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University Thesis: Preparation & Electronic Submission

Dear Master's Candidate:

You are about to embark on one of the most important aspects of a master’s degree, the preparation of a master’s thesis. The thesis will provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate the ideas, research skills, and creative abilities you have gained during your graduate work.

As with your previous master’s coursework, the first place to begin this new endeavor is with your department. The most important person in your department at this time will be your thesis advisor. You should select an advisor who is a good match with your research interests and with whom you have a good academic and working relationship. The selection and definition of a research topic and methodology is a key element for completing a successful thesis. Your thesis advisor is the person who will help you do this and who will guide you through the content and research requirements of the thesis.

The Office of Academic Programs and Services will assist you with the style and format of your thesis. This University Thesis Writing Guide and the Thesis Format One-Pager present the requirements to follow when you write your thesis. Reading and following these guidelines will help you to prepare a thesis that will be in conformance with university standards and thus acceptable for format and style. Questions of content and academic quality are determined by the thesis advisor in your department.

After you have read the Thesis Format One-Pager and the University Thesis Writing Guide, please email if you have any questions concerning style and format not covered in these pages. I encourage you to clear up these questions before the preparation of your final draft. 

Congratulations on your graduate work to date and best wishes on your University Thesis.


Kevin Brown, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Studies 

A University Thesis is a formal presentation of an objective, critical investigation. It is to be written in a formal, scholarly manner in standard English. The quality of both the presentation and content of the finished thesis is a major consideration in its acceptance by the University. 

A University Thesis demonstrates originality, clear purpose, appropriate organization, critical analysis, independent thinking, and accurate and complete documentation. Style, language, and punctuation must be consistent. Description, cataloging, compilation, or other simple procedures are not adequate. 

The Thesis Advisor in your department determines questions of content and academic quality. The Office of Academic Programs and Services will assist you with format and style

Following the guidelines in The University Thesis Writing Guide will help you to prepare a thesis that will be in conformance with University standards and thus acceptable for format and style. You also have available to you the Thesis Format One-Pager to be used as a quick reference tool. 

For questions, email

Note: The APS office does not review Departmental Theses.

  1. Consult with a graduate advisor. Learn about your graduate program and the requirements for preparing a University Thesis.
  2. Form a thesis committee. It is important to contact your department for guidelines on forming a thesis committee to supervise your writing. 
  3. Guidelines vary department-by-department. The Chair of your committee must be a California State University, East Bay faculty member. 
  4. Previously published papers can be used for the thesis if: the student is first (senior) author on the published papers; there is written permission from the publishers to use the papers for the thesis; and there is both an introductory chapter as well as a concluding chapter that connect the papers together.
  5. Enroll in your department’s University Thesis Course

Students are responsible for submitting their thesis for Format Review by the deadline for the semester in which they intend to graduate.

At the first due date, submit:

  1. The final committee approved copy of your University Thesis in PDF format for Format Review.
  2. The Thesis Submission Information Form.

The Signature Page should not be signed. The page must be approved for format before signatures are obtained.

At the second due date, you must:

  1. Submit your thesis in PDF format including committee signatures to
  2. Sign and submit the Non-Exclusive Distribution License and Availability Agreement to
  3. Deliver the original signed Signature Page to the APS office.
  4. If binding, deliver payment and your thesis copies to the APS office.

These are firm deadlines and you must meet both. Otherwise, your graduation will be delayed.

Deadlines to submit your university thesis for format review and submit copies:

Semester Format Review Electronic Library Submissions Due
Summer 2019 July 12, 2019 August 2, 2019
Fall 2019 November 1, 2019 December 13, 2019
Spring 2020 April 10, 2020 May 15, 2020
Summer 2020 TBD TBD
  • Settle on a thesis topic with the guidance of your department, and obtain Thesis Committee approval
  • If required, get Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Approval of research protocol by the IRB is mandatory if research with human subjects is involved. This review is necessary to determine whether human subjects will be at risk and to protect their rights and welfare. IRB approval must be obtained before research commences

Students should contact the IRB Coordinator early in their thesis planning process and should submit their completed application (protocol) to the IRB at least two months before they plan to begin their research.

Any research involving surveys, experiments, questionnaires, interviews, and similar methodology involves research with human subjects. Theses in the social and behavioral sciences, education, health fields and management/ administration will probably require this review.

For further questions, contact the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs 

Work closely with your thesis committee chair to review your progress, and revise as directed until your committee judges your thesis to be acceptable and complete.

Follow all formatting requirements as outlined in the University Thesis Writing Guide and Thesis Format One-Pager.

Be sure to include all mandatory elements. Theses must contain the four sections that are listed below in bold-faced type. Additional sections, as listed below and marked by asterisks (*), are optional. Sections must be assembled in the following order: 

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page*
  3. Abstract*
  4. Signature Page
  5. Acknowledgments*
  6. Table of Contents
  7. Lists of figures, graphs, photos, plates, maps and tables; if used*
  8. Preface*
  9. Page 1. First page of thesis text
  10. Endnotes, if not in text or at end of chapters*
  11. Bibliography*
  12. Appendix*

Title Page and Signature Page. Use the templates in the University Thesis Writing Guide as tools to help you determine whether your Title Page and Approval Page have been formatted correctly.

Create a typed version following the instructions on the template. Insert the same number of blank lines as indicated on the templates.

Please note that you must type each committee member’s name under each corresponding signature line.

Hold your typed Title Page or Signature Page up to the light along with a copy of the appropriate template to check alignment of all elements. Note: Alignment of the elements on your typed pages will vary slightly depending upon the font, etc.

Note: Faculty members are not expected to take time to make extensive corrections or revisions. They are encouraged, instead, to return draft materials to the student with general instructions and suggestions for bringing the thesis up to required departmental and University standards.

Thesis Defense

If your department or committee requires an oral thesis defense, you must have successfully defended your thesis prior to submitting it for format review. 

Your thesis should be defended and all committee-requested changes should be made prior to submitting your thesis for format review. All that should change between the first and second format review deadlines should be the formatting changes required by the Thesis Editor.

There can be no changes in content once the thesis has been submitted for format review – only minor formatting changes requested by the Thesis Editor can be made in that time period. So we ask that the thesis be defended prior to submission for format changes. 

  • Be sure your committee members have approved the text of your thesis and require no further changes.
  • Email the Thesis Information Submission Form to and Put "Thesis Submission Info Form" in the Subject line.
  • Submit your final and committee approved thesis to
  • The thesis can be submitted as a single PDF, or as two separate PDFs: The Preliminary and Content Pages can be separate. Please put Thesis for Format Review in the Subject line of your email. Note: Early submissions are appreciated.
  • Obtain signatures from your University Thesis committee after the Thesis Editor approves the Format of your Signature Page. If the chair of your University Thesis committee will be away from campus during the final semester, you are responsible for making alternative arrangements for final approval.
  • During the review, the Thesis Editor will return the Thesis Checklist and a copy of your thesis with recommended edits. Work with the Thesis Editor to make the final changes.
  • After revising the thesis, return it to with the title “Revised Thesis” in the subject line for a final check.
  • When the review is complete, the Thesis Editor will send an approval email stating that your thesis is ready to publish.

To publish the thesis, submit the final electronic version (PDF) of the thesis to the Library for inclusion in ScholarWorks, the CSUEB Institutional Repository.

  1. Complete and sign the Non-Exclusive Distribution License and Availability AgreementThe Department Chair signature is only required for Embargo.

  2. Email the License Agreement and the Electronic Thesis (PDF), including a copy of the signed Signature Page to

  3. Submit the original signed Signature Page to the APS Office (SA 4500) by the deadline. 
  4. After the Library receives the thesis, the APS Office will notify the graduation evaluators in the Records Office that your thesis has been accepted.

Some departments also require 1 or 2  bound copies. Verify this with your Thesis Chair.

Open, Public Access to ScholarWorks. 

By default, items in CSUEB’s Institutional Repository are open access, meaning that anyone can access your work through ScholarWorks, the library catalog, or searching online via a search engine like Google or Bing. This brings greater visibility to your work and makes it more likely to be seen and used by other scholars. 

We strongly encourage you to not place access restrictions on deposited items. However, we understand that there may be times when restricted access is necessary. Please check with your thesis advisor and/or any journals you are planning to submit your thesis to for publication if you have any concerns. 

Embargo (aka restricted access) The act of restricting access to a deposited item is an embargo. Items deposited in CSUEB’s ScholarWorks may be embargoed for six months, one year, or two years, if necessary, as is standard practice by many institutional repositories (for example, Duke University, University of Washington, and ProQuest). However, once again, we strongly encourage you to not place an embargo on your work. 

While the full-text PDF of your thesis will not be available online during the embargo period, we will place a record for your embargoed work in ScholarWorks, making note of the date when the full text will become available after the expiration of the embargo. 

Embargoes upon items deposited in CSUEB’s ScholarWorks are rarely necessary, as many publishers, including Nature Publishing Group allow for the deposit of pre-submission versions of work in Institutional Repositories prior to publication. 

You can find out the pre-print, post-print, and embargo policies of many journals by searching the Sherpa/RoMEO database, a service provided by University of Nottingham. 

You and your thesis advisor may discuss what need, if any, there is for an embargo before submitting your thesis and you will need to note your decision on the Non- Exclusive Distribution and Availability Agreement. If you choose not to restrict access to your thesis by placing it under embargo, you do not need your advisor to sign the form.

If you have any questions, email the or call the University Archives at 510-885-3892.

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