Thesis Requirements for a Master’s Degree

If a student is admitted to a master's degree program with a thesis option for the degree, a committee to direct the written thesis will be established. The thesis must demonstrate the student’s capability for research and independent thought. Preparation of the thesis must conform to the Thesis & Dissertation Resource Guides

Thesis Proposal

The student must submit an official Thesis Proposal Form and proposal to his or her thesis committee. Thesis proposals vary by department and discipline. Please see your department for proposal guidelines and requirements. After signing the form and obtaining committee members’ signatures, the graduate advisor’s signature and the department chair’s signature, the student must submit the Thesis Proposal Form with one copy of the proposal attached to the dean of The Graduate College for approval before proceeding with research on the thesis. If the thesis research involves human subjects, the student must obtain exemption or approval from the Texas State Institutional Review Board prior to submitting the proposal form to The Graduate College. The IRB approval letter should be included with the proposal form. If the thesis research involves vertebrate animals, the proposal form must include the Texas State IACUC approval code. It is recommended that the thesis proposal form be submitted to the dean of The Graduate College by the end of the student’s enrollment in 5399A. Failure to submit the thesis proposal in a timely fashion may result in delayed graduation.

Thesis Committee

The thesis committee must be composed of a minimum of three approved graduate faculty members.

Thesis Enrollment and Credit

The completion of a minimum of six hours of thesis enrollment is required. For a student's initial thesis course enrollment, the student registers for thesis course number 5399A.  After that, the student will enroll in thesis B courses in each subsequent semester until the thesis is defended with the department and approved by The Graduate College. Preliminary discussions regarding the selection of a topic and assignment to a research supervisor does not require enrollment for the thesis course.

Students must be enrolled in thesis credits if they are receiving supervision and/or are using university resources related to their thesis work.  The number of thesis credit hours students enroll in must reflect the amount of work being done on the thesis that semester.  It is the responsibility of the committee chair to ensure that students are making adequate progress toward their degree throughout the thesis process.  Failure to register for the thesis course during a term in which supervision is received may result in postponement of graduation. After initial enrollment in 5399A, the student will continue to enroll in a thesis B course as long as it takes to complete the thesis. Thesis projects are by definition original and individualized projects.  As such, depending on the topic, methodology, and other factors, some projects may take longer than others to complete.  If the thesis requires work beyond the minimum number of thesis credits needed for the degree, the student may enroll in additional thesis credits at the committee chair's discretion. In the rare case when a student has not previously enrolled in thesis and plans to work on and complete the thesis in one term, the student will enroll in both 5399A and 5399B. Thesis hours are not permitted to count as elective credit in non-thesis track degrees.

The only grades assigned for thesis courses are PR (progress), CR (credit), W (withdrew), and F (failing). If acceptable progress is not being made in a thesis course, the instructor may issue a grade of F. If the student is making acceptable progress, a grade of PR is assigned until the thesis is completed. Thesis hours are not permitted to count as elective credit in non-thesis track degrees. The thesis credit remains on the transcript as a PR grade and in the open electives block of Degree Works. Thesis credit (“CR”) will be awarded only after the thesis has been both approved by The Graduate College and released to Alkek Library.

A student who has selected the thesis option must be registered in at least one hour of thesis course credit each fall and spring semester (and summer, if receiving thesis supervision and/or using university resources) until the thesis has been completed, defended, submitted, and approved by The Graduate College. 

Thesis Deadlines and Approval Process

Thesis deadlines are posted on The Graduate College website under "Current Students." Students must consult with their committee chair to determine the date by which the thesis must be submitted to their thesis committee chair and thesis committee, prior to the defense date. Some students will have additional revisions to complete after the thesis defense. Once the final version of the thesis is approved by the committee, the student must submit the correctly-formatted thesis to Vireo on or before the deadlines listed on The Graduate College website. No edits are permitted under any circumstances after the thesis is approved by The Graduate College. Theses submitted after the deadline will not be approved until the following semester. Students must be enrolled in the semester they graduate.

The following must be submitted to The Graduate College by the thesis deadline listed on The Graduate College website:

  1. The Thesis Submission Approval Form bearing original (wet) and/or electronic signatures of the student and all committee members.
  2. One (1) PDF of the thesis in final form, approved by all committee members, uploaded in the online Vireo submission system.  

After the thesis is approved by The Graduate College, revisions to the document are no longer allowed and Alkek Library will harvest the document from the Vireo submission system for publishing in the Digital Collections database (according to the student's embargo selection). It is recommended that students discuss the appropriate embargo selection before submitting the thesis to Vireo. Students have the following options for the embargo:

  1. No embargo
  2. One or two-year embargo 
  3. Five-year embargo
  4. Specials request embargo (inventions, discoveries, patents)

All forms must have all appropriate signatures. In addition to original (wet) signatures, the following methods of signing are acceptable:

  • printing, signing, scanning, and emailing the form
  • notifying the department in an email from their university's or institution's email account that the committee chair can sign the form on their behalf
  • downloading and digitally signing the form per our instructions using the university's licensed platform (which is currently Adobe Acrobat)*

If this process results in more than one document with signatures, all documents need to be submitted to The Graduate College together.

All theses and dissertations are submitted to the Library through Vireo, the electronic thesis and dissertation deposit platform. The Library harvests approved these and dissertations from this system for the online repository. The Library will retain a print copy of every student’s thesis/dissertation for their circulating collection and a microfilm copy for the University Archives, regardless of the embargo selection. Supplementary files are excluded from this policy. The Library does not provide binding services. Some programs require the student deposit a hard copy with the department, so students should check with their departments regarding bound copies of theses/dissertations. The student is responsible for paying all binding fees for personal and departmental copies. Please contact Alkek Library for more information.