Sample Timeline for the CS MS Thesis Program

Below is a sample timeline for completing a Master's degree with a thesis. A student's actual timeline may vary from this somewhat.

All required forms are available at:


1st Semester


  • Identify a topic area.
  • Identify an advisor within that area.


2nd Semester


  • Declare an advisor early in the semester.
  • Work with your advisor to identify an appropriate committee. Declare your committee by the end of semester. Committees consist of at least three members, including your advisor (two members must be from your home department).
  • Complete the "Advisor/Thesis Committee" form.
  • Formulate research question early in the semester.
  • Begin literature review.
  • Check with the Graduate Office concerning required format for thesis.




  • Finish literature review and complete the write-up of your literature review.
  • Finalize research question(s), which are approved by your advisor.
  • Methods for research defined, written up and approved by your advisor.


3rd Semester


  • Present an advisor-approved proposal to your committee members within the first month of the semester.
  • Begin analysis for the thesis and start writing-up results.
  • Submit "Application for Admission to Candidacy" form to the Graduate Office at end of the third semester (after 36 credit hours). A full-time student can enroll in a reduced number of hours after the Admission to Candidacy form is approved.


4th Semester


  • Submit "Graduation Application" form within the first five weeks of the semester to the Graduate Office.
  • Finish write-up of your thesis document.
  • Distribute thesis draft to committee at least two weeks before scheduled defense with advisor's approval.
  • Submit "Thesis Defense Request" form one week prior to defense.
  • Give "Statement of Work Completion" form to your advisor prior to your defense.
  • Defend your thesis (at least one month prior to the end of the semester).
  • Revise your thesis, obtain signatures, and submit to Graduate Office for format approval.
  • Submit thesis, "Statement of Work Completion" form, and Check-out card to Graduate Office.


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Last Updated: 08/04/2017 08:23:15