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The thesis represents the culmination of the student’s work in a master’s degree program at the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Completing the thesis demonstrates that the student can work independently, integrate discipline-specific information, and respond to feedback. The student must register for 18 credits of graduate coursework before taking master’s thesis courses. The student must complete 6 credits of thesis coursework (at 3 credits per semester) to meet degree requirements.

If a student has not successfully defended his/her thesis after completing 6 credits of thesis coursework, the student must remain enrolled in a 3-credit thesis course for each additional semester during which he/she is working on the thesis, including the semester of defense. During this time, the student must maintain active status in the degree program. Students may complete a maximum of 12 credit hours of thesis work.

Thesis Options

  • Research Thesis: conduct qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods research
  • Theoretical Thesis: examine a well-focused question or problem through an informed context that is critical, theoretical, and/or historical
  • Digital Media Thesis: create a piece of digital media, such as an app or game
  • Technical Thesis: produce a substantial manual, guidebook, white paper, report, scholarly or professional website, or grant proposal
Thesis details should be finalized with the thesis adviser.

Thesis Process

Part 1: Select an Adviser and Complete the Thesis Project Approval Form

For guidance throughout the research and writing process, students first select a thesis adviser. The thesis adviser must be a full-time NSU faculty member in the student’s discipline. The thesis adviser and student work together to select a second reader. The adviser and second reader make up the student’s thesis committee. The student and committee complete the Thesis Project Approval Form and submit it to the Department Chair for final approval. Once the project form is approved, the student can register for WRIT 6000: Master’s Thesis.

Part 2: Register for WRIT 6000: Master’s Thesis and Compose the Thesis

Once registered for thesis credits, students work closely with the thesis committee to complete the necessary research and composing. If a project involves working with human subjects, IRB approval must be obtained.

To be successful, students must meet regularly with the thesis adviser and demonstrate consistent progress. The thesis adviser determines acceptable performance in the course.

During the final semester of thesis credits, students must submit a final copy of the project to the adviser by the published deadline. It will then be determined if the project is ready to be defended.

Part 3: Defend the Thesis

As the culminating evaluation of the thesis process, students defend their work in front of the thesis committee, program faculty and students, and invited guests. The adviser schedules the defense and works with the student to prepare.

During the defense, the student summarizes the project, articulates its relevance, and contextualizes its contribution to the discipline. The student then answers questions from the thesis committee, thereby demonstrating an ability to defend academic work. The defense is assessed by the thesis committee, and students must pass the defense to pass the final semester of WRIT 6000.

Based on the defense, the committee may require the student to complete further work and revisions. When the final project has been approved, the committee will sign the thesis signature page.

Students submit one copy of the final thesis to the department to be bound and become part of the university’s thesis archive. The formatting of this copy must be approved by the Department Chair.

Part 4: Prepare the Approved Thesis

Students work with the Adviser to determine the final form of the thesis.

Manuscripts should adhere to the following style and formatting guidelines:

  • double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font
  • left margin = 1.5"
  • other margins (top, right, and bottom) = 1"
  • page numbers = placed in a header, top right, ½" from the top, numeral only
  • front matter included

Submit an electronic copy of the manuscript, including front matter, in one document to the thesis adviser. The adviser will review the formatting and alert the student to any necessary changes.

Once the manuscript has been approved by the adviser, the student will

  • submit an electronic copy for the department’s digital archive
  • submit to ProQuest and NSUWorks
  • print the complete manuscript, including front matter with original signatures, single-sided on white 100% cotton fiber paper for the library’s archive

Students may submit an additional manuscript, including front matter and original signatures, and a check for the total amount. Interested students should ask the department for current pricing information. All manuscripts should be submitted at the same time.

Thesis Schedule

  1. Thesis Project Approval Form due to Adviser = semester prior to beginning WRIT 6000
  2. Completed Thesis due to Adviser = October 15 (fall defense); March 15 (winter defense)
  3. Thesis Defense = November 1–15 (fall defense); April 1–15 (winter defense)
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