Graduate Student Degree Completion Paradigm






UC Merced Graduate Student Services and the Bright Success Center leaders have collaboratively designed a comprehensive tool to help students, staff and faculty members better understand the complex requirements and available support systems for graduate degree completion.


Carefully follow the three main steps on this page:

  1. For specific majors, access MyAudit each term to review accuracy and time to completion of coursework.

  2. Access the Dissertation and Thesis Calculator early in your graduate program, then revisit the site for updates, to plan other research projects and to find co-curricular support (requires UC Merced login; best viewed on computer screens of at least 15" diagonal):

    • New assignment

      • on the project calculator page, enter beginning and ending dates of your project then choose an existing template and click "create assignment or template" button below template list

    • Existing assignment

      • on the project calculator page under "My Active Assignments", click "view" or "edit" options to right of desired project

    • New template

      • on the project calculator page, enter "Assignment Title" of your project, click "create as a template", then choose "start from scratch" option followed by clicking "create assignment or template" button below template list

      • two project segments are shown as default--additional segments ("steps") may be added by clicking "edit assignment" and "add a step" at lower right of page; then load all step titles and % time values, followed by all instructional contents for each step; click small "edit" or "set" buttons at each step and accept changes by clicking small "save" buttons adjacent to each entry

      • at end, click "done editing" at top or bottom right; to share, click "publish template" in top left of screen

    • For email reminders of project due dates: under "My Active Assignments", click "edit" then, on assignment detail page, click on "send me email reminders" in top left area

    • To "share work" with other UC Merced users, click that additional option in the top left area while editing

    • Assumed % time values for project segments are based on generalized results of projects completed by university students; % time values may vary by student, major and institution

    • Beware the "delete" and advanced "step edit" options: think carefully prior to permanently deleting a template or a step

  3. Access the Help Center--or visit the Graduate Student Services staff in SSB 340--for answers to general questions regarding graduate processes. Also, please send questions and suggested improvements regarding the project calculator site.


► Remember to frequently visit your major advisors and your thesis or dissertation faculty advisor for specific help with project style and content.

We want you to look at the dissertation [or thesis] as a fun and exciting journey... We want you to call up all those positive things you associate with trips as you think about your dissertation: discovering new things; the excitement of greeting each new day, not knowing what you'll encounter; developing new skills; acknowledging that you'll sometimes be frustrated, but those periods will be overshadowed by the fun you're having; a confidence that you'll be able to deal with whatever comes your way; and an expectation that you'll be on the trip for a limited amount of time.

-- Foss and Waters, "Destination Dissertation: A Traveler's Guide to a Done Dissertation," New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007, pp. 2-3.