Graduate Thesis Option
The Thesis Option
Graduate students need 36 credits to graduate with a master's degree. All graduate students must complete a capstone project, and the thesis is one of five options for the project: thesis, qualitative study, creative thesis, peer-reviewed journal, or curricular artifact. All capstone projects require a defense.
Students have the option to register for up to six (6) credits of thesis research and writing to complete their M.A. or M.Ed. degrees. In addition, they may register for one independent study course in their academic career in addition to the 6 credits used for the thesis, giving each student the option to tailor nine (9) credits to their individual needs and interests.
If a student elects to complete a thesis, the process begins with the student selecting a thesis advisor from among the graduate faculty. The thesis advisor and the student develop the thesis project and establish a timeline for completion. The student then writes a thesis proposal outlining the idea, the reason why this subject was chosen, and the methods that will be used to complete the project. The proposal is submitted to the Graduate Coordinator as a record of the project. It is recommended that the student begin the research at least one semester, if not a year in advance, to allow sufficient time for research, critical thinking, and composition of the thesis.
The thesis committee is composed of three faculty--the advisor plus two other graduate faculty whom the student selects. When the thesis is completed, the thesis advisor sends copies of the thesis to the committee for their review. An oral thesis defense is scheduled, and the student meets with the thesis committee to discuss the ideas and methods used in completing the thesis. The student is judged on a pass/fail basis.
The thesis option is an excellent way for the student to experience a capstone writing and research experience. It is an asset for those pursuing additional graduate study, for those who will be teaching, and as an experience of self-fulfillment to know that the writer has conceived of an original project and brought the idea to completion.
Examples of student theses are available in the English Department Office. Please visit the English Department Chair, Dr. Jill Caven, or the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Amber Nicole Pfannenstiel, for more information on the thesis option.
The Graduate School also publishes Thesis Guidelines.