student's department.
If you have been admitted conditionally, please contact your graduate advisor
for specific information regarding your conditions.
When the conditions of admission have been met, how do
I request classified standing
Adequate completion of a student's conditions is determined by the department.
If you believe that you have satisfied your conditions, or would like to
request more time to meet them, download the Change of Status form at Change of
Status Form. Once this form has been signed by the Graduate Advisor, it
should be returned to GRA for final evaluation.
How do I register for classes?
Registration for classes is completed online through Web Portal. However,
prior to registration, required fees must be paid. Payment may be made either
(1) by check made payable to SDSU; (2) online (http://www.sdsu.edu/sfs)
using personal checking account information or with a credit card through
CASHNET SmartPay (http://commerce.cashnet.com/sdsu_sp).
Once fees are paid, you may access registration through your Web Portal account.
What is a Program of Study (POS)?
The Program of Study (POS) is a contract between the student, the
department, and the university. The POS consists of the complete list of
courses a student will take in order to satisfy the requirements for the
degree. It includes both required coursework and electives. The POS can only be
submitted by students with classified graduate standing. The graduate advisor
and student consult about the Program of Study. Once an agreement is reached,
the advisor submits the POS to the Graduate Division electronically for review.
If the POS meets all university requirements it is given final approval by the
Graduate Dean and becomes binding.
How do I change my Program of Study (POS) once it has
If you wish to alter an approved POS, a Petition for Adjustment of Academic
Requirements must be supported by the graduate advisor and approved by the
GRA. You must complete the Petition, obtain the signature of the graduate
advisor, and submit the Petition to the GRA. When approved, a copy will be
mailed to you.
How many units of transfer, extension, or foreign
university credit may be used on a Program of Study (POS)?
In most graduate programs the maximum transfer credit allowed is 9 units. This
includes coursework taken through the SDSU College of Extended Studies. (Refer
to page 36 of the 2007-2008 Graduate Bulletin for specific exceptions.) All
transfer credit must have been taken at an appropriately accredited university,
and approved by the graduate advisor and the Graduate Dean.
What does it mean to be Advanced to Candidacy?
A student who has been advanced to candidacy has been officially recognized by
the university as a candidate for the degree. In order to be advanced to
candidacy a student must have an approved Program of Study (POS) on file,
completed a minimum number of POS units, and have a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Students are typically nominated for advancement by their department, and
reviewed for advancement by the GRA at the time the POS is submitted. If
approved for advancement to candidacy, the student becomes eligible to file the
Appointment of Thesis/Project Committee form in preparation for enrollment in
thesis (Plan A), or to sit for the comprehensive examination (Plan B). For a
list of advancement requirements, and for exceptions to the rules listed above,
please refer to the Graduate Bulletin.
How soon should I think about my thesis?
It is never too early to start thinking about the thesis. Preparing a
dissertation or thesis (from the proposal development stage to the final
manuscript) requires advance planning. Purchase and read the SDSU Dissertation
& Thesis Manual (available from the Aztec Bookstore) as soon as possible. As you progress through the
Program of Study, a topic of interest will develop. Seek out the advice and
counsel of faculty members within your academic department and determine their
willingness to chair your thesis committee. Two additional members (one within
your department, one from outside your department) must also be secured in
order to complete the thesis committee. If the research involves human or
animal subjects, prior approval must be obtained from the appropriate
university office, i.e., the Institutional Review Board or the Institutional
Animal Care and Use Committee. Once a student has been advanced to candidacy,
the Appointment of Thesis/Project Committee paperwork may be filed, and the
final step in the culminating experience (writing and publication of the
thesis) can officially begin.