Culminating Experience: Theses and Capstones

Every degree requires a culminating experience that is designed to integrate and apply the knowledge and learning gained from the curriculum, and demonstrate mastery of the subject matter in the degree. A master’s thesis is required by some programs, and a master’s capstone project/experience is required in others. Each master’s degree student undergoes an individual evaluation process at the end of their program.

Thesis Preparation, Evaluation and Submission Process

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 College website. The student should consult with their program office for additional forms required other than what appears on the graduation checklist.

A student must note any relevant deadlines defined by their program, and work with their program leadership to form a thesis committee composed of at least two UC faculty members, at least one of whom must be a member of the university graduate faculty. The thesis committee can guide the student in their exploration of the topic of the master’s thesis, and is responsible for final evaluation of the thesis. The student must submit the completed thesis to the thesis committee for critical evaluation, by the deadline required by the program or their thesis committee. Students who have written a thesis are expected by the Graduate College per their program requirements to make a public announcement of their thesis defense, including time, date, and title of the public presentation. The format for thesis evaluation is decided by the academic unit offering the graduate degree.

Faculty with emerit status may remain on the committee if they were members when the proposal was accepted and were full-time tenured, university 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 emerit professor nor a faculty member from another institution may serve as chair of the committee, since they are no longer eligible to be university graduate faculty. 

Once a thesis has been approved by their committee, the candidate for the master’s degree must submit an electronic thesis by following the current instructions online at the Graduate College's Graduation page. Be careful to adhere to any deadlines for submission, or graduation will be delayed.

Capstone Process

Master’s students who are not required to complete a thesis should consult their academic programs about the requirements and procedures for the capstone experience 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, but it must include evaluation by full-time faculty at the University of Cincinnati. If questioned, the appropriateness of a final evaluation will be decided by the University Graduate Council.