Theses Guide - Chapter 2


Requirements for Thesis Preparation and Acceptance,
Except Format Requirements

After several important reminders, Chapter 2 presents information on requirements related to actual thesis preparation, except format requirements which are discussed in Chapter 3.

Important Reminders

Formal Registration at the University

As stated in Chapter 1, candidates for graduate degrees at this University must be formally registered as classified graduate students for every quarter in which they conduct work related to their thesis, consult with faculty concerning the thesis, or in which the thesis is submitted.

Regular Consultation with the Thesis Committee

The candidate is advised to consult regularly with the thesis committee, as well as to follow closely the requirements in this Guide and departmental requirements, in preparing the thesis manuscript. This can prevent extensive rewriting and reformatting.

Deadline for Submission of Theses

See Chapter 1 for information related to the deadline for theses. No extension of this deadline is permitted. If a thesis is not submitted by the deadline for the quarter, the candidate cannot graduate in that quarter and must register for a succeeding quarter in order to graduate.

The candidate must ascertain early in the quarter in which she or he expects to graduate whether any members of the thesis committee may have plans or commitments, which would make it difficult to assure adequate time for its reading, approval and signature, and still meet the quarter's deadline date. If such a problem arises, the candidate and thesis chair should work together to resolve the problem. The candidate should also view the online thesis videos, and consult with a Thesis Reviewer early in the term.

Candidate's Name

The candidate shall use in all appropriate parts of the thesis (title page, approval page, copyright page, and abstract) the name under which she or he is registered in the University. The name under which the student is registered should be the current legal name of the student.

Thesis Approval Page

One signed thesis approval page must be submitted to the appropriate Thesis Reviewer. An example of the only acceptable approval page is provided in the appendix to this Guide. The candidate is not to use any other approval page forms that were formerly distributed through departmental offices but instead is to copy or type the approval page following the example provided in the appendix of this Guide or on the Library website.

Thesis Approval Signatures

Original signatures (i.e., not photocopies of signatures) of the following thesis committee members and faculty are required on the approval page.
  1. The candidate's committee chair
  2. A second member of the candidate's committee (and third if required by the department)
  3. The chair of the candidate's department

The department chairperson or college dean may not sign for a committee member without written approval from the committee member. If the department chair is also a signing member of the committee, the department chair must sign twice, once as committee member, once as department chair. In some colleges, the dean or associate dean may sign instead of a department chair. The three required signatures are the minimum; signatures of additional committee members may be included. Above each committee member space, the committee member's or department chair's or dean's name must be typed. The candidate is responsible for the accuracy of this information. Signatures may be in black or blue ink.

Date of Thesis

The date on the title page of a thesis should be the month and year in which the thesis is submitted in anticipated final approved form to the University Thesis Coordinator. No day of the month appears in the date on the title page. The date on the approval page may include a day of the month; the date should coincide with the month and year on the title page. The date on the copyright page, if one is included, should be the year in which the thesis is submitted.

Length of Thesis

The University prescribes no minimum or maximum length for a thesis. The topic chosen by each candidate should be of scope and importance sufficient to qualify for research or performance at the graduate level, must meet the standards specified in Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations (also known as the California Administrative Code) as cited in Chapter 1 of this guide, and must be treated adequately and appropriately in the opinion of the candidate's committee.

Copyright Releases for Works Used in Preparation of a Thesis

The candidate must obtain written permission from the copyright holder to reproduce or adapt in a thesis all or part of a copyrighted table, figure, line drawing, or other material that is a complete unit in itself. Copyright holders, especially publishers, differ on what constitutes "fair use" without copyright and some require permission for use of even short quotations, although generally it is not necessary to obtain permission to use short quotations from a copyrighted source in the thesis unless the thesis or portion of it is published. It is necessary, however, to secure permission if the quotation is extensive. If in doubt, the candidate should contact the copyright holders to determine their requirements.

Written permission may take from two weeks to several months to secure, therefore the candidate should request permission as soon as it becomes evident that she or he expects to use the copyrighted material. In addition to being acknowledged in the thesis, all completed permission forms or letters must be prepared and submitted as a formal appendix of the thesis.

Permissions in a thesis should be credited according to instructions provided in the style manual that the candidate's department requires be used for this purpose. If the style manual lacks such instructions, the candidate is referred to information on permissions in the latest edition of Form and Style by Campbell, Ballou and Slade. Frequently, a copyright holder will specify the wording to be used in the permission statement.

If permission to reproduce copyrighted material is denied, the material must be removed from the thesis and appropriate modifications made before the thesis can be approved. If requested permissions have not been received at the time the thesis is submitted, the candidate should notify the Thesis Reviewer, so that the thesis will not be accepted until all permissions are received.

The candidate's thesis committee is responsible for advising the candidate concerning the need to secure copyright permissions; however, the ultimate responsibility rests with the author of the thesis. The Thesis Reviewer is not responsible for providing advice concerning securement of copyright permissions.

Copyright of the Thesis Itself

The laws of the United States provide protection to authors of original works (e.g., literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and some other intellectual works) through copyright. The protection is available to both unpublished and published works and is secured automatically when the work is created (i.e., fixed in a print copy or non-print representation for the first time). Registration of copyright with the Library of Congress makes a public record of the copyright and carries several advantages, but it is not a condition of copyright.

When a work is published by the copyright owner, it is advisable to place a copyright notice in all publicly distributed copies. The copyright notice makes the published work subject to the requirement of mandatory deposit with the Library of Congress. Candidates considering using notice and registration of copyright should study the U.S. Government's publication, Copyright Basics, which is available at the U.S. Copyright Office website.

Joint Doctoral Dissertations

Because of the doctoral candidate's need to fulfill the format requirements of the cooperating doctoral granting institution (e.g., UCLA), California State University accepts dissertations which are prepared according to the cooperating university's format and according to its prescribed arrangement of elements or parts. All copies of dissertations submitted by candidates to this campus must, however, adhere to the requirements concerning quality of paper, number of copies, and original signatures on the approval page.