Master’s Studies

THE MASTER’S DEGREE EXPERIENCE

We offer Master’s degrees in over 80 academic and professional fields. Program lengths range from one to three years. You can expect to take coursework in your field. Most master’s students complete a comprehensive examination that may take the form of an exam, paper or project. Some students will assemble a Master’s Committee chosen from faculty in order to write a thesis paper. Here are the primary UCLA-wide steps. Details do vary by program.

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COMPLETE COURSEWORK

You can expect to complete at least nine courses (36 units) for a master’s degree. Depending on your field, you may take significantly more courses chosen by your program or electives. You’ll take courses with a wide variety of faculty and make lasting friendships with your cohort. In addition to being assigned a Student Affairs Officer from your program, you’ll also either be assigned, or mutually choose your Faculty Advisor. To keep on track, a graduate student must meet the requirements for your specific program.

FIND FORMS FOR MASTER’S STUDENTS

We’ve assembled all UCLA-wide forms that may be useful to a graduate student on a Master’s track in one place: Forms for UCLA Master’s Students. Your specific program may provide additional forms for your use. Here are some of the most common.

KNOW YOUR PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

Program Requirements covers most things a current student needs to know to graduate on time. You may also wish to consult your Graduate Student Academic Rights and Responsibilities and Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA. With more questions about requirements, check our Frequently Asked Questions. Most outstanding questions can be answered by your department through their website or from your Student Affairs Officer (SAO).

Type the name of your program to jump straight to your program’s requirements:

COMPLETING OTHER REQUIREMENTS

Your program may require an internship, field experience, competency in a foreign language, or other opportunities to increase your knowledge and expertise in your field.

While you’re completing your degree, keep an eye on your future. Be sure to participate in the great career and professional development events and resources at UCLA.

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NOMINATE YOUR MASTER’S COMMITTEE

For those students on a Thesis Plan, during your second year, you’ll assemble (nominate) your Master’s Committee. Your committee is generally comprised of three faculty members who will be responsible to review your work periodically, advise you on your direction, and approve your final Master’s Thesis.

On occasion, your committee will fall out of compliance, in which case you’ll be required to reconstitute your Master’s Committee. Common reasons include when one of your committee members leaves her or his post at UCLA or when you or a current committee member decides that you’ll benefit more by working with a different faculty member.

ADVANCE TO CANDIDACY

Master’s students apply to advance to candidacy after completing requirements specified for each program. Advancing to candidacy means you are ready to complete a capstone project or final examination or write a Master’s thesis. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that advancement is requested, and to maintain progress to completion. You will have one calendar year from the date of advancement to candidacy to complete all requirements for the degree.

You will file the applicable Master’s Advancement to Candidacy form with your major department no later than the second week of the quarter in which the award of the degree is expected. Ideally, you will request advancement to candidacy at least one quarter before the term in which awarding of the degree is expected.

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DEMONSTRATE MASTERY

You can expect to demonstrate your mastery of your field of study in one of several ways depending on your program. Each program has either a “Comprehensive Examination Plan,” a “Thesis Plan” or both options.

COMPLETE YOUR COMPREHENSIVE EXAM

Most UCLA master’s students have the Comprehensive Exam Plan. If you are in a field with this plan, your “examination” may be in the form of an examination, capstone project, tests, papers, individual or team projects, or some other format decided by the faculty in your program. At least three faculty members will evaluate your work. In some programs the comprehensive exam may serve as a screening exam for admission to its Doctoral Program.

WRITE & FILE YOUR THESIS

For those students on a Thesis Track, you will complete an approved thesis that demonstrates your ability to perform original, independent research in order to complete your master’s degree. Before you begin work on your thesis, you will obtain approval of the subject and general plan from your committee.

Once advanced to candidacy, a Thesis Track student is able to then submit a master’s thesis.

ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY

At the half-way point in your Master’s studies, you’ll apply to advance to candidacy. You must demonstrate to your faculty committee that you’re prepared to be awarded this degree. To initiate this evaluation, a student requests an advancement to candidacy no later than two weeks into the term in which awarding of the degree is expected.

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GRADUATION

Master’s Degrees are awarded four times a year, and most commencement ceremonies are coordinated by your program at the beginning of June. Find info about tickets, locations, schedule, parking, and dress code (including caps and gowns) and a listing of program-specific graduation ceremonies at UCLA Commencement.

CONNECT WITH YOUR FUTURE

Once you graduate, our support continues. You’ll find great resources, guidance, career support, and opportunities to network with fellow graduates through UCLA’s Alumni Association.

To network with fellow alumni and learn about meetups and events, like our UCLA Alumni Facebook page. and follow UCLA Alumni on Twitter.

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