English
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

MA Theses

Thesis

Theses are optional for all MA in English students. Choosing to write an MA thesis is a big decision. Completion of an MA thesis can be very rewarding. Talk to your faculty advisor and the graduate director to determine if writing a thesis is best for you.

If you entered your program of study knowing you wanted to write a thesis, talk to your advisor or the graduate director early in your academic career. Talk about your options and how writing a thesis impacts your program of study. In most cases, writing a thesis will add time to your degree program. This can be a good thing, but it does take time to draft, develop, revise, and submit a thesis. You should plan on the process taking at least two semesters.

If you do write a thesis, it is expected that each thesis be mechanically correct. More importantly, the thesis, regardless of topic, should show your ability to meet the intellectual challenges of a longer work—such as identifying and defining a subject and theme that merit treatment at length; conducting necessary research; establishing a consistent point of view; and revising in a way that shows your ability to identify weaknesses and solve problems.

Again, you don't have to write a thesis. The Professional Writing and Rhetoric program gives students the option of a capstone class (ENGH 797) and one elective in place of a thesis. The Literature and Cultural Studies programs offer elective credit or literature credit instead of a thesis. The Teaching of Writing and Literature program doesn't require a thesis and requires at least three extra credits for students who choose to complete a thesis. Graduate certificate programs do not have thesis options.

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