Political Science

Semester Conversion

Conversion is here! And the faculty and staff here in the Department of Political Science are here to guide you through the conversion.

In 2013, after conversations and reports by the six Cal State campuses on quarters, CSU Chancellor Timothy White and the CSU Board of Trustees determined all CSU campuses would convert to semesters. Thus, we are in the midst of converting from three 10-week quarters (Fall, Winter, Spring) into two 15-week semesters (Fall, Spring). Your faculty in the department have spent over FOUR YEARS planning this transition, so we hope to make this as smooth as possible!

Helpful Tools for Conversion

In planning for Fall 2018, check out these helpful links:

  • PLS Conversion Guide: This guide is a complete list of our courses and their equivalents under semester (as of 4/27/18).
  • PLS Quarter-to-Semester Comparison Worksheet: This worksheet allows you to view the quarter and semester curriculum on the same page, helping you determine if you should remain on the quarter curriculum or switch to semesters (as of 4/27/18).
  • PLS Conversion Flyer: A helpful flyer that walks you through semesters. 

How many courses should I take in semester?

For a full-time student, you should plan to take 5 courses each semester. Semester courses will be worth 3 units each, thus the standard load for a semester should be 15 units. This is a shift from quarters where the standard full-time load was 4 courses per quarter (and some students even take 3 courses in a quarter). However, in order to graduate on time in a semester system, you should enroll in 5 courses each semester. This sounds outrageous, but when you compare quarters to a semester system, each individual course will have less contact hours per week. Each individual week in a semester course should be a somewhat smaller load than each individual week in a quarter course. You make up that small difference in an extra 5 weeks of the semester.

How will the political science degree be different in semesters?

The principal difference rests in the units needed to graduate. In Fall 2018, we will shift from using quarter units to using semester units. Currently, most of our classes in the department are offered in 4 quarter units. In a semester, our classes will be offered in 3 semester units. In our current quarter curriculum, a student needs 180 quarter units to graduate. In the semester curriculum, a student only needs 120 semester units to graduate. 

Additionally, our new semester curriculum is not radically different than our old quarter curriculum. That is, the configuration of courses that you need to take in order to graduate will be similar under semesters. In the new semester curriculum, students will have to take an additional research methods course (PLS 2051) but are alleviated from having to take an Economics support course (EC 201 or 202). Also in quarters, students have to take four upper-division political science elective classes after completing upper-division work specific to the subfields. Under semesters, students will only have to take two additional upper-division political science elective courses. 

You will have a choice to either remain on the curriculum requirements for the quarter you entered or to transition to the new semester curriculum requirements. Watch the video on understanding your curriculum sheets to see how this process is done. If you have already taken PLS 205, Economics 201, or Economics 202, it's probably best to stay on the quarter curriculum. 

How will General Education (GE) requirements be different in semesters?

There will be changes to the General Education requirements in semester conversion. GE Areas A, B, and E have the same number of courses in quarters and in semesters. However, GE Area C has re-numbered to a new system. And GE Area D requires one less course in semesters than in quarters, as well as less units. If you are close to finishing your Area D requirements, the university recommends that you take the last of those courses in Spring quarter 2018. 

How will my quarter courses count for my graduation requirements? 

On your degree progress report, each course will automatically convert from quarter units to semester units. To find out how many semester units you have completed, divide your quarter units by 1.5. To learn more, watch the video on understanding unit conversion.

Remember, you will need at least 120 semester units to graduate.

Are there additional resources available to help me plan to graduate?

Absolutely. Check out these resources: