Master's Thesis

If you decide to write a thesis:

1.   A faculty member holding at least Associate Graduate Faculty status must approve your thesis topic and agree to serve as your thesis advisor. Pick your topic at least one year before you hope to graduate. A thesis is always based upon primary research and normally is 16-25,000 words long.

2.  In consultation with your thesis advisor, choose the thesis committee; all prospective members must agree to serve and sign a form obtainable from http:// / Usually, a Thesis Committee will consist of the director and two readers.

3.  Register the thesis with the Graduate School.There is a form for this available at http://www.mem, under the title "Thesis/Dissertation Proposal Defense."

4.  When you complete your thesis, you will have to defend it, usually in conjunction with your comprehensive examination. You will have to report the results of the thesis defense to the Graduate School, with copies to the Department of History and the Director of Graduate Studies. You can get the form at

5.  A member of the thesis committee, but not the director, may be from another department or another institution. Outside members must hold University of Memphis Adjunct graduate faculty status. Consult with the Director of Graduate Studies concerning this issue.

6.  All graduate committees should consist of tenured and tenure-track faculty. Other instructors at University of Memphis, untenured or non-tenure track instructors from other institutions, and unaffiliated scholars, with appropriate graduate faculty status may serve, but only with the approval of the committee chair and by a formal petition to the Graduate Studies Committee providing a full explanation of the reasons for the request.

7.  History students should follow the format recommended by the most recent edition of Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press). The Chicago Manual of Style is also acceptable. Note that both manuals also give formats for the work-cited format, which is not the one we require (the notes- bibliography format).

It is a good idea to discuss matters of format with the expert on this at the Graduate School; at the current time and for many years this has been Michelle Stout, She will also be the one to scrutinize your final manuscript and judge that it does or does not meet the requirements, and she is the one to whom you should submit your dissertation after making any revisions that your committee has required.

8.  You must present your thesis to the Graduate School for approval of the final copy after your committee accepts your thesis and you have made all the revisions it requires,. You must submit your thesis to the Graduate School electronically. Make sure you are following the most recent guidelines and meet the deadline. All submissions must include an unnumbered abstract of not more than 350 words.

For the current thesis preparation guide and policies on submission to the Graduate School, see

Go to to see how the electronic system is set up to display and search for submitted theses and dissertations.