Master's Thesis General Information

All graduate students completing a Plan A (Master's Thesis) or a Plan C (Creative Project) as part of a culminating experience degree requirement must email their theses to the Office of Graduate Studies. Upon approval by your thesis committee, your thesis manuscript is reviewed by our office. Graduate Studies assures that all formatting requirements for publication have been met and that your thesis meets the quality standards established by the SJSU Master's Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines (pdf) before the final version can be uploaded to an online ETD administrator that is used for delivering the thesis to the external publisher, ProQuest, and to the SJSU library.

Below is a brief description of the Plan A and Plan C culminating experience options. For more information on other culminating experience options and general graduation requirements, please visit our sister website Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations (GAPE) and/or the SJSU University Catalog (

Plan A - Thesis

This plan requires selection and approval (by your advisor and/or a thesis committee) of a thesis research topic and the successful completion and publication of a formal report. Students must register for their departmental 299 course. The thesis will not only be reviewed by your department committee for content, but will also be reviewed by Graduate Studies to ensure that the document follows the university's thesis guidelines. The process for completing and submitting a thesis is, therefore, an intensive one that requires students to follow strict deadlines and requirements.

Plan C - Creative Project

This plan is reserved for cases in which the final requirement is met through a special creative assignment. A creative assignment may include music compositions, original paintings, dramatic presentations, motion picture productions, or works of sculpture. The student is required to submit a written report to Graduate Studies on the creative project following the same formatting guidelines as a regular thesis. Plan C also requires registration in a departmental 299 course.

Students should check with their department to determine whether or not their work is considered a creative project or a thesis.

Preliminary Requirements

Students submitting their theses to Graduate Studies are expected to have applied for graduation and completed all the necessary steps towards completion of their degrees. Information on the steps for completing a Master's degree and other relevant deadlines can be found on the GAPE website. The thesis must be submitted for review to Graduate Studies in the semester that you intend to graduate.

Reviewing the procedures and the SJSU Master's Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines (pdf) in advance can save time and help avoid stress, especially for candidates who are completing their thesis, moving, or applying for or beginning new jobs at virtually the same time. The most important thing you can do to make the thesis process go smoothly is to take time as soon as possible to learn about requirements, mark deadlines on your calendar, and be realistic about the amount of time you will need. You may submit your thesis up to a month in advance of the posted deadline.