Theses and Dissertations

The thesis or dissertation must demonstrate the following abilities:
  • Conceive and develop an original research problem
  • Theoretically express the research problem
  • Develop alternative methods for testing logically generated hypotheses
  • Gather, compile, and statistically analyze data
  • Demonstrate rational decisions regarding the resolution of the research problem
  • Ability to make recommendations for future research
  • Conform to Format and Style Guidelines of the Office of Graduate Studies

A thesis or dissertation proposal may be required by the department. If the research involves human participants or animals, the student must obtain approval from the Institutional Review Board

Some theses may involve original critical work on a particular topic: historical period, literary work, etc. Under certain circumstances, extensive use of library materials or secondary research sources may meet the research requirement for the paper. In certain academic areas, creative projects may be acceptable provided the projects meet program requirements and are approved by the student's examining committee and the Graduate Dean. 

Non-text-based theses (examples: art portfolios, software projects, etc.) should be accompanied by documents that evaluate the process and outcome of the project (influences, methodology, program notes etc.), using whatever information is appropriate to the discipline. 

Students should consult with their advisors to discuss which methods are acceptable and work closely with all members of their examining committee throughout the entire process.

Evaluation and Defense

A final oral comprehensive examination, often referred to as a defense, must be successfully completed. The student's examining committee sets the date, time and place for this examination. All members of the examining committee should be given copies of the thesis/dissertation with sufficient time prior to the oral examination to review the paper. Only after the candidate passes the oral examination and if the paper meets acceptable standards of quality should the committee sign the Endorsement/Signature page of the thesis/dissertation.

After the candidate has met all degree requirements to the satisfaction of the committee, the  Recommendation for Awarding the Degree Form  will be signed by all members of the examining committee and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies before the semester due date.