Frequently Asked Questions about Major Form Preparation

Directions below are for Spring and Fall 2019 graduates only. Starting with Spring 2020 grads we'll have an online graduation application process with minimal paperwork. Details will be avialable by the start of the Spring 2019 semester.

Note that all major forms must be typed.

What catalog year should I put down on my major form? What does “catalog year” mean?

It's often best to put down the academic year in which you are graduating.

“Catalog year” means that you are following the approved curriculum of that particular year. Technically, you can put down the catalog for the year that you entered SJSU or a California community college (as long as you were continuously enrolled), the year you are finishing, or any year in between. If you wish to take advantage of any of curriculum changes that occurred while you were a student at SJSU, you’ll need to put down the year you are finishing. In this case, put down, for example, “18-19” if you’re graduating in Spring 2019. (Note that if you put down a catalog year prior to 14-15, you will be required to take four electives – probably not what you want to do.)


I took a bunch of classes at other schools. How do I put those down?

Strike through the class number and name. Right underneath put the name of the class you took along with the number of units and grade, something like this:

Phys 50 Gen Physics: Mechanics   4

Phys*4a Physics for Scientists & Engineers     4     B+

Then at the bottom of the top section where it says “Course taken at”, you’ll put this down:

*Course taken at Fresno City College

You can use multiple symbols if you took classes at more than one other school, such as

Course taken at *Fresno City College ** Mission College ^SJSU

Note that you can substitute an SJSU course with a different SJSU course using the same format. Substituting CE 99 for CE 95 and Engr 11 for Engr 10 are the most common cases of this.

What are Engr 195a and b? Do I need to take them?

These are two 1-unit classes that are used to replace SJSU Studies areas S and V (i.e., upper division GE) when taken in conjunction with ME 195a and b. The Engr and ME 195a and b classes MUST be taken together, and all four classes are needed to replace S and V.  You need a “C” or better in all four to count for SJSU Studies credit.

Effective with Spring 2017 graduates, these courses are required. The only exceptions are if you took an S or V course prior to Fall 2015 or if you are part of the GTI tour and thus are required to take ME 198. Any other exceptions must be approved by the department chair and are rarely granted. If you have an approved exception, cross out Engr 195a/b on your major form (with no replacement courses underneath), and put a note on your Major Form Checklist why you believe that those courses are waived. 

 What about Engl 1b? I see that shows up on the major form, and I didn’t take an equivalent course at my community college.

Most second semester composition classes qualify as a substitute. These courses may show up under area GE area A3 when taken at a community college. The Engineering Student Success Center (ESSC) evaluates substitutes for Engl 1B, and if approved in writing by ESSC the ME Department will likewise honor the substitution on your major form.  Appointments with ESSC can be made from their website (Note that if they approve an A3 course to substitute for Engl 1b, which falls under GE area C2 at SJSU, that does not mean that your class will count for GE area C2 – you will must cover that GE area. It means that you have covered the major requirement of a second semester composition class, and you can substitute it on your major form.)

I already turned in my major form, and now I want to change my capstone design course or electives. What do I do?

Turn in a substitution form, available on the registrar’s website. The form is found here:

Turn the form in at the ME front desk. Do not turn in the form until you are registered in the substituted class.

I haven’t decided my electives yet. What do I do?

You need to pick electives to put on your form, but you can change them later using a substitution form, as discussed above.

Do my electives have to be in the same area as my capstone design course?

No. There is a list of recommended technical electives depending on which capstone course you choose:

You are welcome to choose electives in different areas of ME – they do not need to be in the same area as your capstone course. Other upper division technical courses beyond this list may be acceptable, but make sure to check with an advisor for approval before taking any electives – particularly any outside of ME. Note that ME 157, the capstone design course for mechanical system design, has a co-requisite of ME 110 Manufacturing Methods. If you choose ME 157 as your capstone design course, then ME 110 must show up as one of your two electives on your major form.

Is ME 198 a technical elective? How about ME 140? ME 109?

No. ME 198 is an SJSU Studies (upper division GE) course. ME 140 likewise does not count. ME 109 is a somewhat easier version of ME 114 for Computer and Electrical Engineers and thus will not count as an elective.

Can I take CE 99 instead of 95 if I want?

Effective Fall 2014, you need to take CE 95. If you have a special situation and really need to take CE 99 instead of 95 (typically because of scheduling purposes), see an advisor for approval before you register. While CE 95 and CE 99 both cover introductory statics, CE 95 goes more in depth since it is 3 units instead of two. CE 95 should prepare students better for ME 101 and CE 112, which are typically difficult classes that require a lot of knowledge of statics.

I took an Intro to Engineering course at a community college. Will it count for GE area E?

No. Instructors had to add new material into Engr 10 to get it to count for E, and that material is not included in equivalent courses at community colleges.

I’m a transfer student, and I never took an Introduction to Engineering course. Do I have to take it?

Your advisor can recommend some substitutions. For example, you can also take SCI 75 Life is a Start-Up. This is a 3-unit course that focuses on developing leadership skills, and you will work with leadership coaches from industry. Engr 160SL, which is a 1-unit course where you work on design projects to serve the community, can also be used. ME also has a class on career planning that will count and is highly recommended (this is one of the ME 180 sections offered each semester). See your advisor for other recommendations. Note that these classes will NOT count for GE area E -- only for the major requirement.

Some schools have Introduction to Engineering courses that are not articulated with Engr 10 and are not officially equivalent. The Engineering Student Success Center will evaluate those kinds of articulations. We may be able to substitute a course that is not officially equivalent to Engr 10. If your substitution is not approved, see the ME Department Chair to see if a substitution may still be OK.

My advising report on mysjsu says that I’m missing electives, but I have taken the two on my major form. Should I be concerned?

No. This report often is not accurate for technical electives. As long as you have taken the electives on your major form, you are OK. Also, if you started at SJSU before Fall 2014, the system will say that you need 10 units of electives (the old requirement) instead of the current 6. The graduation evaluators will go by what was approved on your major form rather than mysjsu.

The graduation application asks if I have a concentration. Should I put something down?

No. ME has unofficial areas of focus (mechatronics, design, thermal-fluids), but they are not official concentrations recognized by the university and thus will not show up on your diploma.