Theses, Research Projects, Examinations

A master's thesis is required by some programs. Preparation of a thesis demonstrates the student's ability to communicate and to evaluate critically. Information about preparing an electronic thesis is available on the Graduate School's website. The student should consult with his/her program office for additional forms required other than what appears on the graduation checklist.

Thesis Evaluation Process

Each master’s degree student undergoes an individual evaluation process at the end of his/her program. This evaluation process is defined as satisfactory demonstration of mastery of subject matter in which the graduate student is seeking the master’s degree. This demonstration is an individualized evaluation of each master’s candidate that is monitored and documented by at least two faculty members, at least one of whom must be a member of the graduate faculty (see this handbook’s section on doctoral dissertation committees for a full definition of the phrase "Graduate Faculty").

Faculty with emeritus status may remain on the committee if they were members when the proposal was accepted and were full-time tenured, graduate faculty. A faculty member originally on a student’s committee who leaves UC to take an academic position elsewhere may also continue to serve on the student’s committee if both the faculty member and the student agree to continue the relationship. However, neither an emeritus professor nor a faculty member from another institution may serve as chair of the committee, since they are no longer eligible to be graduate faculty. The student must submit the completed thesis to the thesis committee for critical evaluation.

Submission of Thesis

Once a thesis has been approved by his/her committee, the candidate for the master’s degree must submit an electronic thesis by following the current instructions online at the Graduate School's Graduation page. Master’s students who are not required to complete a thesis should consult their academic programs for the capstone experience required in their programs.

In some programs, the final capstone event may be in the form of a comprehensive exam or research project; in others, the final evaluation may appropriately be a recital, performance, or exhibition. The specific nature of the final evaluation is determined by the academic unit offering the master’s degree program. If questioned, the appropriateness of a final evaluation will be decided by the University Graduate Council. Students who have written a thesis are expected by the Graduate School per their program requirements to make a public announcement of their thesis defense, including time, date, and title of the public presentation.