Graduate students are highly encouraged to seek out research areas by taking to the faculty early on in their MS program.  In theory, your research (including writing your thesis and defending) is supposed to take one year.  On average it takes about 1.5 years.  One semester to find what type of research you are going to conduct, another semester to actually do your research, and lastly, one semester to write and defend your thesis.

If you arrive as a new graduate student (lets say) this Fall 2019 and want to graduate in two years (Spring 2021), you should be talking to faculty members about prospective thesis projects starting Spring 2020. This way, you can familiarize yourself in the lab and with your advisor.  You could then start to conduct your research Summer 2020 and finish up your research in Fall 2020, and finally write and defend your thesis in Spring 2021.  Keep in mind that in order to graduate (e.g. in Spring 2021) you have to enroll in Thesis 799A after completing a thesis committee form. Students must also apply to graduate the semester they intend to graduate. Details can be found on the Graduate Affairs website.

Below are useful documents and links for your thesis.

Thesis manual(s) and other useful documents for graduate students:
Steps for YOUR thesis defense:
  1. Determine a defense date.
  2. You must give a complete working copy of your thesis to your committee members at least two weeks prior to your defense date.
  3. You must submit information to Suzanne Sorger ( via email 5 working days prior to your date, which will include the following:
    • Defense date and time,
    • Committee members,
    • Abstract of your thesis (do not include as an attachment, write your abstract in the email),
    • Request a room (usually P-250, but other larger rooms can be requested),
    • Make sure when you are requesting a room, it does not interfere with other classes listed in the SDSU class schedule.

Please allocate approximately 2 hours for your defense.  A typical defense allotted time is as follows:

  • approximately 45 minutes for your presentation (give or take 10 minutes),
  • about 10-15 minutes of general audience questions,
  • 30 minutes of closed door questions with your committee members,
  • 15-30 minutes of committee members (only) deciding your entire future (if you passed or failed).

Once ALL of your committee members have decided you passed and you have obtained the signature page with their approval, and you have made all necessary corrections to your thesis, your next step is to submit your thesis to Montazuma Publishing and begin the publication process.  All of the information on the submission and publication process can be found on the Montezuma Publishing website.


DISCLAIMER:  Please note all documents found here are for information purposes only.  Please refer to Montezuma Publishing for updated information on ALL documents found on this page.  This page was last updated January 2019.