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Master of Arts in English Thesis
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Graduate students in literature or in composition and writing theory who maintain a 3.5 GPA in graduate English courses may elect to take 6 hours of thesis credit, ENGL 6000, normally during their last two semesters of course work.
The thesis should demonstrate original thought and substantial research. It may be an originally scholarly assessment or critical compilation of primary material; a critical study of literary works and authors; a theoretical exploration of issues related to literature, linguistics, writing; or an empirical study of composition and/or pedagogy (for example, a case study, composing process analysis, classroom ethnography, or other fieldwork). The completed thesis should be at least fifty pages (double-spaced, typed), not including notes, bibliography, and appendices (new MLA format). The amount of work--reading, research, consulting, and writing--that the student devotes to the thesis project should be equivalent to that of two seminars.
During the semester before registering for English 6000, the student should secure a thesis director who has particular knowledge of the subject and who is a member of the Department's graduate faculty. The director must approve the topic and a preliminary bibliography, and the student and director must then complete a proposal to be filed with the graduate coordinator. In consultation with the graduate coordinator, the thesis director will ask two other members of the graduate faculty to serve on the committee. The graduate coordinator will then submit the top half of the completed M2 form, designating the committee members, to the Graduate Dean's office for approval. The student and director should decide at the outset whether a letter or a delayed grade will be given for the first semester.
Generally 6000 should be taken over two semesters, three hours of credit for each semester. The proposal mentioned above should include a description of the work to be done the first semester. The precise form of that work would be up to the director. It should, however, include regular meetings with the director and a substantial writing assignment, very possibly a first draft, or shorter papers leading to a draft, that would aid the student in finishing the thesis by second semester's deadline. At the end of the first semester the student must submit an outline for the thesis along with a report of the work done during the semester to be signed by the director and filed with the graduate coordinator.
In order to fulfill the Graduate School's requirements for the successful submission of the thesis, the student must submit the completed copies of the thesis to the thesis director and to the other committee members six weeks into the semester . This will give the committee time to critique the drafts and return them to the student for revisions. After revising, the student will resubmit the thesis to the committee for approval. In case of a split vote, the majority vote will determine whether the thesis is acceptable.
Early in the second semester, students should visit the Graduate School office (338 Woods Hall), and personally acquaint themselves with that office's prescriptions and schedule for the submission of the thesis. Dates vary each year in accord with the academic calendar.