Thesis Guidelines

The guidelines below are presented for both faculty and students as a suggested set of procedures to help clarify how a student can begin and then complete a thesis. Please note that, in general, the responsibility for contacting faculty, completing forms, preparing the manuscript to specifications, and meeting published deadlines established by the Department of English and the Graduate School falls on the shoulders of the student.

1. Students should meet with their thesis director to discuss their plans at least two semesters before they plan to graduate. Students then must write a Thesis Prospectus outlining the project and fill out the Thesis Hour Registration Form for consideration. This form will require the signature of the student's thesis director, the Director of Graduate Studies and the Department Chair. These forms and the completed Prospectus are submitted to the Graduate Office in Patterson 461.

2. Students may register for thesis hours as many times as needed in order to finish the thesis, but only 3 hours will count toward the M.A. or MFA degree. The Thesis Hour Registration form should be submitted each semester a student needs to register for thesis hours, however, the Thesis Prospectus only needs to be included the first time a student registers for thesis hours.

3. The first draft of the thesis should be in the hands of the thesis director at the end of the semester before the student is graduating. The number of chapters and pages required should be discussed with the thesis director.

4. Early in the semester in which the student intends to graduate, he or she must complete the paperwork required for graduation. This includes the Intent to Graduate Card and the appropriate Candidacy Form found on the Graduate School Forms website. Keep in mind that the responsibility for meeting deadlines falls to the student. Consult the Graduate School webpage for deadlines.

5. In consultation with the thesis director and committee members, the student will schedule a thesis defense including date, time, and location. Students will work with the thesis director to advertise the defense and notify the Department main office to add the defense to the department calendar. The date for the defense should be scheduled well in advance of the published completion deadline set by the Graduate School.

6. No less than three weeks before the defense, the student must receive the director's preliminary approval for the thesis to be given to the second and third readers.

7. Two weeks before the defense, the student will submit a "perfect draft" of the thesis to two readers who will read carefully to catch any remaining errors in content, logic, organization, or mechanics.

8. When it comes time for the defense, the student should fill out and print the Thesis Final Defense Results form. When the defense has been concluded, the committee will sign the form indicating pass or fail. The form and a defended paper copy of the thesis should then be submitted to the Graduate School well in advance of the deadline. A photocopy of the signed Thesis Final Defense Results form should also be submitted to the English Graduate Office.

9. Once the thesis director and committee approve the final version of the thesis with all requested revisions, the student must submit an electronic copy to the Graduate School before the deadline. Directions for submission and a Preparation Guide can be found on the Graduate School page at the Thesis/Dissertation Guide.

10. Students must also fill out the Thesis Approval Form found on the Graduate School webpage, obtain the necessary signatures and submit the form to the Graduate School well in advance of the published deadline.