MS-A DEGREE OPTIONS - MS-A degrees require completion of a thesis


The Department of Community Sustainability offers two Master of Science Plan-A degrees that provide students with opportunities to engage in integrated and applied research and acquire professional skills.

The Master of Science Plan-A option (also referred to as MS-A) is a research-based degree that requires completion of a thesis. MS-A emphasizes integrated and applied research and is designed as the foundation for doctoral study or other independent post-graduate, research-related work.

The two MS-A degree options offered by the Department of Community Sustainability are: 

  • Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree or comparable degree requirements from a recognized educational institution to apply to an MS-A program with the Department of Community Sustainability.
  • Relevant experience and strong academic credentials in the natural, physical, or social sciences are encouraged for applicants.
  • Applicants must explain in their academic statement why they are interested in a multidisciplinary degree rather than a discipline-based degree.
  • Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty to explore possible common interests and identify potential advisors.

The student’s program of study must be developed in cooperation with and approved by the student’s guidance committee and must include the requirements specified below.

  • Complete a minimum of 30 credits to obtain the MS-A degree
  • Take CSUS 800 - Foundations of Community Sustainability (3 credits) - must be taken during the student’s first fall semester
  • Take CSUS 802 - Survey of Research Methods (3 credits) - must be taken during the student’s first fall semester
  • Take a minimum of 15 credits of course work in a self-defined focal area, which may coincide with one of the department’s themes, an interdepartmental specialization, or be developed in consultation with the student’s guidance committee - at least 6 credits of this focus area must be in CSUS courses - STPAM students are required to take CSUS 814 for 3 of these 15 credits (this course is listed under "required" courses on the CSUS MS-A Program Plan Form or STPAM MS-A Program Plan Form).
  • Take a minimum of 3 credits of quantitative or qualitative methods - to be selected in consultation with the student’s guidance committee
  • Take a minimum of 6 credits of CSUS 899 - thesis/research credits
  • Publicly propose, defend, and submit a master’s thesis 
  • Follow the policies outlined in the Graduate Handbook
Peace Corps Master's International

Current PCMI students should review additional PCMI requirements in the Graduate Handbook. Note that Peace Corps is dissolving the PCMI program after the Fall 2016 cohort begins its work.

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