Master's Thesis Idea Development
The MA thesis requirement is a multi-step process that should ideally begin during the first year of the program. Students in their first year are therefore encouraged to start thinking about a thesis topic in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and other faculty members in the program as early as the spring of their first year. By the end of the spring semester of the first year, students should have a preliminary thesis topic that they will have discussed with the Director of Graduate Studies and with faculty members in the program. Before the end of their first year students will submit a short pre-prospectus plan for their summer and preliminary directions on the thesis. If the research involves working with human subjects, then it will need to be approved by the University Committee on Activities Involving Human Subjects (UCAIHS) prior to the beginning of the research process. IRB clearance is necessary for the completion of your thesis if you plan to conduct interviews, so please plan ahead and visit here.
In the fall of the second year, students are required to formalize their thesis topic by getting it approved by their thesis committee and by the Director of Graduate Studies. A thesis committee consists of a thesis advisor and of a second reader; it should be created in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. Once a thesis committee has been selected, students are required to write a thesis topic proposal in consultation with their thesis committee. The final proposal should be 3-5 pages in length and should include a preliminary bibliography. The proposal should clearly state your topic, delineate your research question(s), discuss the motivations behind your topic, and describe the material and the methodology that you will be relying on. See Elements of a Thesis Proposal for further guidance. Once your thesis proposal has been approved by both of your thesis committee members, you will need to submit a copy of your proposal as well as a signed copy of the Masters Thesis Proposal Approval Form to the Director of Graduate Studies by Dec. 5. (electronic submission via individual student folder).