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Catalog Rights

The University Catalog is revised and updated annually.  Within the catalog are policies, major requirements, and course descriptions - all of which may affect graduation requirements. However, students’ individual graduation requirements are not subject to these annual updates; in fact, students who remain continuously enrolled maintain rights to a particular set of graduation requirements, which is referred to as catalog rights.

This group of pages is intended to provide additional detail regarding catalog rights, including how to maintain them, eligibility to elect new requirements, etc.

  • Types of Requirements

    There are three groups of graduation requirements to complete an undergraduate degree program. Each of these, as described above, are subject to change from catalog year to catalog year (and term to term).

    • General Education: These include the breadth requirements created by the California State University system.
    • University: These include requirements specific to CSUSM; these include Diversity & Equity, GPA, residency, as well as American Institutions.
    • Major/Minor: The courses required for your declared major (or minor) are a third set of graduation requirements.
  • Eligibility

    Per California state education code, and CSUSM policy, undergraduate students are eligible to elect the graduation requirements (General Education, University, Major/Minor) in effect:

    • at the time the student began his/her program at a CSU campus or California Community College
    • when the student entered the CSU campus from which s/he intends to graduate
    • at the time the student graduates from Cal State San Marcos


    In addition, students are eligible to elect the graduation requirements for the major or minor in effect:

    • at the time the student declares or changes his/her Major/Concentration/Option/Track/Minor
    • at the time changes in Major or Minor requirements affect the student


    Important Notes

    • A student becomes an undergraduate student by earning college units after high school graduation in the first regular academic term. High school students are considered first-time freshmen for admission (and not eligible for catalog rights as undergraduate students), regardless of the number of college credits transferred.
    • Eligibilty based on the timeframes above applies to all 3 types of graduation requirements (General Education, University and major/minor); the catalog terms elected for each do not have to be the same.
    • At CSUSM, students are automatically assigned the graduation requirements in effect upon admission to the university. A student must request to elect different catalog rights (according to the eligibility described above) in order to be subject to different graduation requirements.
  • Maintaining Catalog Rights

    A student maintains continuous attendance (and therefore catalog rights) if he or she is enrolled as an undergraduate student* in at least one course for at least one regular semester or two quarters in each calendar year at CSU San Marcos, or a combination of CSU campuses and California Community Colleges.

    *A student becomes an undergraduate by earning college units after high school graduation in the first regular academic term. 

  • Electing Catalog Rights

    Continuing students who are eligible to elect the catalog rights in effect for one of the 3 types of graduation requirements described here, may use the Election of Catalog Rights form.