Thesis and Dissertation Information


Students intending to write a thesis or dissertation should obtain the manual Graduate Thesis Guidelines from either their program director or online. In most master’s degree programs, students can do their thesis work in one 6-unit 897 thesis course or divide their work into two 3-unit 898 courses, normally taken in two consecutive terms. Students need special permits from the program director to register for 897 or 898.

Doctoral dissertation/thesis work uses the same Guidelines, plus additional policies within the doctoral program. Normally, the dissertation courses are 997 and 998. Depending upon the program, a minimum of 12 to 24 units are needed to complete the dissertation. 

Students are expected to maintain continuous registration in a thesis/dissertation course (or continuum- see below) each academic term until they successfully complete all of the requirements of the thesis/dissertation. This also includes summer and minimester for those students who work with their chair or committee members on their thesis/dissertation during these terms.

Thesis/dissertation coursework will receive grades of IP (in progress) and not earn credit until the thesis or dissertation is complete and successfully defended at which time all IP grades will be changed over to grades of S (satisfactory).

Thesis/Project Continuum Registration

Students who do not complete their thesis during the regular thesis course registration must register for Thesis Continuum (899 or 999) every term until the work is finished, submitted, and approved. Doctoral students who do not complete their dissertation during the regular dissertation course registration must register for Dissertation Continuum (999) or additional units of Dissertation every term until the work is finished, submitted, and approved. Students who do not complete the project work during the regular project course registration must register for Project Continuum (885) the following term to complete the work. Normally, students will only be allowed one term of Project Continuum.

Students who make satisfactory progress on their thesis/dissertation/project during a term of continuum registration will receive a grade of S (satisfactory) while students who fail to make satisfactory progress will receive a U (unsatisfactory). Continuum registration does not count toward degree requirements.

Students who miss a term and return will need to register for thesis/dissertation/project units after the fact for the missed term(s). Any exceptions will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the program director and the dean of Graduate Studies.