The master's thesis or project is a serious demonstration of a graduate student's ability to explore, develop and organize materials relating to a certain topic or problem in a field of study. The goal of the master's thesis or project is not only to pursue research and investigation, but also to write an extended scholarly statement clearly, effectively and directly.
The thesis or project becomes a visible and permanent record of the quality of the work that a graduate student has accomplished at Sonoma State University.
To insure that every manuscript represents the highest professional standards and receives official approval by Graduate Studies, the thesis review verifies that the document meets the requirements listed below:
- Critical, independent thinking. Mere description, cataloguing, compilations and other superficial procedures are not adequate.
- A clear statement of the details of the study or task, the methods or criteria used, and the supporting data. An effort should be made to make the work accessible to as broad an audience of educated people as possible.
- Citations must conform to the style guide that is used in your department, (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.). If you are not sure which style guide to use, inquire with your committee chair or the graduate coordinator in your department. Theses and projects must also conform to SSU standards as detailed in the Formatting Guidelines below. Note that in some instances the SSU Formatting Guidelines override the style guide used by the department.
Students completing a master's thesis must submit a final copy, formatted to Sonoma State University standards (see below), to the Office of Graduate Studies with a GSO-2, Thesis Signature Form and Master's Thesis Submission agreement.
Procedure for Thesis Submission and Review
Theses should be submitted digitally to the Office of Graduate Studies
- Digital Thesis Filing Procedures
- Formatting Guidelines for Digitally Submitted Master's Theses and Projects
- Thesis Signature Form
- Master's Thesis Submission Agreement
These handouts may be helpful in understanding the processes of thesis review and graduation clearance at SSU.
Copyright and Fair Use
To use or reproduce work that has been copyrighted, it is necessary either to obtain the permission of the copyright holder, or come within the "Fair Use" exception as defined in U.S. copyright law. Since the law does not provide clear direction in this area, the CSU Office of General Counsel has created a document to help determine whether a proposed use of copyrighted material falls within the category of Fair Use, the policy can be reviewed through this link.