2023-2024 Graduate Catalog


Admission to Graduate Study

California Lutheran University seeks graduate students who possess qualities of intellect and character which will enable them to benefit from and contribute to a rigorous program of advanced studies. Each applicant is judged on individual merit without regard for race, creed, color, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, disability, medical condition, marital status, or veteran status. An otherwise qualified individual will not be excluded from admission solely by reason of differing physical ability.

California Lutheran University maintains a Graduate Admission Office staffed with admission counselors who are available to assist students with graduate admission planning. Prospective graduate students, including those seeking advanced credentials in education, should contact the Graduate Admission Office at (805) 493-3325 or (888) CLU-GRAD for an admission packet and enrollment information or go to www.callutheran.edu/admission/graduate.

The decision to admit a student to graduate study is made by the appropriate program director and the graduate admission committee. All persons seeking admission to graduate study will meet with an admission counselor and/or an adviser in the proposed program before a final admission decision is made.

Note: Admission decisions are based on the overall consideration of each application. The elective choices, academic major and relative difficulty of undergraduate work are considered.

Regular Graduate Standing Admission Requirements

Applicants are admitted to regular graduate standing when the following requirements are met:

  1. The applicant has completed the bachelor’s (or higher) degree at a regionally accredited college or university. Normally, a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is required.
  2. The applicant has completed all prerequisite courses required for the program in which the advanced degree is sought, and has completed all specific departmental or program admission requirements.
  3. The applicant’s completed admission portfolio has been reviewed and the applicant has been recommended for acceptance by the program adviser and/or the graduate admission committee.

Conditional Admission

  1. With the approval of the program director, an applicant may be admitted for graduate study on a conditional basis if they have completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, but do not meet the prerequisite program requirements for full admission.
  2. Students who successfully complete the conditional requirements will be placed on regular standing. Students not meeting these conditions will not be permitted to continue in the program.
  3. Conditionally admitted students are eligible for financial aid.

Provisional Acceptance

  1. With the approval of an adviser during the interview/advisement process, an applicant may be permitted to enroll in graduate level courses on a provisional basis before all file materials have been received. The candidate must submit an application and application fee along with transcript information prior to enrollment. Students who are eligible for provisional admission must complete all the requirements for admission to regular graduate standing during the first semester of enrollment or upon the completion of six credits. Students will not be permitted to enroll for subsequent semesters if all admission requirements have not been completed.
  2. Applicants who have not completed a bachelor’s degree but have no more than 12 units remaining for degree completion may be provisionally admitted for one semester. A grade point of 3.0 must be earned in the bachelor’s degree program.
  3. Students who are provisionally admitted are not eligible for financial aid until they have been placed on regular standing.

Provisional Acceptance - 4 + 1 Program

CLU Undergraduates who have not yet completed a bachelor's degree and are in their final year may be provisionally admitted to a 4+1 participating graduate program. Students may complete a maximum of three courses or nine credits as graduate credit in provisional admission status. This policy applies to graduate courses taken as graduate credit only.

Program Requirements:

  1. Must have no more than 30 credits remaining toward their bachelor's degree.
  2. Must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in the bachelor's degree program. 
  3. Traditional undergraduates may take graduate coursework in qualifying terms provided they maintain a full-time course load of undergraduate coursework (12 credits) for each semester they participate in the 4+1 program. In addition, combined credits for undergraduate and graduate coursework for the semester and qualifying term(s) should not exceed 18 credits. Qualifying terms are defined as follows:
  • Fall Semester qualifying terms are Fall Term (11-week), and Term 1 and 2 (online).
  • Spring Semester qualifying terms are Spring Term (11-week) and Term 4 (online).

Enrollment outside of the program requirements and qualifying terms may impact financial aid eligibility and tuition charges. Students enrolled in graduate courses through the 4+1 program are not eligible for graduate financial aid until their bachelor's degree has posted. 

Admission with Stipulations

  1. Applicants who do not meet the academic or professional criteria for regular admission into a graduate program, but demonstrate the potential to successfully complete the program may be admitted with stipulations. Stipulations are set by the program director and intended to provide student-centered academic support.
  2. Students admitted with stipulations are considered fully admitted and eligible for financial aid.

MBA Assured Admission

Cal Lutheran Alumni with business degrees are assured admittance into the MBA program if their undergraduate degree was completed with a 3.0 grade point average or higher in the upper division business courses. Current graduating seniors will be provisionally admitted pending final degree posting. Assured Admission decisions are based on a review of the following materials:

  1. Application for Admission to Graduate Study
  2. Advisement with an admission counselor
  3. Recommendations from professional or academic references
    Depending on the academic program, two recommendation forms by associates who can attest to the candidate’s suitability for graduate work are required. 

Special Status Admission Requirements

Special Status standing is intended for those students who wish to enroll in graduate-level courses but are not seeking a CLU graduate degree or credential. For example, Special Status is available for students who wish to take courses for transfer to another institution. Students applying for Special Status should meet with an admission counselor and academic adviser and submit the following materials to the Graduate Admission Office:

  1. Application for admission
  2. Application fee of $30
  3. Official transcript from a regionally accredited college or university verifying bachelor’s degree (or higher) with an acceptable GPA

If a person who has been admitted to Special Status later decides to apply for Regular Graduate Standing, all admission requirements as described under regular graduate standing must be met. No more than 12 credits may be taken under Special Status and later applied to the master’s degree. Grades lower than ‘B’ cannot be applied to the degree.


A CLU student who has not been enrolled in classes for one or more years and who wishes to return must apply for readmission through the Office of Graduate Admission. Previous admission to the graduate program does not guarantee readmission.

Students considering readmission should consult with the graduate admission counselor for application/admission requirements.

Students readmitted to the University are subject to completing program requirements under the CLU catalog in effect at the time of readmission. Students requesting to complete the program requirements that were in effect at the time of initial attendance will need to submit a petition, which will require approval from the Graduate Academic Standards Committee.

Students applying for readmission who are not in good academic standing may need to submit a letter of appeal to be considered for readmission or financial aid eligibility.

Readmission of Service Members  

As a Yellow Ribbon university, Cal Lutheran is committed to making a quality education possible for our military members. Cal Lutheran acknowledges that our students who are active duty U.S. Military service members may be required to take a leave of absence for military service. In accordance with federal regulations (CFR) 34, 668.18, California Education Code 66023 and the Federal Register CFR 34, section 668.18, Cal Lutheran will promptly readmit a service member to the academic program that was interrupted due to military service obligation.


The readmission policy applies to servicemembers who perform service in the uniformed services, whether voluntary or involuntary, in the Armed Forces, including service as a member of the National Guard or Reserve, on active duty, active duty for training, or full-time National Guard duty under Federal authority (but not State authority), for a period of more than 30 consecutive days under a call or order to active duty of more than 30 consecutive days. The cumulative length of absence due to military service may not exceed five years.

Tuition and Fees

A returning student who is eligible for service member readmission will be charged the same tuition and fees that were in effect during the academic year that the student last attended, unless veteran or military education benefits will pay the higher tuition and fees that other students in the program are paying in the current academic year. In subsequent years or for a different program, tuition and fees will be assessed at the same rate that other students in the program are charged.

Procedures and Requirements

An eligible service member must submit a leave of absence form with documentation verifying active service in advance as possible to the Registrar’s Office. Notification to the Veteran Resource Office is recommended.

Returning students who have been in absence for greater than one year should contact the Graduate Admission Office to complete a readmission application. Students returning from a leave of absence of less than one year are not required to submit a readmission application but will need to contact the Registrar’s Office to reactivate their student status. After reactivation, students should contact their program director or specialist for course registration advisement, and contact the Veteran Resource Office to complete benefits certification.

Readmission will apply to the next available class(es) for the program in which the service member was originally admitted to. Some circumstances may require Cal Lutheran to admit the service member at a later date. Cal Lutheran will make all reasonable efforts to admit and prepare the servicemember to resume the program at the next available term. 

The service member will be readmitted with the same academic status as they had when last attending the university to the program under which he/she was originally admitted unless the program is no longer offered. In such cases, Cal Lutheran will make every reasonable effort to admit the student into the most similar program.

Per federal regulations, the readmission of service members policy does not apply to returning students who have been discharged from the Armed Forces, including National Guard or Reserve, due to dishonorable or bad conduct. Service members who have received a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge and have not been actively enrolled for more than a year may apply for readmission to the university without the benefits outlined in this policy.


Admitted students who are unable to enroll for the intended start term, may defer admission for up to one year from the initial admission term. Students must contact the Graduate Admission Office to complete the deferral process.

For programs that require an enrollment deposit, students must submit the enrollment deposit along with the request to defer. Deferral of admission is not available for the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology (PsyD) program.

International students applying to programs with year-round entry points may defer up to two terms from the initial admission term.

Right to Withdraw Offer of Admission

By applying for admission to California Lutheran University, applicants certify that the information they provide in their applications is their own work and, to the best of their knowledge, is complete and accurate. As also noted in the application materials, California Lutheran University reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under certain circumstances, including but not limited to:

  1. If there is a significant drop in academic performance, a failure to graduate (in the applicant's current program), or a failure to satisfy a prerequisite or condition of admission;
  2. If there has been a misrepresentation in or a violation of any of the terms of the application process; or
  3. Discovery of prior conduct by the applicant that is inconsistent with California Lutheran University’s mission and values, including its commitment to build a nurturing and inclusive community.

General Application Procedures

International applicants should also refer to “Admission Procedures for International Applicants” (below) which describes additional requirements for applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

  1. Application for Admission to Graduate Study
    Applicants must complete an application for admission and submit the nonrefundable application fee of $30.
  2. Transcripts
    An official transcript from a regionally accredited college or university verifying the applicant’s bachelor’s degree with an acceptable GPA

    Official transcripts reflecting records of any graduate work previously undertaken or completed should also be sent. Additional transcripts may be requested for programs with prerequisite course that were completed at other colleges or universities attended.

    Only degrees granted by regionally accredited U.S. institutions will be considered for acceptance. Applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and hold non-U.S. degrees may be required to have their transcripts evaluated for equivalency to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. For further information, applicants should contact the Office of Graduate Admission.

    Students undertaking work for teaching credentials must also submit official transcripts, including transcripts which reflect all undergraduate course work taken at any college or university.
  3. Academic or Professional Recommendations
    Depending on the academic program, two recommendations by references who can attest to the candidate’s suitability for graduate work are required. 
  4. Personal Statement
    Persons applying for admission to one of California Lutheran University's graduate programs must submit an essay. This part of the application provides the candidate with the opportunity to demonstrate writing competency and communication skills that speak to individual departmental principles. For the personal statement prompt, applicants should visit the "How to Apply" page for the program of interest
  5. Admission Advisement
    Applicants must arrange to meet with an admission counselor and/or program adviser prior to registering for courses.
  6. Specific Department or Program Requirements
    Some of the University’s advanced degree programs and the Teacher Preparation Program have requirements for admission in addition to the general requirements for admission to graduate study which are listed here. Applicants should consult the section of this catalog which pertains to their program to determine if any additional admission requirements exist.
  7. Notification of Admission Decision
    Candidates are notified of the admission decision soon after their admission portfolio is complete and all of the requirements of the admission process are satisfied.

Admission Procedures for International Applicants

International students seeking admission to graduate studies at CLU should submit the following:

  1. A completed Application along with the $30 application fee.
  2. An English translation of official transcripts and degree or graduation certificates sent directly from the institution granting the bachelor’s degree, as well as transcripts of any graduate work previously undertaken. Photocopies sent directly by the applicant are not acceptable. A detailed transcript evaluation may be required. For further information, please contact the CLU International Admission Office.
  3. Applicants from countries whose primary language is not English are required to take any one of the following English language exams: Duolingo English Test with a minimum score of 120; Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum Internet-based score of 88; the International English Language test (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.5, or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) with a minimum score of 58. Students may be required to enroll in English classes after arrival in the United States if it is deemed necessary. Students who are graduates of an accredited college or university in the United States, or who have a degree from a college or university outside the United States in which the language of instruction is English, may request that the English examination requirement be waived. Additionally, students who successfully complete the university’s designated English language affiliate program may be eligible for an examination waiver.
  4. A current statement verifying that the applicant has sufficient financial resources to provide for academic and personal expenses while attending California Lutheran University.
  5. A personal statement of no more than two typewritten pages, describing the reason for pursuing a graduate degree with California Lutheran University. This part of the application provides the candidate with the opportunity to demonstrate writing competency and communication skills, specify examples of leadership and discuss career goals. Applicants may also provide pertinent information that will assist program directors in selecting candidates who can most benefit from and contribute to the program.
  6. Depending on the academic program two letters of recommendation.
  7. A $450 nonrefundable deposit toward the student’s first semester tuition to be sent after notification of official acceptance. This must be received at least 60 days prior to the start of classes as confirmation of the student’s intent to enroll. Once the deposit is received, the Form I-20 will be mailed to the student which will enable the student to secure a visa from the nearest United States embassy or consulate.