Graduation Requirements

Chronological Steps To Be Followed In Graduate Study

Satisfying the University's Written English Requirement

It is University policy that all graduate students must demonstrate competence in written English as a requirement for graduation. Moreover, this must be done before being advanced to candidacy for the master's degree — that is, before the Office of Graduate Studies will approve a Graduate Degree Program for the degree.

All Civil Engineering graduate students are strongly advised to satisfy the writing requirement as soon as possible after beginning graduate study so that approval of a Graduate Degree Program and Advancement to Candidacy can be achieved in no less than one semester before intended graduation. Plan A students (those who intend to do a thesis) should satisfy the requirement in the first semester of graduate study.

A list of ways to satisfy this requirement can be found in the latest SJSU Catalog. They are summarized below.

Graduate students enrolling in the Fall 2020 semester or later must follow University Policy S19-3 [pdf] which requires that all graduate students demonstrate competency in written English for advancement to candidacy within a master’s program.

Graduate students may satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) in one of three ways:

  1. Satisfactory completion of a GWAR course. Each graduate program has a designated GWAR course embedded within the degree requirements. Students should refer to their program’s degree requirements - see a list of graduate programs on the College of Graduate Studies section of the catalog;
  2. Approval by the College of Graduate Studies of a professional publication written in English for which the candidate was a primary author.
  3. Completion of a master’s or doctoral program with a substantive writing requirement at an accredited university in which the primary language of instruction is English unless a department requires additional documentation of writing proficiency.

The current certified GWAR courses are:

*Passing a course does not necessarily satisfy the writing requirement. The instructor of each course has the option to notify the department graduate coordinator and the student in writing stating that the student's work has not been sufficient for GWAR.

*If you took a course before 2018 you must check with the Graduate Coordinator that the course was certified at the time of your enrollment.

Admission to Candidacy and Graduate Degree Program

After completing the writing requirement and receiving classified status and completing nine units of graded work, the student should then apply for candidacy for the M.S. degree.

The "request for approval of candidacy" form includes a listing of the courses (30 units) which will be used as the student's graduate degree program. Makeup courses, courses which are required in the department'sundergraduate program, and lower division courses may not be included in the graduate degree program.

At the time this request is submitted the student must meet the following scholarship requirements:

  1. A 3.0 GPA for all courses taken since matriculation. (At SJSU and other universities).

The graduate degree program must include the following:

  1. At least 15 units of 200 level courses in Civil Engineering.
  2. At least 21 units of work in residence at SJSU.
  3. A minimum of 18 units of graded coursework.
  4. No more than 6 units of CE 299 thesis courses.
  5. Completion of SJSU graduate writing requirement (GWAR)

Preparing to File your Candidacy Form

  • Complete graduate writing requirement. The requirement can be satisfied either by taking an appropriate graduate class in the CEE Department or by taking the WST and E200W.
  • Be a classified graduate student.
  • Fill out a candidacy form. The form must be typed.
  • List only 10 graduate/elective courses with grades and semesters taken on the form.
  • On the form, select one of three: thesis, project or culminating experience. Culminating experience could be the comprehensive oral examination or a written test.

Filing your Candidacy Form

  • Attach a copy of your Letter of Admission into the MS. Program in Civil Engineering with the candidacy form.
  • Attach a copy of your most recent transcripts, showing all courses taken while a graduate student here at San Jose State University.
  • Meet with your graduate advisor to review the candidacy form.
  • Your advisor will submit your form to the Department Graduate Coordinator for processing. You will be contacted by the CEE Office to either come and fix any errors or to pick up a signed copy of your candidacy form for your record.

Here is an example of how to fill out your candidacy form [pdf].

Note: You must be a M.S. degree candidate (your candidacy form must be approved) before you can take the M.S. degree culminating experience examination.

Apply for the M.S. Degree Award

Apply for the award of the M.S. degree by the deadline dates. The payment of the diploma fee is a part of this process.

Complete a Culminating Experience

This may be done by completing an acceptable thesis (Plan A), creative project or comprehensive examination (Plan B).

Finishing the M.S. Degree Requirements

  1. Complete all the courses on the approved graduate program with grades of A, B, C, or CR.
  2. Maintain a 3.0 GPA in:
    1. All CE courses on the approved graduate program.
    2. All courses on the approved graduate program.
    3. All upper division and graduate courses taken at SJSU while a post-baccalaureate student at SJSU.

NOTE: More complete details and additional information can be found in the Policies and Procedures section of the current SJSU Catalog.

Steps for completing the MS Degree Program

  1. Attend the CE MS Welcome Back event.
  2. Familiarize yourself with SJSU Policies on completing requirements for the MSCE Degree.
  3. Identify your Primary and Secondary Areas of Specialization with the CE Main Office.
    1. Complete the Change of Specialization form if your choice changes. Note: If you are a conditional student and you change your Area of Specialization, your conditions may also change. Consult with the Graduate Coordinator for more information.
  4. Meet with your Discipline Advisor in your first semester to plan your coursework. If you are a Conditionally Classified Graduate Student (CCGS), you must meet with the Graduate Coordinator every semester until your conditions are satisfied.
  5. Complete paperwork to transfer credit courses completed outside of your program. No more than 30% (9 units) of your degree program can be transfer credit.
    1. Transfer credit in from Graduate-Level coursework taken as an undergraduate.
    2. Validation of Transfer Credit for MS-Level work completed at other institutions. Transfer courses must be equivalent to our coursework to be considered for credit.
  6. Complete the requirements for your MS degree.
    1. All graduate students are required to maintain continuous enrollment during all Fall and Spring semesters until they complete graduation. Students are required to enroll in UNVS 1290R, a university-based one-unit Special Session course any term they are not enrolled in any other coursework at SJSU. This might occur if a student intends to take a semester off without taking courses, is finishing a thesis or project after all other course work is completed, or have not completed the Comprehensive Exam at the time they have completed all other course work. The first step in enrolling in UNVS 1290R is to contact the department’s Graduate Coordinator. For questions about the UNVS 1290R course, see this write-up from GAPE [pdf].
    2. If you are a Conditionally Classified Graduate Student (CCGS), you must file for Change of Classification to become fully classified.
  7. File for Candidacy
    1. Before you apply for candidacy, you must have completed the following:
      1. One semester of MS coursework.
      2. Be in good standing (not on probation).
      3. All conditional coursework, if applicable, and change of candidacy form.
      4. GWAR requirement.
  8. Complete your culminating experience by:
    1. Completing a Project. (3+ units of CE 298). See the catalog for project requirements. For more information, please contact your Graduate Advisor
    2. Completing a thesis (3 units CE 298 and 3 units CE 299) following the University Guidelines
    3. Passing the MS Comprehensive exam. Once your candidacy form is complete, you can sign up for the exam, which is held every March and October. For more information, please contact your Graduate Coordinator.
  9. Submit a Course Substitution [pdf] form, if your candidacy form lists courses that are different from your completed coursework, fill out this form.
  10. Complete your degree program requirements in good standing.

*All students at SJSU must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Please consult your academic advisor to identify an acceptable replacement course.