Masters Students - Completing Degree Masters Students - Completing Degree


Completion of Degree - Master's Students

Unit Requirements

Unit requirements vary by program, although 30 units of graduate credit is the minimum for a master's degree. Refer to the specific academic program section for individual unit requirements. A student whose program includes a thesis or critique may, on faculty recommendation, receive a maximum of six units of credit for thesis research. Four units of credit may be awarded for writing a critique.

Time to Degree

All requirements for the master's degree must be completed within the following time limits, based upon the student's admission or reinstatement semester.

  • 5 calendar years for most master's degrees
  • 6 calendar years for MBA and EMBA programs

Time to degree may be extended by completing and submitting an Extension of Time for Degree form to the Registrar's Office.

Transfer Credit

Refer to the Transfer of Credit page and Application of Units to Multiple CGU Degrees page.

Degree Milestones

Not all of the requirements on this page may apply to every student's specific program, so be sure to consult the degree requirements for their individual program. CGU policy requires students to maintain their student status throughout their career at CGU, from enrollment in courses through the completion of exams, internships, theses, and/or all degree requirements. Joint program students should be aware of additional requirements because of their joint program status.

Specific degree program requirements are known as milestones. Students must be enrolled for the semester in order for milestones to be accepted and recorded on the student's official transcript. Progress to degree in the successful and timely completion of degree milestones is governed by the University's policy on satisfactory academic progress. Milestones for the master's degree may include the following:

Research Tools

Reading proficiency in an approved foreign language may be required. Students should consult the specific academic program section of the Bulletin for requirements. Substitutions may include statistics, mathematics, computer programming, and others in selected fields. You must demonstrate proficiency by either passing an exam, enrolling in a qualified course and receiving a grade B or better, or other acceptable and documented process. Forms are available on the Registrar's form index page.

Students who have fulfilled a research tool at another institution may petition their faculty to have these research tools accepted. An official transcript is required to substantiate that completion of the applicable coursework occurred within the last three years. Entering students should petition their academic programs as soon as possible after acceptance.

Verification and Documentation: Satisfaction of each required research tool is documented on a Research Tool Approval form. This form is completed by your department and submitted to the Registrar's Office. Research tools are recorded on your transcript under the Non-Course Milestones section.

Tools Completed Outside CGU: If you completed a research tool at another institution, you may petition to apply the tool to your CGU degree program. Non-CGU tools must meet the following qualifications.

  • Transfer credit requirements apply - that is, graduate level achievement from an accredited institution and documented on an official transcript
  • In compliance with transfer credit policies, grades received in non-CGU coursework must be B or better
  • Tools completed at another institution must have been accomplished within three years of the date you of your petition

If you wish to transfer tools to your CGU degree program, be sure to petition your department as early as possible after you begin your studies at CGU to meet the three year requirement. Submit your request as follows:

  • Complete an Academic Petition form.
  • Attach an official transcript that documents your completion of the tool. If this information was included in the transcript you provided upon admission, you need not obtain a new transcript. Simply indicate on the petition that your official transcript is already on file. Your department will make and attach a copy of that transcript to your petition.
  • Submit the petition to your department for approval and forwarding to the Registrar's Office.

Qualifying Examinations

The faculty of a particular field may require a written qualifying examination in addition to or in place of the thesis or critique. Students should consult the specific academic program section of the Bulletin for requirements.

Thesis or Critique

Theses and critiques are required only in certain fields. These documents afford evidence of the candidate's ability to analyze and evaluate materials as well as to write clearly. A thesis involves the careful design and execution of a research problem. A critique may involve a research problem, may present a critical analysis and evaluation of the literature on a particular subject, or may describe and evaluate a project. A thesis or critique may be prepared either in conjunction with one or more courses, or independently under the guidance of the student's advisor. Theses or critiques must be read and approved per specific program requirements.

The catalog number for Thesis Research is 399. Using the Enrollment Contract for Independent Study Activities, students may register for a maximum of 6 units of credit for thesis research and 4 units of credit for the critique with faculty approval. Enrollment contracts must document information about the area or focus of research for the thesis or critique. A grade is not assigned until the thesis or critique is completed.

Final Oral Examination

Students submitting a thesis or critique may be required to defend their manuscripts in an oral examination. This examination may also include questions on the candidate's general field of concentration. The committee conducting the examination normally includes the candidate's advisor and one or more CGU faculty members with whom the candidate has taken graduate work. In certain fields, a thesis examiner who is not a member of the University faculty may be invited to participate in the examination.

Final Approval & Graduation Requirements

Students must be enrolled continuously, either for credit or through Continuous Registration (400M), until the degree is earned. Students who do not maintain a continuous student status with the University and who were not registered for a full fall or spring term must apply for reinstatement to resume studies and/or to graduate. Please refer to the reinstatement section for procedures. A student who has not maintained continuous student status up to five years must apply for admission. An exception is made for Summer graduates, provided students were enrolled in the previous Spring semester.

Students must submit their Intent to Receive a Degree form to the Registrar's Office by the deadline announced in the Academic Calendar.

Students will have completed their degree program when all of their grades have been recorded and the Registrar's Office has received the Final Approval MA-Certificates form from their department.

Note that regardless of the date students complete their degree requirements, CGU confers degrees only once each semester. The degree conferral date is announced in the Academic Calendar and is usually the last day of the semester.

Master's Degree Along the Way to a Doctoral Degree

Doctoral students may qualify for a master's degree under the following conditions.

  • The student is pursuing a doctoral degree in the same field.
  • The student has completed requirements for the master's degree.
  • None of the units earned towards the master's and doctoral degrees are used for another CGU degree.
  • The student submits an Intent to Receive a Degree form.

Once a master's degree is earned in the same field the student is pursing a doctoral degree, none of the units credited to the two degrees may be applied to or counted toward a subsequent CGU degree.

Master's Thesis Submission Master's Thesis Submission


Formatting, Submission, and Publication

Formatting Requirements

For dissertations and DMA/DCM papers, see Dissertation Formatting Guidelines.

For master's theses, see Thesis Formatting Guidelines.

Submission and Publication Requirements

Upon committee approval of a dissertation or thesis and before a degree is awarded, the student must submit the final, approved dissertation or thesis to the Registrar's Office for publication through the ProQuest Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) Administrator.  The ETD Administrator is an online tool provided by ProQuest to facilitate CGU's collection, review, approval, and publication of theses and dissertations electronically.  Documents submitted to the ETD Administrator are not eligible for publication until approved and released by CGU.  Submission must be made by the degree completion deadline posted in the Academic Calendar. Failure to meet the degree completion deadline may result in delays to the student's degree conferral term.

Using the Proquest ETD Administrator

Only the student author may create an ETD Administrator account, which will provide lifetime access to the publisher.  Students may create an account in the ETD Administrator anytime during the manuscript preparation process.  Creating an account early in the process allows students to carefully consider the publication options, review formatting requirements, as well as consult a library of publication aids.

To create an account, visit You must submit information in the requested progression at the outset of establishing your author account. Until your dissertation is submitted through the ETD Administrator, you may return to the intial data input pages and revise information or requests on your account. During the submission process, students have the ability to:

  • Create a PDF version of the manuscript
  • Choose from various publication options for the manuscript, such as its appearance in internet search results and embargo periods
  • Order printed and bound versions of the manuscript
  • Communicate with ProQuest, the publisher, even after graduation

After submission, the Registrar's Office will review the manuscript to ensure CGU's formatting guidelines (available on the Registrar's Form Index) have been followed.  Students will be notified via Email about any required formatting revisions and given instructions about how to submit a revised version to the ETD Administrator.

The Registrar's Office will approve the manuscript submission once all formatting revisions are complete and all other graduation requirements are verified. Accepted manuscripts are released to ProQuest and Scholarship@Claremont for publishing after the student's degree is posted.  


Scholarship@Claremont, CGU's institutional repository for dissertations and theses, is a worldwide showcase, and a publishing forum of The Claremont Colleges Library. Archiving locally, Scholarship@Claremont provides global access to researchers and enables publicity for the intellectual and scholarly work of the faculty, students, and staff of The Claremont Colleges.  This repository ensures opportunities for freely accessible discovery of comprehensive and timely reviews of literature, recent and time-sensitive research, creative and artistic expression, and other scholarship that benefits authors and the world community alike.

Scholarship@Claremont provides a number of services to help student authors track the impact of their scholarly work and can:

  • Download Counts: You can receive reports of how often your work is downloaded by readers.
  • Referrals: Reader inquiries can be referred direct to you for follow up. Inquiries may include questions about your work or even requests for speaking engagements and other collaboration.

Some of the benefits students may experience as a result of submitting a thesis or dissertation to Scholarship@Claremont are:

  • Increase in Citations: Library and Archives Canada has reported a dramatic increase in citations of student work directly related to posts in an open access repository. This impact is estimated at from 50 to 250%.
  • Worldwide Exposure: The electronic medium promotes professional visibility and enhances your scholarly reputation among colleagues, institutions, and the global community.
  • Global Access: Not only do colleagues, collaborators, and potential collaborators have access to your work, but the medium expedites accessibility for prospective employers, governmental grants and other funding agencies, foreign constituents, and other global entities.

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