CSU offers a variety of master’s degrees. The features and requirements of these degrees are summarized in the table below.

Summary of Requirements for the Master's Degrees1

Degree Plan Minimum Number of Credits2 Thesis Foreign Language
Master of Accountancy (M.Acc.) C 30 No No
Master of Addiction Counseling (M.A.C.) C 42 No No
Master of Agriculture (M.Agr.) A,B 30 When req. by dept. No
Master of Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology (M.A.I.O.P.) C 38 No No
Master of Applied Statistics (M.A.S.) C 31 No No
Master of Arts (M.A.) A 30 Yes When req. by dept.
Master of Arts (M.A.) B 32 No When req. by dept.
Master in Arts Leadership and Cultural Management (M.A.L.C.M.) C 32 No No
Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) C 40-52 No No
Master of Computer Information Systems (M.C.I.S.) C 33 No No
Master of Computer Science (M.C.S.) C 35 No No
Master of Education (M.Ed.) A 30 Yes No
Master of Education (M.Ed.) B 30 No No
Master of Engineering (M.E.) C 30 No No
Master of Extension Education (M.Ext.Ed.) C 36 No No
Master of Finance (M.F.I.N.) C 30 No No
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) A 48-60 Yes When req. by dept.
Master of Fish, Wildlife & Conservation Biology (M.F.W.C.B.) C 30 No No
Master of Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting (M.G.M.A.) C 37 No No
Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) C 40 No No
Master of Management Practice (M.M.P.) C 30 No No
Master of Music (M.M.) A, B 30 When req. by dept. No
Master of Natural Resources Stewardship (M.N.R.S.) C 30 No No
Master of Natural Sciences Education (M.N.S.E.) C 30 No No
Master of Occupation Therapy (M.O.T.) C 63 No No
Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) C 42 No No
Master of Science (M.S.) A 30 Yes When req. by dept.
Master of Science (M.S.) B 30-323 No When req. by dept.
Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) A,B 40-634 When req. by dept. No
Master of Tourism Management (M.T.M.) C 30 No No
Professional Science Master's (P.S.M.) PSM 30-45 No No
1

Final examinations are required for all degrees except Plan C master degree.

2

At least 16 credits must be earned at the 500-level or above and at least 12 of these must be in regular courses, except Plan C. However, the number of 500 level or above credits earned for the degree must be 16 or 50% for a plan A or B, whichever is most and 21 or 50% for a plan C, whichever is most.

3

Plan B degrees require a minimum of 30 credits and either a scholarly paper, exam, portfolio, or similar project.

4

Demonstrated equivalency may reduce the total required to less than 58 but not less than 40.

Master's Degrees

An important distinction is made between Plan A and Plan B, Plan C, and the Professional Science Master's. The former, Plan A option, requires the preparation of a thesis. The thesis is typically a written formal document which addresses, in an original fashion, some important concern of the discipline. A thesis involves significant independent work. A certain number of credits are allowed for the preparation of the thesis. The Plan B degree does not require a thesis; instead, either a scholarly paper, exam, portfolio, or similar project is required.

Plan C master’s degree options are distinguished in two ways. First generally, only course work is required. No thesis, project, or final examination is required; however, some specific programs may require an internship, practicum, or other experience consistent with expressed goals of the program, as approved by the University Curriculum Committee. Second, Plan C options are designed for professional degrees; thus, this option is not available in the M.A. or M.S. Further, within any given department, Plan C degrees may not bear the same title as those with Plan A or Plan B options. Please note, however, that not every professional degree need offer the Plan C option.

The minimum number of required credits for all master's degrees is 30.

The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree option (30 credit minimum) is designed to meet the following curriculum requirements: 1) a majority of credits must be earned in advanced science, technology, engineering, math and/or computational sciences courses over the two year program; 2) there must be a professional skills component: and 3) a capstone project based on an experiential component, that includes a field placement course (e.g. internship, practicum, affiliation, field work) must be a part of the curriculum. The PSM is to provide managers for organizations that provide technology-based outcomes in public, private, government, or non-profit sectors. PSMs must conform to the nationally accepted academic criteria for the PSM curriculum as determined by the PSM National Office (psmoffice@sciencemasters.com).

An active advisory board composed of individuals from industry, business, government, non-profit organizations, and CSU faculty is required; advisory board members serve to provide advice on the program curriculum, assist with student projects and placement, and interact individually with students. To be recognized as a PSM degree, programs must first be approved by the PSM National Office, and subsequently approved and routed through the paths required by the CSU Faculty Council, Curricular Policies and Procedures Handbook. PSM specializations are listed in the Graduate and Professional Bulletin.

Credit Requirements 

Credit requirements vary greatly; for certain terminal professional degrees, the minimum number of credits may exceed 60; other master’s degrees vary from 30 to 36 (Table 1). Further, individual departments may have credit requirements in excess of these minimum university requirements. However, the number of 500 level or above credits earned for the degree must be 16 or 50% for a Plan A or B, whichever is most and 21 or 50% for a Plan C or Professional Science Master's, whichever is most. A minimum of 24 credits must be earned at Colorado State, 21 of which must be earned after admission to the Graduate School. A minimum number of credits earned at Colorado State must be in 500 or higher level courses (21 for Plan C master’s degrees and Professional Science Master's; 16 for all other master’s degrees). Of this number, at least 12 credits must be in regular courses. Plan C master’s and Professional Science Master's programs may not include independent study, research, or supervised college teaching credits toward the degree unless one or more of these are required by the program, as approved by the University Curriculum Committee. Additionally, Plan C master’s may not include internship or practicum credits toward the degree unless one or both are required by the program, as approved by the University Curriculum Committee. Credits earned in pursuit of one master’s degree may not be used for a second except in those cases where an M.A. degree is applied to the M.F.A. (see section on Master of Fine Arts Degree).

Final Examination

At the discretion of the committee, the final examination may be oral or written, or both. At least one week before the final examination the advisor must inform the student and the committee member of the nature and scope of the examination.

Master of Fine Arts Degree

This is a terminal degree for practicing professionals in the visual or literary arts. In general, it requires at least three years of full time study beyond the baccalaureate or at least one year of full time study beyond the Master of Arts degree.

This degree requires the preparation of a major artistic work. This work, whether in the form of a product of the visual arts, a performance, or a written manuscript, must

  1. demonstrate a level of creativity sufficient to establish the student as a member of the appropriate artistic community, and
  2. stand in its own right as a significant aesthetic or literary contribution. This work is presented as an M.F.A. thesis.

Credit Requirements

Total credit requirements vary from 48 to 60 according to the department in which the degree is earned. Further, individual departments may have requirements in excess of CSU minimums laid out in this section.

In general, a minimum of 32 credits must be earned at CSU, 21 of which must be earned after formal admission to the Graduate School.

However, if a previously completed Master of Arts degree is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements, up to 30 credits may be accepted toward the program. If this option is used, no additional transfer credits may be accepted. In this case, a minimum of 18 credits must be earned after formal admission to the M.F.A. program.

At least 16 of the credits earned at CSU must be in 500 or higher level courses. Of the 16, 12 must be in regular courses. Other courses may be at the 300 or 400 level or may be in courses not defined as regular. However, the number of 500 level or above credits earned for the degree must be 16 or 50% for a Plan A or B, whichever is most and 21 or 50% for a Plan C, whichever is most.

Final Examination

The final examination may be oral or written or both. At least one week before the final examination, the adviser must inform the student and the committee members of the nature and scope of the examination.