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Graduate Work Approval Process

When do I need to submit a Graduate Approval form?

In general, you need to submit a Graduate Work Approval form twenty days (20) in advance:

  1. If you're taking a class or enrolling in a masters degree program from an institution that is not pre-approved by our district (see list below).
  2. Any time you're taking a distance-learning/online class. The only exception to this is when you are enrolled in an approved masters program and some of the classes in the program are offered online. If the masters program is completely offered online, you must submit a graduate work approval, even if it's from one of the pre-approved institutions.

Pre-Approved Institutions (Note: Approval for these institutions does not include classes offered through extension or professional development enhancement)


All University of California schools


Claremont Graduate University


Pepperdine University


All Cal. State Universities


Concordia University


University, Southern California


Brandman University


Loyola Marymount


Vanguard University


Chapman University

National University




What classes/courses are eligible for graduate work approval?


CUEA Contract Language says: "Staff Development activities taken through CUSD academies or workshops and graduate level coursework, including Master's and Doctoral degree programs, completed through approved institutions no longer require prior graduate work approval, provided the course(s) meets the requirements set forth in Article The approved units shall:

  • be required for a degree in the present teaching field; or, 
  • be required for a certificate needed for the employee's present position; or,
  • be required for an organized program of a credential or advanced degree in an educationally related field;
  • be required for an individual's current teaching assignment and/or needs of the district;
  • provide background or resource material for the unit member which will directly benefit the students in his/her class(es);
  • be required for a special education or bilingual certificate; or
  • be required for supplementary authorization for a unit member currently on a waiver."

What happens when I submit a graduate work approval?

IF APPROVED: Once your Graduate Work Approval is approved, it will be forwarded to the Human Resource Services office.


IF DENIED: Your Graduate Work approval form will be returned to your school with the reason for denial specified.  If you wish to appeal the denial, you can complete an appeals form and have the appeals committee review the issue.

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Non-Discrimination Statement

The Capistrano Unified School District prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying in all district activities, programs, and employment based upon actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, color, religion, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, sex, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, pregnancy, age, physical or mental disability or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Reference: AR 1312.3, BP 1312.3 and BP 5183.

Rich Montgomery, Executive Director, Human Resource Services/Compliance
33122 Valle Road, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 234-9200

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