Culminating Experience

The culminating experience must be met by the satisfactory completion of a thesis, special project, comprehensive examination, and/or an oral defense of the work.

Preparing the PCE:

Submitting the PCE and supporting documents through the DocuSign Portal:

NOTE: Once you start the routing process for the PCE submission, make sure to complete the form in one session.

To start the process, click the link to "Online PCE Submission," then follow these steps:

NOTE: Faculty/staff will be notified upon submission of this form that you are requesting their signature on your PCE form. You must submit accurate information for prompt review/approval.

  1. Submit your PCE after completing at least eighteen semester units. For fall culminating experience course enrollment, the PCE must be submitted by April 1 and for spring enrollment by October 1.
  2. Consult with your program advisor or Graduate Coordinator to select the appropriate PCE form in the drop-down menu below.
  3. Fill out your PCE online. No handwritten materials accepted.
  4. The PCE form must be completed before starting the submission process.
  5. Enter your name and email address
  6. Enter the name and email address of your Committee Chair
  7. Enter the name and email address of your Second Reader
  8. Enter the name and email address of your Third Reader (if required by your program)
  9. Enter the name and email address of your Department Chair/Graduate Program Coordinator (Find your Graduate Program Coordinator at
  10. Once you click on "Begin Signing," you will be directed to the PCE Signature page, where you must enter your information and attach the PCE form you completed in an earlier step. On the signature page, click the paperclip icon to begin uploading.

    Do not submit your ATC with your PCE, please follow separate ATC instructions found here:

    1. If you need to upload multiple files, you can click "Upload File" again to select more.
    2. When research involves human or animal subjects, approval of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or University Animal Care and Use Committee (UACUC) is required. Visit the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs - Human and Animal Protections website for more information.
  11. Once all documents are attached, you can scroll down to review what has been uploaded.
  12. If you are satisfied that everything needed has been attached, click "FINISH" at the top of the page.

Then you are done! You will have the option to download or print a copy of all documents submitted. Otherwise, just click "Close," and you can exit out of the tab.

Selection of Culminating Experience Committee

  • The committee must consist of a minimum of two and a maximum of five members.
  • The chair and the second member of your committee must hold tenured/tenure-track faculty appointments in your major department.
  • In circumstances where special expertise is available in another department, the graduate dean may authorize a designated tenured/tenure-track faculty member from a related department to serve as second reader.
  • With special permission, some long-term lecturers with terminal degrees in their field or with special expertise may serve as the second reviewer provided their curriculum vitae is on file in the Division of Graduate Studies.
  • The third member of a committee may be a lecturer or from outside the major department or university. Lectures or readers outside the university must have a current curriculum vitae on file in the Division of Graduate Studies.
  • To officially change the composition of your committee, you must submit a Petition for GAP Substitution or Committee Revision to

Registration and Grading for Culminating Experience Courses

  • You must have an approved Advancement To Candidacy (ATC) form and Proposal for Culminating Experience on file at the Division of Graduate Studies. The registrar will block admission to a culminating experience class until approval is received.
  • You must have a 3.0 GPA in all post-baccalaureate course work completed.
  • If you do not complete the course by the end of the semester of registration you will receive a grade of RP (Report in Progress). Do not register for the course again.
  • When the project is completed, be sure that your committee chair files a grade change to CR (Credit) with the Registrar's Office.
  • A Report of Completion must be filed for internships, field studies, or creative work projects.
  • Thesis/Dissertation/Written Creative Works need to be reviewed by Graduate Studies and submitted to the Library. Adhere to Thesis Guidelines for completion.
Red Bar
NOTE: A student must be enrolled in courses to have automatic library privileges. If you receive an "RP" (Report in Progress) for your Culminating Experience course and are not enrolled in any other courses, you must contact your graduate advisor to request a memo on letterhead to receive library privileges. Please submit your department memo to the book checkout desk. **This memo must be renewed each semester until you are ready to apply for graduation.

Students admitted or re-admitted to a Graduate Program in the Fall 2008 or later must adhere to the Continuous Enrollment Policy as stated in the bulletin. After the semester of enrollment in the Culminating Experience and the subsequent semester, all graduate students are required to maintain continuous enrollment through the College of Extended Learning (CEL) until the degree is earned.