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.

Submission: Important Dates

PLEASE NOTE: Check-In is for students who are graduating in the current semester to submit their Thesis/Project/Dissertation

Students will need to attend an OGS Thesis/Project/Dissertation Formatting Workshop prior to formatting and submitting their thesis/project/dissertation. THERE WILL BE NO WALK-INS. PLEASE MAKE AN APPOINTMENT.

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 students 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.


After reviewing the dates below, please make an appointment using this link:

Thesis Check-In Registration and Submission Dates
Type Dates Registration Period
Limited July 13 - July 24 (9:00am-3:00pm) July 6th at 9:00am - July 10th at 3:00pm
Regular August 3rd - August 7th (9:00am - 3:00 pm);  August 7th (9:00am-3:00pm) last day to submit July 20th at 9:00am - August 5th at 3:00pm
FALL 2020
Limited TBA TBA
Regular TBA TBA

Changes to Thesis/Project/Dissertation Submission

Starting in Spring 2018, graduate theses, projects, and dissertations will be produced only in online format (ScholarWorks). The University Library has been depositing Sacramento State graduate theses, projects, and dissertations in ScholarWorks, our campus repository, since Fall 2009. All theses, projects, and dissertations in ScholarWorks are full-text searchable and available in common search engines such as Google and Google Scholar.

Though the campus is moving to an online format for the submission of theses, projects, and dissertations, the university’s format guidelines still apply. This means that students will still need to:

  1. Attend a mandatory Thesis/Project Format Workshop
  2. Make an appointment during the limited or regular thesis/project/dissertation submission period to have the thesis/project/dissertation format review by OGS before submitting and uploading the required documentation to OGS by the submission deadline in the semester of graduation:
    1. The committee and department approved signature pages of the thesis/project/dissertation; and
    2. Upload of the final thesis/project/dissertation onto ScholarWorks.

Format Workshops

The Office of Graduate Studies cordially invites you to attend our Thesis Format Workshop. The workshop is designed to help students with the formatting of the thesis, projects and the submission of graduate filing documents.

For more information or to register you may contact the Office of Graduate Studies on our Zoom line.

Students are required to attend a minimum of one workshop. Please RSVP 24 hours in advance. Give your full legal or preferred name (as it appears on your academic records), the session you wish to attend, and your email address for a Zoom invitation.

Please register for one of the workshops here:

  • Fall Workshops 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