M.S. Research Documents

Required Research Documents for the Master of Science in Symbolic Systems:

The Project Area Statement, Qualifying Research Project, and Master's Thesis

Referring page: Master's Requirements

[Updated December 11, 2017]

The Master of Science degree program in Symbolic Systems at Stanford is a research-oriented program. Students who are admitted to the program must submit three documents to the SSP office prior to completion of the degree. These documents have different deadlines, beginning in the year prior to the expected graduation year. Details regarding the requirements for approval of each document are given below.

Project Area Statement (PAS)

The Project Area Statement Form is due no later than May 1 of the academic year prior to a student's expected graduation year. The PAS must identify an area in which you plan to carry out your research project; it must be accompanied by a program plan for fulfilling the Symbolic Systems Master of Science Degree Requirements; and it must be signed by a faculty member affiliated with SSP who agrees to be your master's project advisor and who is qualified to advise you in your chosen area. Stanford undergraduates applying to the M.S. program are strongly urged to include the PAS in their application dossier. Students applying from other institutions will generally need to wait until after they arrive for their first year of master's study (some time before May 1) to submit the PAS. The PAS is subject to approval by the SSP office. The PAS should be sent to s-y-m-s-y-s---d-i-r-e-c-t-o-r-s-@-l-i-s-t-s-.-s-t-a-n-f-o-r-d-.-e-d-u, with a cc to the prospective project advisor. Failure to submit by the deadline and gain approval for the PAS are grounds for dismissal from the program and will result in a hold being placed on the next quarter of the student's registration.

See also: Tips on Finding a Project Advisor for a Masters Thesis in Symbolic Systems

Qualifying Research Paper (QRP)

The Qualifying Research Paper is due no later than the last day of the Summer Quarter prior to a student's expected graduation year. For coterminal students, this will ordinarily be the summer following one's senior year. For students admitted from outside institutions, this will ordinarily be the summer at the end of the student's first year of study. The purpose of the QRP requirement is to ensure that each student has experience completing an original research project prior to embarking on the main phase of the master's project. An honors or senior thesis that has been approved as part of a student's degree program at an accredited undergraduate institution will be approved as a QRP, subject to a final determination by the SSP office. Other original research papers may also be approved on the recommendation of the student's project advisor. All applicants for admission to the master's program are encouraged to submit an original research paper (or draft, if it is a work in progress) as part of their application dossier. Submission of such a paper, while not required for admission, improves a student's chances for admission. If the student is admitted, such a paper may then be approved as the student's QRP. For all students who are admitted, the QRP must be submitted by the end of the summer prior to the student's expected graduation year. The QRP should be sent by the last day of Summer Quarter to s-y-m-s-y-s---d-i-r-e-c-t-o-r-s-@-l-i-s-t-s-.-s-t-a-n-f-o-r-d-.-e-d-u, with a cc to the project advisor. Failure to submit by the deadline and gain approval for the QRP are grounds for dismissal from the program, and a hold will be placed on the following quarter's registration for any student who has not submitted an approved QRP by the deadline.

Master's Thesis

The Master's Thesis is generally a description of a student's master's project, and must be signed by two readers: the student's primary project advisor and a second reader. At least one of the two readers must be a member of the Academic Council of Stanford University, and the first reader must be affiliated with the Symbolic Systems Program. The Master's Thesis must be turned in in both hard copy and electronic (.pdf) form to the SSP office (with the e-version sent to s-y-m-s-y-s---d-i-r-e-c-t-o-r-s-@-l-i-s-t-s-.-s-t-a-n-f-o-r-d-.-e-d-u) with the required signatures no later than 12 noon on the day of the University Dissertation/Thesis Deadline for the quarter in which graduation is expected.

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