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Degree Completion

Read about the requirements for degree completion for doctoral and all varieties of master programs. 

Master's Students (all)

  • The minimum residence requirement is three academic quarters; AT LEAST ONE of which must follow advancement to candidacy. Residence is established by satisfactory completion of six units or more per quarter, some of which must be at the graduate level.
  • A student must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above in upper division and graduate course work, have no more than 8 units of F or U, and resolve any outstanding grading problems.
  • A student must be registered or file a General Petition to pay the filing fee in lieu of registration.

The deadline to submit final degree paperwork to the Graduate Division is the 11th Friday of each quarter or early September for summer graduation (see our general deadlines and the Registrar’s Enrollment and Registration Calendar for more information on deadlines and specific dates). If the deadline is missed the degree will be awarded in the next quarter.

Master's Thesis (Plan I) and Master of Fine Arts (Plan III) Students

Master's thesis and Master of Fine Arts students should check with their advisor regarding when the thesis must be submitted for review by the master committee.

  • A student must make an appointment with the Graduate Division for a preliminary check of his/her thesis . At that appointment the format is checked and instructions on the final preparation and submission of the thesis are given. The thesis must be formatted according to the requirements explained in the "Preparation and Submission Manual for Doctoral Dissertations and Master's Theses".
  • The thesis committee shall supervise and approve the student's thesis by signing the thesis signature page. Signatures are collected from each faculty member via DocuSign. Students are responsible for initiating the signature page in DocuSign here. Once all committee members have signed the signature page it will be electronically routed to the Graduate Division. Proxy signatures are not accepted.
  • The requirement for a thesis defense varies by department; students should check with their committee chair or with the graduate coordinator. For departments that require a defense, the following applies. The preferred means to conduct the defense is when all committee members are physically present. Graduate Council, however, has determined that a master's committee member can participate in one of three ways: 1) physically present (meaning they are in the room), 2) telepresent (meaning they participate by live video teleconference), or 3) in advance (if they must be absent on the exam date, it is permissible to examine the candidate in advance of the exam date).
    •  More than half of the master's committee must be physically present. No more than one member may be telepresent.
    • The committee chair, or one co-chair, must be physically present
    • If an emergency situation arises that affects the number of committee members present, the committee chair (or co-chairs) may decide how to proceed. There must be sufficient expertise among present members (either physically or telepresent) to examine the student.
    • Departments and programs may impose more restrictive requirements regarding how to conduct these exams, as they deem appropriate. 
  • The Final Report of the Thesis or Comprehensive Examination (Plan I or II) for the Degree of Master of Arts or Science or the Final Report of the Modified Thesis Examination, Plan III, for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts must have the original signatures of all members of the thesis committee, the program’s graduate advisor, and the program’s chair. The form for Plan I must also indicate if the student will continue at UC San Diego or will terminate. (The Final Report form is initiated by the graduate coordinator and signatures are obtained from each faculty member through DocuSign. Instructions are listed on the Graduate Division's collab page). Proxy signatures are not accepted.
  • The final version of the thesis must conform to procedures outlined in the "Preparation and Submission Manual for Doctoral Dissertations and Master's Theses."
  • The thesis submission fee will be charged to the student's TritonLink financial account once the Final Report form is received by the Graduate Division. 
  • The student submits the final approved thesis to the Graduate Division at the final appointment (the Final Report form is routed electronically from the program's graduate coordinator via DocuSign). Final approval and acceptance of the thesis by the Dean of the Graduate Division (on behalf of the University Archivist and Graduate Council) represents the final step in the completion of all requirements for the Master's degree.

The deadline to submit final degree paperwork to the Graduate Division is the 11th Friday of each quarter or early September for summer graduation (see general deadlines and the Registrar’s Enrollment and Registration Calendar for more information on deadlines and specific dates). If the deadline is missed the degree will be awarded in the next quarter.

Dissertation and Thesis Submission Manual

Master's Students (Plan II Comprehensive Exam)

The Final Report of the Thesis or Comprehensive Examination (Plan I or II) for the Degree of Master of Arts or Science is submitted to the Graduate Division. The Final Report must list the date the examination was completed, and must have original signatures of the program's graduate advisor and the program's chair. The form must indicate if the student will continue at UC San Diego or will terminate. (The Final Report form is initiated by the graduate coordinator and signatures are obtained from each faculty member through DocuSign. Instructions are listed on the Graduate Division's collab page).

The deadline to submit final degree paperwork to the Graduate Division is the 11th Friday of each quarter or early September for summer graduation (see general deadlines and the Registrar’s Enrollment and Registration Calendar) for more information on deadlines and specific dates). If the deadline is missed the degree will be awarded in the next quarter. 

Master of Business Administration Students

The M.B.A. is offered as a full-time or a part-time program. There is no advancement to candidacy requirement. Completion of the degree is verified by department submission of the final report via the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS). Check submission deadlines and process with graduate coordinator.

Procedures

  • Only courses required for the M.B.A. should be listed on the uAchieve audit - 92 units. Proxy signatures are not acceptable.
  • Candidates must have a GPA equivalent to 3.0 or above in upper division and graduate course work, with a total of no more than eight units of "F" and/or "U" grades.
  • The uAchieve audit report must be submitted by the last day of the quarter in which the student will receive the degree. The report may be filed anytime during student's last quarter of enrollment. Filing early in quarter is encouraged.
  • Academic Senate regulations for MBA

Master of Education Students

The M.Ed. is a two-year, full-time program, with no advancement to candidacy required.

Completion of the degree is verified by department submission of the final report via the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS). Check submission deadlines and process with graduate coordinator.

Procedures

  • Only courses required for M.Ed. should be listed on the uAchieve - 64 units. Proxy signatures are not acceptable.
  • Candidates must have a GPA equivalent to 3.0 or above in upper division and graduate course work, with a total of no more than eight units of "F" and/or "U" grades.
  • The uAchieve audit must be submitted by the last day of the quarter in which the student will receive the degree. The report may be filed anytime during student's last quarter of enrollment. Filing early in quarter is encouraged.

Master of Advanced Studies Students

The M.A.S is a one-year, full-time program, with no advancement to candidacy required.

Completion of the degree is verified by department submission of the final report via the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS). Check submission deadlines and process with graduate coordinator.

Procedures

  • Only courses required for M.A.S should be listed on the uAchieve audit - 36 units. Proxy signatures are not acceptable.
  • Candidates must have a GPA equivalent to 3.0 or above in upper division and graduate course work, with a total of no more than eight units of "F" and/or "U" grades.
  • The uAchieve audit report must be submitted by the last day of the quarter in which the student will receive the degree. The report may be filed anytime during student's last quarter of enrollment. Filing early in quarter is encouraged.

Master of International Affairs

The MIA is a two-year, full-time program, with no advancement to candidacy required.

Completion of the degree is verified by department submission of the final report via the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS). Check submission deadlines and process with graduate coordinator.

Procedures

  • Only courses required for MIA should be listed on the uAchieve audit - 98 units. Proxy signatures are not acceptable.
  • Candidates must have a GPA equivalent to 3.0 or above in upper division and graduate course work, with a total of no more than eight units of "F" and/or "U" grades.
  • The uAchieve audit must be submitted by the last day of the quarter in which the student will receive the degree. The report may be filed anytime during student's last quarter of enrollment. Filing early in quarter is encouraged.

Doctoral Students

  • A student must have completed 6 quarters of academic residency, of which 3 quarters must be between advancement and the final examination/defense. Residence is established by the satisfactory completion of six units or more per quarter, at least some of which must be at the graduate level. Joint doctoral students meet the UC San Diego academic residency requirement by successfully completing a minimum of thirty-six units of course work at UC San Diego.
  • A student must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above in upper division and graduate course work, have no more than 8 units of F or U, and resolve any outstanding grading problems.
  • A student must be registered or file a General Petition to pay the filing fee in lieu of registration.
  • The doctoral dissertation must be submitted to each member of the doctoral committee at least four weeks before the final examination.
  • A student must make an appointment with the Graduate Division for a preliminary check of his/her dissertation . At that appointment the format is checked and instructions on the final preparation and submission of the dissertation are given. The dissertation must be formatted according to the requirements explained in the "Preparation and Submission Manual for Doctoral Dissertations and Master's Theses".
  • The doctoral committee shall supervise and approve the student's dissertation by signing the dissertation signature page. Signatures are collected from each faculty member via DocuSign. Students are responsible for initiating the signature page in DocuSign here (JDP students with SDSU go to this link). Once all committee members have signed the signature page it will be electronically routed to the Graduate Division. Proxy signatures are not accepted.
  • Academic Senate policy states that the committee conducts the final oral examination/defense, which is to be public and announced as such.
  • The preferred means to conduct the final exam is when all committee members are physically present. Graduate Council, however, has determined that a doctoral committee member can participate in one of three ways: 1) physically present (meaning they are in the room), 2) telepresent (meaning they participate by live video teleconference), or 3) in advance (if they must be absent on the exam date, it is permissible to examine the candidate in advance of the exam date).
    • More than half of the doctoral committee must be physically present. No more than two members may be telepresent.
    • The committee chair, or one co-chair, must be physically present.
    • The outside tenured member must be physically present or telepresent.
    • If an emergency situation arises that affects the number of committee members present, the committee chair (or co-chairs) may decide how to proceed. There must be sufficient expertise among present members (either physically or telepresent) to examine the student.
    • Departments and programs may impose more restrictive requirements regarding how to conduct these exams, as they deem appropriate. 
  • The Final Report form and the dissertation signature page must have the original signatures of all members of the doctoral committee; the Final Report must also be signed by the program chair. (The Final Report form is initiated by the graduate coordinator and signatures are obtained from each faculty member through DocuSign. Instructions are listed on the Graduate Division's collab page). Proxy signatures are not accepted.
  • The final version of the thesis must conform to procedures outlined in the "Preparation and Submission Manual for Doctoral Dissertations and Master's Theses"
  • The student submits the final approved dissertation to the Graduate Division at the final appointment (the Final Report form is routed electronically from the program’s graduate coordinator via DocuSign). Final approval and acceptance of the dissertation by the Dean of the Graduate Division (on behalf of the University Archivist and Graduate Council) represents the final step in the completion of all requirements for the doctoral degree.

Dissertation and Thesis Submission Manual

Summer Degree Completion

  • Summer graduation is only allowed for students who are terminating from the program / university. A student who is continuing into the fall quarter may file for a fall degree. 
  • The deadline to file for summer graduation follows the Registrar's dates for Summer Session II (in early September). 
  • Master's degree students must have completed and filed the uAchieve audit in a previous quarter (in which they were registered) in order to be eligible for summer degree completion. 
  • Students who are registered for the spring quarter prior to summer graduation, or who are registered for summer, will not need to pay any additional fees to file in the summer. 
  • A filing fee and / or a readmit fee may be required for students not registered for the prior quarter. Please check with the Graduate Division Academic Affairs advisers for specifics.

Commencement Ceremonies

Learn about the Master's and Doctoral commencement ceremonies, including dates, times, and participation requirements

Commencement