M.A. Thesis Procedures
Students are urged to begin thinking about their research topics as they progress through coursework. When courses have been completed, students may register for the required number of POLS 8990 credits and begin the formal procedure for thesis work. The following procedures have been established for the supervision, presentation, and approval of theses :
Thesis committees must have three members of the graduate faculty of the Department of Political Science. Additional members from inside or outside the department may be appointed with approval of the graduate director. Students preparing to write a thesis must meet with the Director of Graduate Studies to initiate the process of constituting a committee. Completion of a “Declaration of Intent” form is required.
- Research Design:
There shall be an oral presentation of the research design. The session at which the presentation is made shall be open to all members of the faculty and to others. The acceptability of the research design shall be determined by at least a two-thirds vote of the members of the thesis or dissertation committee.
Two copies of the research proposal shall be made available in the office of the Graduate Director at least one week in advance of the oral presentation. Members of the faculty must be notified by the thesis committee chairperson of both the date of the oral presentation and the availability of the research design. The date selected by the chairperson and student must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
- Thesis Expectations:
The M.A. thesis should follow the format of an article in a Political Science research journal, normally running 10,000 words (approximately 40 pages). It will include an abstract, introduction, literature review closely related to statement of problem, formal statement of hypothesis/hypotheses, description of research methods, findings and analysis, conclusion and bibliography. The thesis will present the results of primary research, an original theoretical contribution, or a creative approach to a problem. It should be of a quality suitable for submission to a professional conference or research journal.
There shall be a final oral defense of the thesis. The defense shall be administered by the thesis committee. The defense shall be open to all members of the faculty and to others. The acceptability of the thesis shall be determined by at least a two-thirds vote of the members of the committee.
Two copies of the thesis to be defended shall be made available in the office of the Graduate Director at least one full week in advance of the defense. Members of the faculty must be notified by the thesis committee chairperson of both the date of the defense and the availability of the final typed copies of the thesis.. The date selected by the chairperson and student must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
The defended and approved thesis must be submitted to the Graduate Office of the College of Arts and Sciences. Specific guidelines regarding the thesis format and submission requirements are available from the Graduate Office or from the Assistant to the Political Science Graduate Director.