California State University, Sacramento

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Office of Graduate Studies Academic Affairs

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General Information

What is a Thesis?

The California Code of Regulations: Title 5 Education, Section 40510 defines a thesis as:

The written product of a systematic study of a significant problem. It identifies the problem, states the major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendation. The finished project [product] evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation.

What is a Project?

The California Code of Regulations: Title 5 Education, Section 40510 defines a project as:

A significant undertaking appropriate to the fine and applied arts or to professional fields. It evidences originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and rationale. It is described and summarized in a written abstract that includes the project’s significance, objectives, methodology, and a conclusion or recommendation.

Projects can be done alone or in collaboration with other students.

What is a Dissertation?

A dissertation is the major research project normally required as part of the work for a doctoral degree. Dissertations are expected to make a new and creative contribution to the field of study, or to demonstrate one's excellence in the field.

The California Code of Regulations: Title 5 Education, Section 40511 states:

The dissertation shall be the written product of systematic, rigorous research on a significant professional issue. The dissertation is expected to contribute to an improvement in professional practices or policy. It shall evidence originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a rationale.

Format Workshops

The Office of Graduate Studies cordially invites you to attend our Culminating Experience Format Workshop. The workshop is designed to help students with the formatting of the thesis, project, dissertation, doctoral project and the submission of required documents.

Students are required to attend a minimum of one workshop. Format Workshop will be held via a Canvas Course and registration is required.

Submission: Important Dates


  • Student must have completed the mandatory format workshop prior to submitting their Culminating Experience.
  • Check-Ins for students who are graduating in the current semester to submit their Culminating Experience.

Disclaimer: Ample appointment slots have been allocated to accommodate all graduating students. However, students are encouraged to sign up for appointments early in the submission cycle. Failure to sign up for an appointment, and/or show up to an appointment may delay a student's degree completion timeline.

Students should be advised that if they cancel an appointment once the submission period begins, OGS cannot guarantee another appointment will be available, and thus, students may have to move their graduation date and submit during the next submission cycle.

Thesis Check-In Registration and Submission Dates
FALL 2020
Type Dates Registration Period
Limited November 9th -November 12th (9am-3pm) November 2nd at 9:00am - November 6th at 3:00pm
Regular November 30th-December 3rd (9am-6pm); December 4th (9am-3pm) - last day to submit November 16th at 9am - December 1st at 3pm
Spring 2021
Limited TBA TBA
Regular TBA TBA


What is Scholarworks?

California State University (CSU) ScholarWorks is a digital collection which captures, manages, and disseminates the scholarly materials of the CSU community. Currently over half of the CSU libraries have implemented a ScholarWorks site. These innovative repositories position the CSU to provide viable alternatives to members of the CSU community to manage their scholarly output.

Why Scholarworks?

In its effort to enhance access to knowledge and information, beginning with the Fall 2009 semester, Sacramento State will require graduate students, who have a departmentally approved Thesis/Project/Dissertation, to submit their theses/projects/dissertations electronically on ScholarWorks along with a print copy of the thesis/project/dissertation signed by the faculty committee and department graduate coordinator or department chair.

How do I learn more?

Information about the electronic submission process of thesis/project/dissertation onto ScholarWorks is provided to students at the Thesis/Project/Dissertation Formatting Workshops and on the online workshop.

Sacramento State Scholarworks Website