Graduate students who select the thesis, project report, or dissertation option for their culminating experience must complete the following steps on the road to graduation.
NOTE: If you are completing a project report, please confirm with your department the steps to completion, especially submission of the final manuscript and paperwork. Not all project reports will be submitted through the Office of Graduate Studies.
1. Apply for graduation.
All graduate students (master's, EdD, and PhD) must apply for graduation by the deadlines stated on the Graduation Office website. Failure to meet the stated deadlines may delay your date of graduation.
2. Review your thesis/dissertation submission deadlines.
The last day to file your thesis or dissertation is typically the last Friday of the term. The GS-13 Form, the final version of the thesis/dissertation, and any additional documents or media must be submitted by 12 noon on the deadline date.
Deadlines for the current year are posted on our Deadlines page.
3. Review the ETD Format Guide, template, and sample pages.
Reviewing the ETD (Electronic Thesis and Dissertation) Format guide, template, and sample pages is your first step in preparing your manuscript for submission. They explain all aspects of the submission process. Please read these documents carefully and thoroughly. Your preliminary pages and section headings must match the sample pages.
For additional formatting help and information, including templates and samples, visit the Format Guidelines page.
For additional information about copyright and fair use, visit the Center for Teaching and Learning (CETL) Copyright and Fair Use page or the University of California Copyright page.
4. Attend a Formatting and Submission workshop.
The Graduate Resource Center offers several Thesis Formatting and Submission workshops every Fall Semester, Spring Semester, and Summer Session. These workshops are not mandatory, but are highly recommended.
Current workshop dates and past presentations are available on the Workshops page.
5. Meet with your assigned Thesis/Dissertation Reviewer in GRC for preliminary format review.
Each department is assigned a Thesis/Dissertation Reviewer in the Graduate Resource Center; the Reviewer is not a member of the thesis or dissertation Committee, but is a member of GRC staff. Candidates must meet with their assigned Reviewer before the Preliminary Review deadline of the term in which they intend to file the thesis or dissertation. Reviewers review the thesis/dissertation only for formatting, not for content.
For more information about the review process and your department's reviewer, visit the List of Reviewers page.
6. Upload complete draft of your thesis/dissertation to ProQuest for official review by the GRC.
After you meet with your Reviewer for the preliminary review in the GRC, you will make the required edits to your manuscript and upload the PDF draft to ProQuest ETD Administrator at least two weeks before the GS-13 deadline. This deadline provides our staff sufficient time to complete all required procedures in order to report your thesis completion to Graduation Office for timely degree conferral. GRC staff will review your submission via ProQuest and notify you by email of any remaining formatting issues. If further edits to the format are required, you will be able to replace your PDF on ProQuest with an updated version.
When submitting to ProQuest, please keep in mind that the manuscript is not final until you receive an "Accepted" email from our office. Most candidates will submit a Committee-approved manuscript by this deadline, but some candidates still await final feedback from their Committee or are still working on the content of their thesis/dissertation; the complete draft of the thesis/dissertation must nonetheless still be uploaded to ProQuest by this day. As long as you have not yet turned in your GS-13 form, you will still have the opportunity to make changes to your manuscript. The final version of your manuscript uploaded to ProQuest at the time of your "Accepted" email will be the version available in the Cal State LA Library Digital Repository and in any hardcopies that you order from ProQuest.
For detailed information about uploading your manuscript via ProQuest ETD Administrator, download and review the ProQuest ETD Administrator Instructions on the Upload to ProQuest page.
7. Participate in your final defense or presentation, if required.
The defense or equivalent presentation must be held by the end of the semester in which you expect to file the thesis/dissertation. We recommend that candidates communicate with their Committee early in the semester in which they expect to file the thesis/dissertation about possible dates to hold the defense. If possibly, schedule your defense before finals week, so that you will have sufficient time to complete any additional edits as required by your Committee. Take your GS-13 form to the defense, as Committees often sign the GS-13 at that time.
Only your department may require a defense or presentation; the GRC and Office of Graduate Studies do not oversee this part of your culminating project.
8. Get your entire Committee to sign the GS-13 Form and submit it to the GRC on or before the final deadline.
The GS-13 Form is one of the more important forms you will complete during your graduate studies. The GS-13 Form is the final approval for your thesis or dissertation, signed by your Committee and stating that they approve your thesis or dissertation and thus fulfill this requirement for your degree.
It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that your GS-13 Form is signed by ALL Committee members and your department chair and submitted to the GRC on or before the final deadline. We WILL NOT accept a GS-13 Form that does not have original ink signatures by all members if the Committee (i.e., scans, faxes, and photocopies will not be accepted). Communicate with your Committee members well in advance to make sure you can secure their signatures before they leave campus for the semester break or otherwise become unavailable before the GS-13 deadline.
Extensions WILL NOT be granted if you fail to obtain all signatures by the GS-13 deadline! Please plan accordingly.
To download the GS-13 Form, visit the GS-13 Form page.
9. Upload the final version of your manuscript on or before the final deadline.
Let your Committee know that you must finalize your manuscript by the end of the semester, the same day that the GS-13 Form is due. They should give you enough time to make final changes to your manuscript for final upload by this deadline. If needed, GRC staff may request additional edits to the format after this date.
To revise your upload, log in to ProQuest ETD Administrator. Click the "Revise Submission" button; do not start a new submission. Click on "PDF" in the menu on the left. Click "Revise PDF." Upload your new PDF, and make sure to click through all the screens and click "Submit" at the end. ProQuest will send an automated email to your Reviewer that you have revised your submission.
Candidates will receive notification of acceptance as late as one week after the end of the semester. Reviewers may request changes to your manuscript as late as this date; your are expected to be available to make changes until then.
10. Participate in your Commencement ceremony.
Commencement Ceremonies for each college are held once each year, in May. Students who graduate in Summer 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, and Summer 2017 will be eligible to walk in Commencement ceremonies in May 2017; Fall 2017 graduates will be eligible to walk in the May 2018 ceremonies. The Cal State LA Commencement website is a great resource for details about dates, times, locations, tickets, programs, grad fair, and more.