The Big Switch


CSU Pledge to undergraduate students:

In planning and implementing the conversion from 4-credit courses to 3-credit courses, Cleveland State University is committed to protecting the academic progress of students.
  • Students will not be required to take any additional credits to graduate.
  • Good planning around a student’s major will be particularly important. The University will provide that support through advising to students who began their academic careers prior to the conversion and will complete their degrees after summer 2014. 

The Importance of Advising:

Students will vary considerably in their academic progress, and each student’s plan for completing degree requirements will need to be determined individually. This means that students and their advisors must work together to develop effective plans leading to timely graduation. Academic advisors will understand how any changes in courses and curricula may affect students’ degree programs, will know where and how programs can be flexible, and will be prepared to assist students in planning their remaining time to graduation.


Q. Who is considered a transition student?
A. Any student who is continuing their studies into the fall 2014 term and beyond is considered a transition student. Students new to Cleveland State as of the fall 2014 term, as well as students who had previously studied at Cleveland State, but returned for the fall 2014 term or later (after a one year absence or longer), are NOT considered transition students and should follow the degree requirements in the new catalog.
Q. Who should I see for transition advising?
A. Each college has designated faculty and/or staff to assist students with the 4-to-3 transition. This may not be the same person you have met with in the past. To determine how to make an appointment for your major, please visit the advisor contact page and find your program.
Q. When should I see my advisor?
A. You should see your advisor as soon as possible during the spring term. Registration for the next academic year will begin on March 31, 2014, and you must see your advisor prior to your registration appointment to ensure, that you are on track for graduation.
Q.  I keep seeing the pledge to hold students harmless.  What does this mean?
A. CSU’s pledge to students is that the conversion will not require students to take any additional credits than were previously required.  
Q. What is my responsibility in the 4-to-3 conversion?
A. A successful partnership places responsibilities on both parties.You must meet with an academic advisor, jointly create a transition plan that leads to graduation, and then successfully complete the academic requirements following the timeline specified in the plan. The University will not be responsible for the preceding commitments if you have not met with an advisor to develop a transition plan or you do not complete the requirements of the individual advising plan in the agreed upon timeline.
Q. Will both 3-credit and 4-credit hour courses be offered in fall 2014?   
A. Starting Fall 2014 the majority of undergraduate courses will be 3-credits. Though there will still be some 4-credit courses, there will not be 3-credit and 4-credit hour versions of the same course offered.  
Q. I keep hearing that I can graduate under the previous “catalog rights” – what does this mean?
A.  The term ‘catalog rights’ means that students have the right to graduate following the degree requirements that were in place at the time they were admitted to CSU (they’re called catalog rights in reference to the university catalog in which those degree requirements are contained). When course offerings change (as they will during the 4-to-3 transition), colleges and departments work with students to plan a program of study that will keep them on track for graduation without having to complete additional credits. Transition students may elect to move to the new requirements – in which case their catalog rights shift to the requirements contained in the 2014-15 catalog.    
Q. How will the 4-to-3 conversion affect me?
A. If you graduate prior to the start of the fall 2014 term, it will not affect you at all.  If you graduate after summer 2014, you will be a transition student and you must meet with an advisor to discuss transition planning.
Q. How will 3-credit courses be different from 4-credit courses?  
A.  Besides meeting for a shorter period of time, each class has been carefully reviewed by faculty to ensure that the work load of the course is appropriate for a 3-credit class.
Q. Can I choose to follow the old or the new curriculum offered by my department?  
A. Transition students can elect to complete their degree requirements under the old or the new curriculum. Students starting CSU fall 2014 and after must follow the new curriculum. In many cases the new version of the curriculum may be a faster path to graduation. Your transition advisor will assist you in determining which curriculum is the best option for you. 
Q. How many total credit hours do I need to graduate? 
A. The total hours required for graduation have always varied by college and major, and this will continue to be true for transition students, but prior to fall 2014 most programs required at least 128 credit hours. Transition students who elect to complete their degree requirements under the old curriculum will continue to follow their existing degree requirements, completing all major, college and university requirements in addition to earning the minimum number of overall hours.
Q. If I took classes that were worth 4-credit hours, will I still get credit for the 4-credits after the courses are converted to 3-credit courses?
A. Yes, the conversion will NOT take any earned credit hours away from a student. If you took courses worth 4-credits you will keep all of the credit already earned.
Q. Whom should I contact if I have a problem making an appointment with my advisor or have concerns about my transition plan?
A. Email  indicate your name, ID, major and who you think your assigned advisor is.  You will receive a response within one business day.