UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

Master's Degree Requirements

In many departments, the master’s degree is considered to be a step toward the doctorate. In some programs, students may pursue a terminal master’s degree. Some departments provide one track for students who will seek the doctoral degree and another track for students who intend to pursue careers outside academia. The Graduate Council’s minimum requirements for the master’s degree are described below. Individual departments often impose additional requirements. Students should consult the department for updated and specific requirements in excess of the minimum requirements.

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. The thesis committee is approved by and responsible to the Graduate Dean under policies established by the Graduate Council. The master's thesis committee must consist of at least three UC ladder faculty members (Assistant, Associate, and/or Full Professors). Two members of the committee must be ladder faculty from the student's home department, one of whom will be appointed as chair or co-chair. Appointment of additional members to the master's committee is at the discretion of the department and does not require approval.

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 faculty members A research project must be approved by a department-appointed committee. The committee consists of three ladder faculty members, two from the home department, one of which supervises the project.