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M.S. (Plan II) Comprehensive Exam/Project and Filing

M.S. Comprehensive Exam/Capstone Filing Instructions (Plan II) (Updated September 28, 2023)

Comprehensive Examination (M.S.)

For master’s students under Plan II, the final examination/capstone project is the final requirement of the M.S. degree.  Each program decides the content and format of the final exam/project, which should cover the knowledge and skills reasonably expected of a master’s degree recipient in the field. A faculty committee should conduct the exam and/or direct the final project.

The student is encouraged to discuss with members of the degree committee both the substance and the preparation of the examination/project well in advance of the planned date of the examination.

At the conclusion of the exam, the committee shall vote on whether both the final examination/capstone project and the student's performance are satisfactory to earn a M.S. degree from the University of California.

The presentation slides from our M.S. Graduation Filing & Procedures Workshop are available to download here: ms_time_to_degree_-_preparing_for_graduation.pdf

M.S. Comprehensive Examination/Capstone Project Filing Procedure

  1. Review Graduate Division Checklists
    1. Please visit for the Ph.D./M.S. Degree Application Forms and Guidelines.
    2. Make sure you have submitted the M.S. Advancement to Candidacy online form at least 30 days prior to the start of the semester in which you plan to graduate in.  Please contact for the link to the online form.
    3. Complete the Graduate Student Graduation Application during appropriate filing period (Fall: February 16-September 15; Spring: September 16th-February 15; Summer: September 16-June 15).  The application is available on the student portal under “MyStudentRecord.” No signatures are required.
  2. Set Date with Faculty Committee Members for examination or final date to submit capstone project for grading
  3. Examination Date
    1. Complete Exam/Defense Date Submission webform to notify SoE Graduate Staff of your examination date.
    2. At least one (1) week prior to your examination, you and your committee chair will receive an email with documents required to administer the examination/project. These documents include your current UC Merced transcripts and the Approved Advancement to Candidacy Form.
  4. Submit Forms to Graduate Division
    1. Make any corrections/edits to final capstone project and email it to faculty committee for final approval (please refer to )
    2. SOE Graduate Staff will work with your committee to obtain results of your examination/project to process the Final Report for the Master's Degree form.  We will submit the completed Final Report form to the Graduate Division. You must have completed the examination/capstone by the deadlines posted by the Graduate Division (please refer to )