Jun 23, 2024  
2024-2025 General Catalog 
2024-2025 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Degree Requirements

Baccalaureate Candidates

The University grants baccalaureates for the successful completion of a coherent course of study at the University and the maintenance of appropriate levels of scholarship. The requirements that follow specify certain course work, unit distributions, and levels of scholarship that the California State University and the faculty of Sonoma State University have determined provide an appropriate educational framework for all students pursuing a baccalaureate. These requirements, however, provide only a framework. It is critical that each student consult regularly with an academic advisor. 

In most cases, undergraduate students are assigned both a Faculty Advisor and a Professional Academic Advisor throughout their studies. These assignments are based on various factors, such as whether the student is part of a designated special program or population; the number of units the student has completed; the student’s declared major or concentration; and whether the student’s academic program, department, or school has a designated Program Coordinator and/or Professional Academic Advisor. Students may find their assigned advisor a few different ways:

Students are eligible for graduation when they are in good standing and have fulfilled the following requirements:

  1. Faculty Approval
    The determination that students have achieved appropriate proficiency in any and all parts of the curriculum to warrant the granting of a degree is the responsibility of the faculty. A favorable vote of the faculty acting through the academic senate is required for the granting of any degree.
  2. Completion of a General Education Program
    The effectiveness of an education in the liberal arts and sciences is critically dependent upon the broad foundation of studies called general education. Through a program of general education, students learn a variety of basic skills and modes of disciplinary inquiry. General education courses are not simply the preliminary and introductory studies of the various disciplines; rather, they provide the necessary context for the more specific study in the major and for the selection of appropriate electives. Completion of one of Sonoma State University’s general education programs also ensures completion of graduation requirements in American Institutions and Ethnic Studies.
  3. Completion of a Major
    Through a concentration of studies in a particular major, students focus in depth upon a particular set of disciplines or subject areas. Because major programs vary considerably in their requirements, students should consult with faculty advisors early in their academic programs. Students may declare a major at any time, but are required to do so by the time they have earned 60 units. Descriptions of the majors are found with the department listing in the University Curricula section of this catalog.
  4. Maintenance of Scholarship
    A grade point average of C (2.00) or better is required in work undertaken in residence at Sonoma State University, as well as in the student’s total undergraduate work and in the major field. The C average for the major includes all classes listed on the Major Requirements form, except that supporting courses, while required for some majors, are not included in the major grade point average.
  5. Completion of Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)
    Students must demonstrate competence in writing skills at the upper division level. Current updates for completion of this requirement can be found on the GWAR page of the LARC website
  6. Unit Requirements and Limitations
    1. Total Units: A minimum of 120 semester units is required for graduation (some majors may require more units for graduation);
    2. Upper-Division Units: Forty units must be upper-division work (300-499 courses), including a minimum of 12 units in the major for the B.A. degree or 18 units in the major for the B.S. degree;
    3. Residence Units: Thirty units must be completed in residence at Sonoma State University, including 24 upper-division units and 12 units in the major. Please see individual program requirements for additional residence requirements. Note: Units earned in Extension, Open University, Visitor status Sonoma, non baccalaureate-level courses, and through credit by examination may not be applied to residence requirements; and
    4. Credit/No Credit Grades. A maximum of 24 units of courses with nontraditional grades may be elected. Courses fulfilling major and minor requirements must be graded A-F, except for courses not available in the A-F mode.
    5. Other maximum limits of semester units to be applied toward degree requirements are:
Correspondence and Extension Studies 24 units
Community Involvement Project 295/395 6 units
Special Studies 495
*see Catalog Year requirement
12 units
Student-Instructed Courses 199/399 12 units
Community College transfer credit 70 units
Credit by Examination 30 units
Faculty-Evaluated Prior Learning 30 units

Note: Students who have been separated from the University for a substantial amount of time may need to have their previous coursework re-verified by the Department Chair of the major. General Education work may need to be re-verified by the GE subcommittee. Any work found to be expired will convert to Elective Credit. New, additional coursework may be required to complete the degree. Students must meet all of the requirements in place for the current catalog year for the major, minor and/or General Education. Students should meet with their advisor to confirm graduation requirements. Additional graduation information can be found through the Office of the Registrar.

Minor Programs 

A minor is not required for graduation. Many departments, however, offer programs leading to a minor, and students are encouraged to consider pursuing a minor that complements their major. Minor programs ordinarily consist of approximately 16-20 units, 6 of which must be upper division, and require maintenance of a C (2.00) average in minor coursework. Faculty advisors in the department offering the minor will assist students in selecting appropriate courses. Coursework in the minor must be completed by the degree date. The minor appears on the student’s official transcripts but not on the diploma.


To complete the minimum of 120 semester units required for graduation after fulfillment of general education, statutory, and major requirements, students may choose from a broad spectrum of courses to broaden their education, deepen understanding of their specialties, pursue work in related fields, and satisfy their curiosity and enthusiasm regarding particular areas of interest.

Double Majors

It is sometimes possible for a student to complete the requirements for more than one major within 120-140 units. If you complete requirements for two bachelor degrees, both will appear on your diploma and transcripts. Students who wish to complete requirements for a second major should consult with a faculty advisor early in their academic program.

Second Bachelor’s Degree

To earn a second baccalaureate at Sonoma State University, students must fulfill the requirements of the major, completing 30 units of residence credit at Sonoma State University. Students should consult with their faculty advisors regarding the portion of those 30 units that must be earned in upper-division courses (minimum 24 for residency). Units earned in Extension, Open University, and Visitor status, and through credit-by-examination may not be applied to residence requirements. If a student’s first baccalaureate is not from an institution of higher education accredited by a U.S. regional accreditor, then the graduation writing assessment requirement (GWAR) is also required. 

Second baccalaureate students may carry only one major and are not eligible for second majors or minors. Students are also eligible for honors if they meet the regular requirements for honors, which is 45 units of letter graded classes taken in residence.

Awarding of Degrees

Degrees are awarded three times a year in December, May, and August. Students are eligible to apply for graduation for graduation when they have completed at least 15 units residence and 90 units overall. Students should consult with their advisor to determine any remaining requirements and any deficiencies to be completed. After filing for graduation, students must meet all degree requirements by the date of graduation in order to graduate. If you do not graduate within two terms of your initial filing, you will need to reapply for graduation. Diplomas are mailed 6-8 weeks after the award of degree.

Honors at Graduation

The University awards two types of honors to students at graduation: degree honors and department honors.

Degree Honors

Criteria used to determine honors at graduation are those in effect as of the date of graduation. Students graduating with the baccalaureate earn degree honors by meeting the following criteria:

  1. Completion at Sonoma State University of a minimum of 45 letter-graded semester units in residence; and
  2. Attainment of cumulative grade point averages as indicated below:
Degree Honor Designation

Summa Cum Laude - is awarded to those students achieving a cumulative grade point average in all university and college work and a cumulative grade point average in all work undertaken at SSU of not less than 3.90.

Magna Cum Laude - is awarded to those students achieving cumulative grade point average in all university and college work and a cumulative grade point average in all work undertaken at SSU of not less than 3.75.

Cum Laude - is awarded to those students achieving a cumulative grade point average in all university and college work and a cumulative grade point average in all work undertaken at SSU of no less than 3.50.

Degree honors are noted on the student’s transcript and on the diploma.

Department Honors

Students graduating with the baccalaureate who are judged by their departments to have made outstanding contributions to their disciplines graduate “with distinction.” Check with your major department to learn if they offer departmental honors. Departmental honors are noted on the student’s transcript and on the diploma.

If you have completed an approved certificate, it will be listed on your official transcript once your degree is posted.