A culminating experience is required for the completion of a master's or doctorate degree program. It is the final requirement to culminate your degree.
Identify Your Culminating Experience Plan
Explore the culminating plans below and the policies that govern each plan.
- Plan A - Thesis (Master's Degree)
This plan requires selection and approval (by the graduate advisor and/or the candidate's committee) of a thesis topic and its successful completion and production in bound form. The thesis plan is overseen by the College of Graduate Studies.
Course enrollment: department 299
Thesis Details: forms, guidelines, and deadlines
Catalog: Thesis Requirements
- Plan B - Project or Comprehensive Exam (Master's Degree)
This plan requires students to undergo a combination of a comprehensive examination, final paper, or project. Students should consult with their graduate advisor regarding this plan.
Course enrollment: department 298 (project) or course set by department
Catalog: Project/Comprehensive Exam Requirements
Note: Students who fulfill their culminating experience requirement through Plan B cannot list 299 with a passing grade on their SJSU transcript. If a student has enrolled in 299, they must withdraw from the course or take a grade of NC.
- Plan C - Creative Work (Master's Degree)
This plan is reserved for cases in which the final requirement is met through a special creative assignment. The student is required to submit a written report on the creative project. The report is to be cataloged. This plan follows a similar pattern to the thesis option and is overseen by the College of Graduate Studies.
Course enrollment: department 299
Creative Work Details: forms, guidelines, and deadlines
Catalog: Creative Work Requirements
- Project (Doctoral Degree)
It is California State University policy to require a doctoral project in the following programs:
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs - the DNP doctoral project shall be the written product of a systematic, rigorous, evidence-based endeavor focused on a significant nursing practice issue.
Doctor of Audiology (AuD) programs - proposals may be undertaken as projects that are developed under the guidance of faculty and approved by the doctoral project committee.
Course enrollment: department project course
The project option is overseen by the College of Graduate Studies.
Doctoral Project Details: forms, guidelines, and deadlines
Catalog: Doctoral Project Requirements
- Dissertation (Doctoral Degree)
It is California State University policy to require a dissertation in the following programs:
Doctor of Education Degree (EdD) programs - the dissertation shall be the written product of systematic, rigorous research on a significant professional issue.
Course enrollment: department 599
The dissertation option is overseen by the College of Graduate Studies.
Dissertation Details: forms, guidelines, and deadlines
Catalog: Dissertation Requirements
Follow Culminating Experience Deadlines
View the deadlines below according to your plan type and program requirements.
- Thesis and Dissertation
The submission deadlines and processes for students who are completing a Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation (Plan A) for their Culminating Experience are determined and managed by the Office of the College of Graduate Studies. For a comprehensive list of these dates, please visit the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations Deadlines webpage for your anticipated graduation term or visit the College of Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation Submission and Publication Deadlines webpage.
For any additional Thesis and Dissertation questions, please contact the College of Graduate Studies at email@example.com.
- Project and Comprehensive Exams
Students who are completing a Department Project or Comprehensive Examination (Plan B) are to successfully complete their experience by the listed degree conferral date at the end of the semester for which they intend to graduate. To confirm that deadline or for other important semester dates, please visit the Deadlines page associated with your anticipated graduation term. This date can be found within the Important Dates and Timelines table.
- Creative Work
Students who are completing a Creative Project (Plan C) are required to submit a written report to the Office of the College of Graduate Studies on their creative project. To confirm that deadline or for more information, please visit the College of Graduate Studies website or contact their office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Verification of Culminating Experience Form
The Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations (GAPE) Office is notified of the completion of a student’s degree program requirements in two ways:
- Submission of a Verification of Culminating Experience Form.
- Successful completion of a predetermined final culminating experience course.
The purpose of the Verification of Culminating Experience Form is to notify the GAPE Office that you have successfully satisfied all of your degree program requirements as per your designated department or school. It is the role of your Graduate Advisor to submit the Verification of Culminating Experience Form on your behalf at the end of the semester for which you intend to graduate. However, it is the responsibility of the student to confirm the use of the form in conjunction with their program and ensure the form has been submitted to the GAPE Office. For students who are only required to conclude their degree program requirements via a final culminating experience course, it is your responsibility to successfully complete that predetermined course.
Note: The Verification of Culminating Experience Form is not accessible to students and will not be accepted if submitted by a student. Each designated Graduate Advisor has been granted access to the form and must submit it to the GAPE Office on behalf of the student.
Maintain Continuous Enrollment (1290R)
Learn how culminating students maintain their continuous enrollment below. Explore the details of this Enrollment Policy and Registration Process in our 1290R Presentation [pdf].
- Enrollment Policy
Continuous enrollment is required of all graduate students between completion of regular courses and satisfactory completion of the culminating experience. Enrollment must be maintained in each Fall and Spring semester until degree completion. Graduate students may maintain enrollment by registering for a 1-unit 1290R course or by registering for other courses.
Please note that departments may require repeated enrollment in a project, thesis, or comprehensive exam-preparation class. Consult with your graduate advisor for additional instruction to successfully maintain continuous enrollment.
For detailed information, visit the university catalog for the Continuous Enrollment Policy.
- 1290R Registration
Students will be assigned a Special Session appointment for the 1290R course and they may then register online through their MySJSU portal. No permission or add code is necessary to register for the 1290R course.
As the course is supervisory in nature, there are no formal meetings for 1290R. The enrollment allows students to maintain an active status (utilizing campus resources) while completing their culminating experience. Students are encouraged to register as soon as the MySJSU appointment is available; however, registration for 1290R must occur prior to the last day of course instruction for the given term.
Note for International Students: To maintain their immigration status, international students are encouraged to add the course as soon as their appointments are available and within 30 days.
- Retroactive 1290R Registration
Continuous enrollment is a university graduation requirement. Therefore, failure to register for this unit will result in a hold on graduation until the 1290R unit is retroactively added in each Fall and Spring term lacking required enrollment. At that time, late fees will apply.
To retroactively add a 1290R course, the student is required to complete an online Retroactive Requests for 1290R form, available at the Registrar's website and payment of associated tuition and fees.