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Master's Thesis

An M.S. thesis should demonstrate, through a substantial original project, the student’s proficient use of methods associated with academic area(s) in which the Primary Advisor is able to provide supervision. The thesis must be of sufficient quality that it merits the degree of Master of Science in the judgment of the student’s Primary Advisor and Second Reader. The final thesis is subject to the approval of the Symbolic Systems Program Office. The thesis must be written in English, to ensure that the faculty and staff of the Program’s Directorate can read and understand it.


  • Master's theses are due at Noon on the day of the University Dissertation/Thesis Deadline for the quarter in which you are graduating. You must be a registered Stanford student during the quarter in which you graduate.


  • Your thesis must be signed by two readers: your primary advisor and a second reader. Review eligibility requirements
  • Your thesis must contain signatures for each reader in the following format (with parenthetical and bracketed text filled in as appropriate)

"To the Directors of the Program on Symbolic Systems:
I certify that I have read the thesis of (Printed Name of Student)
in its final form for submission and have found it to be satisfactory for the degree of 
[Master of Science/Bachelor of Science with Honors].
(Printed Name of Reader)
(Printed Name of Reader's Department )"

  • If signatures cannot be obtained hand-written, then your reader(s) may sign by email sent to symsys-directors [at] (symsys-directors[at]lists[dot]stanford[dot]edu) prior to the deadline for thesis submission, using the wording above. Any electronic signature must be sent from the reader's officially listed university email account. The signature page should read "Signed electronically" on the signature line of your turned-in thesis, with all other information present as above.


  • A copy of your final thesis must be submitted in two formats before it is due:
    • In hard copy, bound, two-sided, on 8 1/2 x 11" paper, delivered to: Associate Director, Symbolic Systems Program, Mail Code 2150, Margaret Jacks Hall, Suite 127, Stanford, CA 94305-2150
    • In a PDF version through Stanford Digital Repository.

Master's Theses Examples

  • Recent master's theses in our program are available in the Stanford Digital Repository.
  • M.S. theses are also kept in hard copy in the Symbolic Systems Program office (460-040) and may be viewed by arrangement with the Associate Director or an Advising Fellow. They may not be checked out.