The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Engineering majors battling SSU for a change in unit requirements


    Sonoma State engineering students and faculty are urgently requesting a waiver for the right to take over 120 units total, particularly in area A3, that is required to graduate from the major. The request took place at an Academic Senate meeting in early March. The waiver request is supported by the General Education subcommittee and also the Educational Policies Committee.  

    Many engineering students have been forced to take an extra semester or even year to graduate due to these requirements. This creates a ripple effect for current students looking to graduate because of a lack of available classes. It also makes it more difficult for the engineering program to recruit future prospects to the SSU engineering program. 

    This unit cap also greatly affects transfer students due to the fact they are required to take first year classes once they have transferred to Sonoma State to fully complete graduation requirements. 

    “This then puts the transfer students at a disadvantage, and it also puts our Engineering program at a disadvantage in terms of recruiting students to their degree, so this waiver will also remedy that inequity for transfer students,” An unnamed student said at the early March Academic Senate meeting. The student at the meeting wanted to highlight the struggle that both transfer students and future students face in the program.  

    A few years ago, the California State University Chancellor made the decision to have all engineering majors be restricted to 120 units unless there were special circumstances for a particular student. A number of other CSUs have requested the same exemption from this unit cap and succeeded. 17 out of 23 CSU campuses have authorized exemptions for high unit majors like engineering, chemistry and computer science. 

    During the time period where other state schools asked for an exemption from this limiting requirement, SSU did not make the request to go from 120 units to 128 units. It is uncertain why Sonoma State did not make the request for its engineering students. 

    “The previous administration, President and Provost, were very adamantly against increasing it over 120 units. There was absolutely no support from the President and Provost, therefore, the department could not really request going over 120 units at that time”, said Farid Farahmand, chair of the Engineering Department. 

    Many engineering majors are frustrated about not being able not being able to go over 20 units a semester and the lack of support is making these students feel abandoned. 

    “There is a lack in resources to tell me what classes I need to take,” said ASB President Elect Noelia Brambila, talking about the lack of resources and how it contributed to her having to take an extra year of school.

    Brambila said she had spoken to other Engineering students who feel the same way about the lack of resources at the University. 

    While many students feel that the lack of assistance is hindering their ability to succeed and graduate on time, the CSU system has loosened other requirements that they say are “overly burdensome policies and procedures that may delay the graduation process.” 

    One recent decision was the loosening of the requirement that all CSU students pass a Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement. The CSU system cited the pandemic and degree completion as reasons for the temporary suspension of the classes or tests normally necessary to graduate.

    This request for a waiver comes from a desire from engineering majors to not have to take an extra year of school with an already rigorous workload that comes with the major. 

    “As you weigh your decision, just keep that in mind that we are being called upon to make sure that students can graduate in four years,” said Interim Provost Karen Moranski. 

    It is unclear what route the University will take for the future of this student population but many are hopeful that it is in the favor of timely graduation for engineering students. 

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