Graduate School

Scholarly Work

Graduate students may be required to complete a Scholarly Work component as part of their requirements for graduation, as designated by their graduate program. The requirement may be met through one of two options as prescribed for the individual’s approved program of study. The options are graduate project or thesis.

Graduate Project

A graduate project, also known as a capstone experience, is a scholarly work which demonstrates synthesis of knowledge obtained from the graduate program of study. This can be in the form of a research project, research paper, scholarly writing, original artistic work/composition, capstone project, capstone internship, certification, or comprehensive exam. The graduate project or thesis may need to be presented and defended before the student’s graduate committee. The student’s advisor and committee must approve the research project and file the Capstone Completion Approval Form with the Graduate Office. Committee acceptance of the completed Graduate Project or Thesis must be filed with the Graduate School Office at least 10 days before the end of classes.


A thesis is an in-depth scholarly examination of a particular topic which makes a significant original contribution to the student’s academic field. In general, a thesis is based on the examination of hypothesis(es) or research objective(s) and includes the following components: an abstract, a review of literature, methods and procedures, data summary or findings from primary sources, and a discussion of the findings. The thesis requires approval of the supervising graduate research faculty member, the student’s graduate committee and the Graduate Dean. An oral defense of the thesis before their graduate committee is required. Acceptance by the committee of the completed thesis must be filed in the Graduate School Office prior to graduation. The thesis must be submitted to the graduate school for placement in the library according to the Thesis Guidelines Manual.

Important Deadlines

Note: Some programs may have deadlines that are MORE STRINGENT than these.

At least one full semester prior to graduation

Before you start collecting data

  • Ensure you have IRB and/or Animal Care Committee approval
  • Ensure you have any necessary copyright or other permission

At least 8 weeks before graduation

  • Provide copies of your thesis to your thesis committee and begin your thesis defense process

At least 20 days before the end of the semester in which you graduate

At least 10 days before the end of the semester in which you graduate.The end of the semester is defined as the last day of final exams.

  • A completed and approved thesis or project report must be sent to the Graduate School along with the Capstone Completion Form. This should include three copies of your thesis, and an electronic version emailed to
  • If a student is unable to complete his/her thesis or project at the end of the semester he/she has applied to graduate the student will initially receive an incomplete grade, and the student may not walk at commencement. The Student will have 8 weeks from the end of the semester to complete the thesis or capstone project and submit a signed Thesis Completion Form to the Graduate School Office indicating successful completion of the thesis or capstone project. The student’s application for graduation will be completed and the graduate degree will be granted indicating completion for the previous semester.
  • If the thesis or capstone project is not completed by the end of the 8 week period following the end of the previous semester a Thesis Completion Form must be filed indicating the thesis or capstone project was not completed. The student can still receive academic credit for the work done during the previous semester, and the student’s transcript will be adjusted from incomplete to indicate the appropriate credit or grade earned.
  • If a student does not meet the requirements for successful completion of his/her thesis or capstone project during the scheduled semester(s), the student will be required to enroll in at least 1 credit for each semester during which they are finishing the work to complete the thesis/capstone requirements.
  • If a student is unable to complete the capstone thesis/project by the end of the spring semester the student may defer to the fall to complete the thesis/project, although registration for summer completion is encouraged.
  • A student must be regularly enrolled in the semester in which the thesis/capstone project is completed and the student is scheduled to graduate and receive his/her degree.

Some programs have modified these rules for their disciplines.

Students in the Digital Media (program should see

If you believe you need an exception, please complete the Request For A Thesis Format Waiver

Thesis Forms