The CSUF Graduate Student Handbook – The Holy Grail for New Students

I’ve decided it’s time to get back to focusing on CSUF MBA-related blog posts.  And this week’s is an important one.  I am going to share with you a tool on the CSUF website that will answer most of your questions about the MBA program.  This crown jewel of knowledge is called the Graduate Student Handbook.

The Graduate Student Handbook (GSH) was created for incoming graduate business students, and explains all the prerequisites, requirements, and steps that must be completed before and during your time as CSUF MBA student.  Want to know when Welcome Weekend is?  Unsure how to waive a prerequisite?  Have questions about how to register for courses?  All those questions and more can be answered simply by exploring the GSH.  And I will be your guide, providing a summary of the handbook’s most important elements and noting areas of particular interest for students applying to the program.  The GSH is made up of 18 steps, and I will provide detail about some of the most important ones below.  The handbook is open to anyone, whether you’re a CSUF graduate student or not, so feel free to explore it if you are considering enrolling in the graduate business school:


Section 4: Waiver of Coursework – Incoming students are given a Welcome Packet containing important information and documents required for the first semester.  One such important piece of information explains which core courses students can waive.  Courses can typically be waived if a student completed a similar class while earning their undergraduate business degree.  This section also explains how students can petition to waive additional graduate courses.  If a student believes he or she has already met the necessary course requirements in an equivalent undergraduate course, they can make an appointment with the New Admit Advisor to obtain the waiver request forms (see Section 6 for more information about how to schedule an appointment with the New Admit Advisor).  I have petitioned to have a course waived, and after a brief meeting with school staff I provided them with a syllabus from the equivalent undergraduate courses and was granted the course waiver.

Section 5: CSUF Online Tutorials – Tutorials are offered for a variety of MBA program topics, but I personally have not utilized any of them yet.  The tutorials cover areas such as Registration and Fee Payments, Viewing the Course Catalog, and the Student Center.  The one thing I have noticed about the tutorials is that several of them were last updated in 2008.  That does not mean the information is out-of-date, but I’d like to believe the tutorials are reviewed every once in a while.  However, I registered for my first semester and completed my incoming student paperwork using mainly the GSH so other incoming students may or may not have found the tutorials helpful.

Section 7: Prepare Your Class Schedule – This section helps incoming students both prepare their first semester schedule and map out their course schedule for the length of their graduate studies.  The Program Matrix available here helps students identify which courses to take when, and even offers suggestions as to which courses to try and avoid taking in the same semester.  Using the information in the Welcome Packet and the Program Matrix, students can schedule all their courses for all their semesters before even stepping foot in a CSUF classroom!  This section is especially helpful for prospective students because it paints a fairly complete picture of the required courses in the MBA program (except for concentration and elective courses), and can help those students decide whether the MBA courses offered at CSUF will fulfill their educational needs.

Section 9: Financial Aid – This section provides an overview of financial aid and scholarships, and also contains details regarding tuition for veterans.  Numerous scholarships and other forms of aid are available to CSUF students, including the Michael A. Reagan scholarship and a variety of fellowships.  As a side note, I find the financial situation at CSUF to be one of the best MBA values in Southern California.  Not counting the cost of books, supplies, or a parking permit, my part-time semester (two evening courses, each once a week) costs approximately $3,000.  Considering some of the other MBA programs I looked into cost anywhere from $25,000-$35,000 a year, CSUF has provided me great bang for my buck.

Section 11: Welcome Seminar – This section provides dates and scheduling information for the mandatory Welcome Seminar each new MBA student must attend.  The seminars run during both spring and fall semesters, and this GSH section explains exactly what students need to bring for the weekend’s activities.  I completed my Welcome Seminar before the start of the current Fall semester, and it’s essentially an orientation weekend for business graduate students.  I had an opportunity to meet some amazing classmates, and listen to various professors discuss topics related to the MBA program (coursework, making the most of your experience) and other topics related to the business world (networking, the importance of creativity in the workplace).  I really enjoyed the Welcome Seminar, and it got me excited to begin my MBA coursework.

Section 13: Replacement courses – This section expands upon Section 4, and explains that students may waive as many MBA courses as they want, as long as they have met the necessary prerequisites and criteria for the courses.  However, if a student waives more than 12 units worth of classes, he or she must find replacement courses to take within the MBA program for each unit above the first 12 waived units.  Speaking from personal experience, I waived 18 units worth of courses, and have had to complete the Replacement Coursework Approval Form identifying which classes will replace the 6 extra units I’ve had waived.  The nice thing about that requirement is that I can customize my MBA to a greater degree, selecting courses that either complement my concentration or are in other areas I would like additional training and coursework in.

Section 18: Academic probation – This section explains that all graduate business students must maintain a cumulative GPA and study plan GPA of 3.0 (B) or better while at CSUF.  If a student cannot meet this requirement, he or she will be placed on academic probation for a maximum of 2 semesters (or until their GPA improves).  I am not telling prospective students this to scare them away from CSUF – in fact, I searched two other Cal State universities and they have the same academic requirements for graduate students.  I merely want prospective students to be aware of the GPA requirements so they know what they are getting into when they apply to the program.

The GSH is a great tool for both prospective and current CSUF MBA students to learn about the school’s graduate business program.  I know I would have really appreciated knowing this information was available when I was looking at and applying to schools.  Feel free to leave any questions you may have about CSUF or the GSH in the comments section below.

Here are a couple of articles I read this week and found particularly interesting:

“Making the Case for Better Business Writing” – One of the skills I think is most important in the workplace is the ability to communicate an idea or strategy effectively to other people.  Not everyone thinks the same ways, so being able to translate information and ideas into something others can readily understand is an invaluable skill.  This article offers some practical advice for how to improve one’s business writing, in order to stand out in the workplace and hone a necessary communications skill.

“You’re Doing It All Wrong” – The more I read about the current recession and its effect on corporations all over the world, it becomes evident to me that the old rules of business are giving way to new strategies and ideas.  This article details how past ideas regarding successful companies do not hold-up when applied to the most successful companies of this new economy, particularly tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google.

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1 Response to “The CSUF Graduate Student Handbook – The Holy Grail for New Students”



  1. 1 Petition for Classification and My Delayed Registration « Orange County MBA Trackback on November 9, 2011 at 5:24 am

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