Finish in Four 

To graduate from Sac State you must earn a minimum of 120 units. On average, you must earn a minimum of 15 units each semester to graduate in four years (15 earned units/semester x 8 semesters = 120 units).

Deciding on a major the first year of college makes it easier for a student to accomplish the goal of “finishing in four.” Some majors allow students to overlap major courses with general education (GE) areas and graduation requirements.


1)  A Sociology major can use SOC 8 (3 units) within the major and the course also covers GE area A3: Critical
2)  An Environmental Studies major needs to take BIO 1 (5 units) for the major, this course also covers GE areas
     B2: Life Science & B3: Laboratory.
3)  An English major needs to take nine units from the following five courses: ENGL 40A, ENGL 40B, ENGL 50A,
     ENGL 50B, ENGL 65 (each course is worth 3 units); all of these courses are part of GE and will cover GE area
     C3: Humanities & C4: additional ‘C’ course.

Courses that overlap between major and GE only count once for the exact number of units; taking BIO 1 earns 5 units toward the 120 unit requirement, not 5 units for the major and 5 units in GE.

Sac State’s GE areas comprise 51 units. If a student does not overlap major requirements with GE areas, a student will need to take 69 units to reach the 120 minimum. Majors range from 39-101 units. Sacramento State offers: Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Sciences (BS) and Bachelor of Music (BM). The unit totals listed below do not include GE units.


A)  Biological Sciences, BA: 62-66 units
B)  Biological Sciences, BS: 73-85 units, depending on concentration
C)  Communications, BA: 39 units, for the General or Organizational concentrations
D)  Engineering – Mechanical, BS: 129 units (pre-major: 64 units, major: 65 units)
E)  Social Work, BA: 48 units

If your major is a low unit major (less than 50-60 units) you can choose to minor in a subject or take elective courses to reach 120 units. Minors range from 12-21 units. Elective courses are those which do not fulfill a requirement but are taken for enjoyment, these can be additional GE courses or courses from a department that is not your major.

Steps to finish in four:

1.  Decide on a major – visit the online university catalog for the full list of majors and requirements
2.  Meet with a major advisor to:

a.  Determine major requirements and the total units needed to complete the major
b.  Discuss course sequencing and plan at least two semesters of courses
c.  Find out which major courses overlap with GE areas and graduation requirements
d.  Ask about minors 

3.  Based on the total units required to complete the major and GE, determine if a minor will be a good idea. If a minor is a good idea:

a.  Meet with an advisor from the minor department
b.  Determine which courses are required (and possibly overlap with GE)
c.  Discuss course sequencing

4.  Plot the major (and minor) courses which overlap with GE on the finish in four worksheet
5.  Plot the rest of your major courses on the worksheet.
6.  Plot the minor courses on the worksheet. If you plan to take electives rather than minoring, you can
     determine elective courses at a later time.
7.  Make a list of alternate courses which can be used within the major, for the minor, and GE.
8.  Determine which courses on the worksheet can be taken out of sequence and create alternate plans if
     registration does not go exactly the way you envision it.
9.  Make sure the units total at least 120.
10.  Meet with a GE advisor to make sure you:

a.  Have all the GE areas are covered
b.  Will reach 120 units
c.  Will reach 40 units of upper division coursework (courses #100-199)
d.  Have met all the graduation requirements
e.  Will meet GPA requirements

Thoughtful planning and wise decision making are needed to finish in four!

Finish in Four Worksheet