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Thesis & Defense

Thesis Committees Members  

You should, from the very beginning of the program, introduce yourself and get to know faculty members. 

  • Complete Independent Readings (298s) to become familiar with the different working styles and accessibility of the faculty. 
  • You will need to be working with faculty members to plan your summer research.  
  • You must have all three committee members before you fill out your Advance to Candidacy paperwork. 

Students are required to have a minimum of three committee members, and they must be from at least two separate departments.   

Any faculty from an outside university (non-UC) may only serve as a fourth member on a thesis committee per petition to the Office of Graduate Studies.  A letter of explanation indicating why the faculty member should be on the committee and the faculty's CV must be submitted when you Advance to Candidacy or submit a Reconstitution Form. 

Please review our Thesis Committee Membership Form to see who can serve on your committee. 


Advancing to Candidacy  

Master's students apply to advance to candidacy after completing all required course work for the degree requirements specified. (Typically, at the beginning of Winter during the second academic year) 

Advancing to candidacy means you are ready to write a master’s thesis: 

  • Meet with your Grad Coordinator: Master's thesis students will have an Application for Candidacyform that your Graduate Coordinator submits to the Graduate Division, along with a request to constitute the thesis committee  
  • The Application for Candidacy must be filed with the Graduate Division within the first 2 weeks of the quarter in which the degree requirements are to be completed. 
  • Ideally, the Application is filed when the student is registered in the last of the program’s core courses. 

Writing your Thesis 

During your second year of study you will attend one of the Quarterly Thesis Formatting Workshops hosted by the Grad Division. 

LAS Guidelines for Completing your Thesis 

UCSD Latin American Studies Research Guide 

Graduate Division - Requirements for Degree Completion  

Graduate Division - Thesis Formatting Manual 

Scheduling your Defense 

  • Schedule a date to defend your thesis based on availability of committee. 
  • Inform Grad Coordinator of date to reserve the CRAMB Library.  
  • Bring signature page of thesis to the defense 
  • Bring some kind of refreshment for committee during defense. (This one isn't required for graduation, but at least your committee will be happy) 
  • Get other paperwork from me on your defense date - Final Report Form 

Degree Completion 

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

Preliminary & Final Appointment with Grad Division  

(Schedule 2-4 weeks before thesis defense) 

Student must make an appointment with the Graduate Division for a preliminary checkof his/her thesis  

  • At that appointment the format is checked and instructions on the final preparation and submission of the thesis are given. 
  • At the Preliminary Appointment, students can choose to have their review done in one of two ways: 

1) Upload the complete fully formatted dissertation or thesis to the morning of the preliminary appointment. Print and bring hard copies of all preliminary pages (title page through abstract). If this option is chosen, the entire dissertation or thesis does not need to be printed. This will notbe the definitive version. Students will have the opportunity to make changes and resubmit prior to their final appointment. OR  

2) Bring in a complete, unbound, single-sided, fully formatted printed copy of the dissertation or thesis. 

The thesis must be formatted according to the requirements explained in the Preparation and Submission Manual for Doctoral Dissertations and Masters' Theses. 

Final Appointment with Grad Division 

The thesis committee shall supervise and approve the student's thesis by signing the thesis signature page; signatures must be original. Proxy signatures are not accepted. 

TheFinal Reportof the Thesis for the Degree of Master of Artsmust 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 forms are obtained from the graduate coordinator. Proxy signatures are not accepted. 

The final version of the thesis must conform to procedures outlined in thePreparation and Submission Manual for Doctoral Dissertations and Masters' Theses. 

The thesis submission fee of $25 must be paid at the cashier’s office prior to the student’s final appointment with the Graduate Division.  

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 (see 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. 

Academic Senate regulations for the MA/MS Thesis (Plan I) 


UCSD Division of Graduate Education and PostDoctoral Affairs

Please consult the Preparing to Graduate section.