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 the Director of Academic Programs and 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.
- Formatting must conform to the style guide that is used in your department, (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.) Your committee chair or the graduate coordinator in your department will tell you which style guide to follow. Theses and projects must also conform to SSU standards as outlined in the booklet, Guidelines for Master's Theses and Projects (PDF). Note that in some instances the SSU Guidelines override the disciplinary style guide.
SSU Thesis Formatting Guidelines
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. To download the document in either Microsoft Word or PDF formats, click on the links below.