Student Research

Southern's graduate students and faculty collaborate on a host of vital research projects, from student theses and graduate fellowships to specialized research in a faculty member's area of expertise.

Our dynamic research activity creates a powerful attraction for grant contributions from the government as well as private and corporate sponsors. This section provides links to the necessary forms related to student research.

Graduate Student Capstone Experiences

All graduate programs at Southern Connecticut State University are required to include a capstone experience in the curriculum.  The capstone consists of a program-directed educational experience that leads to a special project, comprehensive examination, thesis, or doctoral dissertation representative of the discipline(s). The capstone is defined as a culminating experience of rigorous academic achievement that:

  1. integrates knowledge from one’s discipline(s);
  2. applies specific knowledge;
  3. demonstrates knowledge and expertise to the appropriate disciplinary community; and,
  4. illustrates readiness for transition into more advanced professional or academic pursuits.  

Each academic department determines whether a student has successfully completed their capstone requirements.  Successful completion of the capstone special project, thesis, or dissertation indicates that the capstone has been approved by two faculty members and the department chair. In addition, successful completion of the thesis or dissertation indicates that the thesis or dissertation has been approved for and submitted to ProQuest for publication.

Student Guidelines

Capstone theses and dissertations (but not special projects) are submitted to ProQuest for publication.  ProQuest submissions are formatted either according to standard University guidelines or according discipline-specific guidelines that have been established by the department.  Students should confer with their department to learn whether the standard University format or a discipline-specific format applies.

If the department is seeking thesis and dissertation review by the School of Graduate and Professional Studies, then they must be submitted electronically to by April 27 for Spring 2022 or August 3 for Summer 2022.*  Otherwise, the deadline for submission and publication with ProQuest will be set by the faculty member prior to the last date of the semester.  

*Please refer to the section on “Requesting an Extension” if additional time is required for completion.

Faculty Guidelines 

Successful completion of the Special Project and Comprehensive Examination capstone requirements are documented as follows:

  1. Departments have the responsibility for approving capstone proposals. No documentation to the School of Graduate and Professional Studies is required.
  2. When the capstone special project or examination is assigned in a specific course, then a passing grade in the course serves as documentation that the capstone has been successfully completed.  No additional documentation is required to the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. 
  3. When the capstone special project or comprehensive examination is not an assignment within a specific course, then the department chair (or designee) submits an automated Graduate Audit Form in Workflow to document for the Registrar’s Office that the capstone requirement has been passed.

Successful completion of the Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation capstone requirements are documented as follows:  

  1. Departments may develop discipline-specific formats for ProQuest submissions in accordance with disciplinary conventions.  Students should confer with their department to learn whether the standard University format or a discipline-specific format applies.
  2. Departments that use discipline-specific ProQuest formats are responsible for reviewing and approving the formatting of ProQuest submissions.
  3. Departments that use the standard University Proquest format may either review and approve the formatting of theses or dissertations or they may request assistance from the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.

Effective October 2020, students are no longer required to apply to receive their diploma or certificate.  The Registrar's Office automatically processes diplomas and certificates once a student has successfully completed all program requirements.  Upon program completion, students are notified in their Southern email with instructions on how to access their e-diploma to share with family, friends, and employers.   An original diplomas or certificate will also be issued to the mailing address on file within 30-45 days at no charge. 

Replacement Diplomas

Graduates may also request a duplicate or replacement diploma.  A non-refundable $25 fee will be charged at the time of order.

*Please refer to the section below (“Requesting an Extension”) if the student requires additional time for completion.

ProQuest Guidelines

Standard University formats for theses and dissertations are as follows:



Requesting an Extension

If a student is making satisfactory progress towards the completion of their Master’s Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation, but will require additional time for completion, faculty members should follow the appropriate process below:

  • Master’s Thesis – Students who are making satisfactory progress towards the completion of their Master’s Thesis, but have not yet completed the requirement, may request an Incomplete (I) from their faculty member.  The Incomplete must be removed no more than 30 days after the next semester begins, or if the faculty members is providing additional time, then the faculty member must file a grade change with the Registrar's Office to "Incomplete Extension" with a revised deadline.  Students should be aware that a grade of incomplete may impact financial aid. Students working towards completion of a capstone may be granted a maximum extension of 12 months, unless an additional extension is expressly granted by the faculty member and approved by the Dean or Associate Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.
  • Doctoral Dissertation - Students who are making satisfactory progress with their doctoral dissertation, but have not yet completed and formally submitted, will receive an "I" for the course and are required to register for an extension, either EDL 901 Continuing Enrollment for Doctoral Dissertation or NUR 817 Dissertation Advisement Continuation.  The extension courses do not earn credit and a grade of "Q" will be assigned to indicate satisfactory progress. When all work is complete and accepted by the faculty member and/or committee responsible for oversight, the "I" grade for the dissertation course will be changed to the appropriate letter grade for course credit.