University Requirements


To complete a master’s degree at UCSB, candidates must:

Master's Degree
Plan I, Thesis Option


(Senate reg. 300B, 305B)

In addition to department-specific requirements, this plan requires completion of a minimum of 30 units of upper-division and graduate coursework, of which at least 20 units must be at the graduate level (excluding courses numbered 597 or 598, units for teaching assistant duties or training, or service as a graduate student researcher). A maximum of 10 units of the required 20 graduate units may be in 596 coursework. Some departments also require completion of an examination at the conclusion of coursework.

A thesis is required, which must be approved by each member of the master's committee.

Master's Degree
Plan II, Comprehensive
Exam or Project


(Senate reg. 300B, 305C)

In addition to department-specific requirements, this plan requires completion of a minimum of 36 units of upper-division and graduate coursework. No fewer than 24 of the 36 units required for the non-thesis option must be in graduate courses in the major subject or in graduate courses related to that subject. Teaching and research practica, 597, or 598 courses may not be used to meet this minimum unit requirement. No more than half of the required 24 graduate units may be in 596 coursework.

Students must also complete either a comprehensive exam or a project:

  • A comprehensive final examination is set by the major department and administered by a department-appointed master's committee consisting of at least three UC Academic Senate members with a ladder faculty member (Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor) from the student’s major department serving as chair or co-chair. At least two members of every thesis committee must be ladder faculty. At least two members of the committee must be Academic Senate Members from the student's UCSB major department. Recommendation of the appointment of additional members to the master’s committee is at the discretion of the department. 
  • A research project must be supervised by at least two Academic Senate members, with a ladder faculty member from the student’s UCSB major department serving as chair or co-chair.

Awarding of a
Master's Degree


To be awarded a Master's Degree, students must:

After a student has completed these requirements, the Department Graduate Advisor or Chair sends to Graduate Division a signed degree check sheet (or memo if admitted prior to Fall 2010) verifying that the student has completed all degree requirements, including the exact dates milestones were met. Upon receiving the required departmental master’s degree check sheet (or memo), Graduate Division conducts a final degree check prior to awarding the degree.

Please note: due to the large number of degrees awarded each quarter, degree checks are not performed the same day that Graduate Division is notified of a student's degree candidacy

Degree Verification,
Transcripts, and Diplomas


Diplomas are automatically mailed to the "diploma address" on record approximately 3-4 months after the date of degree conferral. If you are unable to update your address on GOLD, see Office of Registrar's Address Verification. A charge will automatically be assessed to the student's BARC account for the mailing cost of the diploma. All questions concerning verifications, transcripts, and diplomas should be addressed to the Office of the Registrar.

Graduate Student

Each June, the Graduate Division coordinates Commencement for all graduate degree and credential candidates. 

Posthumous Degrees


For posthumous degree policy, please see Academic Senate Regulation 600. Please contact Academic Services Staff in the Graduate Division for more information on requesting such a degree.