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A thesis documents original research or creative activity carried out by a student enrolled in a master’s program. A research thesis is characterized by a clearly stated proposition or hypothesis that is investigated using analysis and synthesis of data or other scholarly evidence. The thesis must include a discussion of the relevant literature and demonstrate the ability of the student to independently and successfully address a significant intellectual problem with concepts and methods that are accepted in the major field of study. A creative thesis includes works of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction and is associated with the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing program.

Thesis Proposal

A thesis proposal must be approved in advance by the supervisory committee. The thesis proposal presents the background, objectives, scope, methods, and time lines of the thesis research. Substantive work done by the student prior to the appointment of the supervisory committee or work represented by credit other than 593 Thesis (such as 596 Independent Study and 696 Directed Research) is not acceptable for the thesis under any conditions.

Registration for Thesis Credit

A master’s student must register for at least one (1) credit of 593 Thesis in any semester or session in which the student is engaged in thesis activity, including the semester or session of the final oral examination, regardless of the number of 593 Thesis credits already accumulated by the student. The student cannot undertake the final oral examination unless enough 593 Thesis credit has been accumulated to meet the degree requirement for such credit. The student is not required to register for 593 Thesis credit in the semester or session subsequent to the semester or session in which the Graduate College receives the format review copy of the thesis and the Final Reading Approval pages signed by the chair of the supervisory committee (or designee). The student must submit the format review copy and the signed Final Reading Approval pages to the Graduate College no later than the last day of the final exam week of the semester or session. Failure to meet this deadline will require the student to register for at least one credit of 593 Thesis in the subsequent semester or session.

Thesis Grading

All 593 Thesis credits are graded in-progress (IP) until a final grade of either pass (P) or fail (F) is assigned by the master’s program. A grade of pass (P) is assigned to all 593 credits if the final oral examination is passed, and a grade of fail (F) is assigned to all 593 credits if the student fails the final oral examination.

Final Thesis Approvals and Procedures

A grade of pass (P) in all 593 credits is not sufficient to satisfy the thesis requirement for a master’s degree and does not clear a student for graduation. A thesis that has been successfully defended by the student at the final oral examination must also:

  1. be granted final reading approval by the major advisor (chair of the supervisory committee)
  2. include an Access Agreement for a Thesis or Dissertation form describing conditions for archiving and publishing the dissertation through ScholarWorks.
  3. Include a page that contains the research protocol number and a statement that the protocol has been approved by the appropriate Office of Research Compliance (ORC) committee – Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), or Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). Refer to Responsible conduct of research.
  4. pass the format review of the Graduate College
  5. be approved by the Graduate Dean