The MA Thesis Option

  1. An MA thesis may be substituted for two courses (6 credits) in the MAFLL or MAFLP programs.

  2. Any well-qualified student (normally defined as one who has not received any grade lower than A-) who has completed 15 hours of course work (or, in unusual circumstances, 9 hours) may explore the possibility of writing a thesis. The student must first seek a tenured professor in the appropriate field who is willing to direct the thesis. Acting in collaboration, the potential director and student will select a second reader for the thesis. This second reader must be a tenured or tenure-track professor. The student submits a written thesis proposal (approximately one page of single-spaced text in length) to the future director and reader, who must give their written agreement to the project. Once this agreement has been obtained, the Chair of the appropriate language faculty and the Director of Graduate Studies must be notified. The student may now register for thesis credit.

  3. Theses may be directed by tenured faculty only.

  4. Once a student is registered, the director suggests a schedule of meetings during the first semester. In these tutorial sessions, the readings selected are discussed and an outline for the paper is established. Advice may be solicited from the second reader. At the end of the first semester, the student writes a report on progress made and outlines a schedule for completion of the work remaining in the second semester. A copy of the report is submitted to the thesis director, the second reader, and the Director of Graduate Studies. The thesis director will assign the student a grade of satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

  5. The director arranges the meetings for the second semester in which the draft of the thesis is examined and revised. Advice may be solicited from the second reader, who reads the draft.

  6. The thesis may be written in either the target language or in English; however, the one-page abstract required by the Graduate School must be written in English. The thesis must follow the guidelines of the latest edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (for theses written in the field of Literature) or the American Psychological Association Publication Manual (for theses written in the field of Second Language Acquisition).

  7. The text of theses written in the field of Literature (excluding end notes and bibliography) must be at least 60 pages in length. Note: No length requirements apply to theses written in the field of Second Language Acquisition.

  8. A thesis defense is not required. However, the student may be questioned about his/her thesis during the MA Oral Comprehensive Examination.

  9. The thesis director, second reader, and student should have the latest version of the regulations concerning theses and dissertations issued by the Office of Graduate Studies. All University regulations regarding format, deadlines, etc. must be followed.

  10. The thesis director gives the student an "S" or a "U" for the research portion of the project (first 3 credits) which takes place during the first semester. Upon completion of the thesis, a grade is given. The grade covers the two semesters of work (six credits) and replaces the "S" or "U" given in the first semester. The second reader is not required to sign off on the thesis or to approve the final grade for the project.

  11. A bound hard copy of all completed theses must be delivered to the Graduate Secretary to be deposited in the Departmentís archives.

Last Updated 9/16/11