Thesis Administration

The following is a collection of frequently asked questions and answers regarding the administration of graduate theses in the Mechanical Engineering program at San Josť State University.  Some but not all of the statements may also apply to theses in other graduate programs at SJSU.  The answers are meant to serve as aids, not authoritative sources, so cross-references to the official source documents are provided throughout.

  1. What are the master's thesis requirements?  The university requirements are established and enforced by the Office of Graduate Studies, and are posted at

  2. Who may serve on my thesis committee?  The thesis committee must conform to Academic Senate policy S87-6  The committee chair must be a full-time, tenured or tenure track SJSU faculty member, and a majority of members must have SJSU faculty appointments.  Temporary and part-time faculty members, as well as industry professionals with expertise related to the thesis topic may also serve on the thesis committee.

  3. What is the difference in roles between the thesis committee chair and the ME299 course coordinator?  The thesis committee chair is the individual who is ultimately responsible for evaluating the technical merit of the thesis research.  The committee chair works closely with other committee members to provide guidance and feedback.  The ME299 course coordinator oversees administrative requirements such as course registration, proper submission of documents, and other procedural obligations.

  4. What is the exact deadline by which I must submit my competed thesis?  A thesis that has been approved by the thesis committee (with all signatures) must be submitted for review by Graduate Studies & Research many weeks before the end of the semester in which graduation is anticipated.  Dates are posted at  However, since approval of the thesis committee is required, this implies that a near-final version must be completed approximately two months before the end of the semester in which you expect to graduate.

  5. Within how many semesters must I finish my thesis?  All theses must be completed within two calendar years from the date of first enrollment in the 299 thesis course.  This is stated in the University Catalog   For example, if a student first enrolls in Fall 2007, he/she must finish by the summer deadline in 2009 (typically in early July).  A petition form for extension may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar at

  6. What are the formatting requirements for theses?  Thesis format is enforced by Graduate Studies & Research, with details posted at

  7. How are theses graded?  Rules and regulations regarding thesis grading are formally stated in the University Catalog  Theses are graded on a Credit/No-Credit basis.  The thesis committee determines if/when a grade of "Credit" is justified, and communicates their assessment to the ME299 course coordinator, who verifies that administrative requirements have also been satisfied before submitting the final grade to University Records and Registration.  Graduation under the thesis plan requires earning a grade of "Credit" for 6 units (i.e. 2 full semesters) of ME299.

  8. What if my thesis takes more than 2 semesters (i.e. 6 units)?  If the thesis committee deems that the research is progressing satisfactorily and the ME299 course instructor asserts that administrative requirements have been met, a candidate who has not yet completed his/her thesis after 6 units of enrollment in ME299 may receive a placeholder grade of "Report-in-Progress" (RP) as he/she continues writing his/her thesis.  An official explanation of the "RP" grade is in the University Catalog.  However, if laboratory resources are still required after this point, the student would have to enroll in ME298 (Special Projects) in order to maintain access privileges to SJSU laboratories.

  9. Is it possible to have a no-credit in ME299?  Yes.  A grade of "No-Credit" (NC) implies inadequate progress or failure to satisfy administrative requirements.  Credit units are not awarded for ME299 and the candidate would have to continue registering in ME299 until 6 units have been completed.  This is distinct from a follow-on ME298, which simply means work has been satisfactory in terms of efforts but experimental investigation is not yet incomplete.  |  |  2009 Jun 30