Graduate Course Approvals - Graduate Master Course
The information below is meant to help departments in filling out the online Graduate Master Course Approval
(MCA) form which is used to create new courses, make changes in
existing courses, or discontinue courses. These forms are available
online at GradNET. For assistance in filling out the online form, call
the Scheduling and Publications unit of the Office of the Registrar,
NOTE: Instruction is required before using the
online system; workshops will be offered to the departments for this
purpose. The Registrar and the Academic Senate Office will no longer
accept paper forms.
Departments should indicate whether a course being proposed or
modified is "cross-listed" as a course offered in another department.
When a course is to be offered concurrently as both a graduate-level
course and as an undergraduate course, this must be indicated on the
online "Master Course Approval" form. "Concurrently offered" and
"cross-listed" are different and should not be confused with one
another. Further, the department must indicate what additional work
graduate students will do to earn graduate-level credit. For example, if
undergraduates take a midterm and final, graduate students in a course
taught concurrently often are required to write a 20-page analytical
Once completed by the Department Analyst, the online form is
"submitted" and automatically forwarded to the appropriate Executive
Committee. The Executive Committee then reviews the MCA before
submitting and forwarding it to the Academic Senate Office for review by
the Chair of the Graduate Council.
The Chair of Graduate Council will approve new courses or course
changes only when a UC ladder faculty member is listed as the instructor
of record, as opposed to "Staff". Lecturers are not to be listed as
instructors of record on the "Graduate Master Course Approval" form. It
is acceptable to use the term "Staff" when a course rotates among
several faculty members; is taught by several faculty members, notably
independent study courses numbered 596-599; or is designed for Teaching
Assistant training and duties or Graduate Student Researcher duties.
The Chair of the Graduate Council scrutinizes the number of units
requested for a given course in relation to the number of hours of
contact with the instructor. Where there is direct contact such as in
lecture, seminar, discussion, or tutorial courses, the ratio is 1 unit
for 1 hour of contact. For three hours of direct contact per week,
departments have the option of requesting either 3 or 4 units. For
courses involving indirect contact with the instructor—e.g., lab
courses, fieldwork, preparation, or independent study—the prescribed
ratio is three hours of work on the part of the student for 1 unit.
Hence, to qualify as a 2-unit class, a lab course must require at least
six hours of time spent in the lab by students.
Questions concerning the MCA process may be directed to the Office of
the Registrar, Scheduling and Publications unit, (805) 893-5234.
Courses and Credits
Below is an overview of all course levels available to graduate
students, followed by a detailed description of numerical designations
between 500 and 599:
||All graduate level courses.
||All courses containing graduate level content presented in seminar, lecture, or related format.
||Teacher training courses in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education counted toward degrees or credentials in Education.
||Professional courses, such as those offered by the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.
||Advanced study and research classes (most 500-level courses are
closed to undergraduates, even on petition.) These are usually offered
as variable unit courses (1-12 units).
||Coursework involving Teaching Assistants (TAs) or Graduate
Student Researchers (GSRs), including training given for performance in
these positions. These units cannot be used toward fulfillment of
master's degree unit requirements of any kind.
||Research on special topics and subjects of current interest. Letter grade or S/U, depending on the department or instructor.
||Group studies and critical review of research in selected fields. Letter grade or S/U, depending on the instructor.
||Directed reading and research. 596 courses usually require a
written contract that designates the work to be completed by the
student, including a "deliverable," such as a research paper or
bibliographic review. The student, the professor, and the department
should keep copies of the contract. If the tutorial extends over more
than one quarter, a new proposal need not be filed each quarter. Minimum
of 2 units per quarter. Normally no more than half the graduate units
necessary for the master's degree may be taken in 596. (596 courses are
not to be used in place of 597, 598, or 599.) Letter grade or S/U.
||Individual Study for Master's Comprehensive and Doctoral
Examinations. The instructor normally should be the student's major
professor or the chair of the doctoral committee. No credit is allowed
toward the minimum units required by the Graduate Council for the
master's degree; however, this coursework may be used to fulfill
departmental requirements. No contract required. S/U grading only.
||Master's Thesis Research and Preparation is reserved for
research underlying the thesis and writing instructor normally should be
the chair of the student's thesis committee. No credit allowed toward
the minimum units required by the Graduate Council for the master's
degree; however, this coursework may be used to fulfill departmental
requirements. S/U grading.
||Doctoral Dissertation Preparation is reserved for writing the
dissertation. The person in charge of such coursework is usually the
chair of the student's doctoral committee. S/U grading.