The Thesis

The thesis demonstrates a student’s ability to create historical scholarship that integrates both primary and secondary sources to make a novel argument about the past. All theses involve working with a faculty advisor and at least two additional faculty as thesis committee members.

The thesis can take one of two different forms in the M.A. in Historical Studies program.  The first is a traditional, written thesis of three chapters, ranging between 75 and 125 pages. The other is a project-based public history thesis that includes a substantive writing section examining the historiography of the chosen research topic integrated with the student’s insights but, instead of written chapters, may include a website, exhibition, archival collection, or lesson plan.

Thesis-Related Courses
Students ready to begin work on the thesis should register for 1-3 credits of HIST 799 with the approval of their advisor – this should be done during the semester after the student completes HIST 702. Before registering for a fourth credit of HIST 799, students must have chosen a thesis committee and submitted a prospectus to said committee. Once their prospectus has been approved, students may register for the final 3 credits of HIST 799.

Important Forms and Deadlines:

Forms Due Dates Notes
Declaration of Thesis Advisor Form Preferably at the end of the second full-time semester.
Prospectus approval form When the prospectus is finished, preferably at the start or mid-point of the third full-time semester.
Application for Graduation Form Fall:
Apply to graduate: July 1 – September 15
Supplemental Application Due: September 30
Apply to Graduate: December 1 – February 15
Supplemental Application Due: March 1
Apply to Graduate: April 1 – June 15
Supplemental Application Due: June 30
Nomination of Committee Form Two months prior to date of defense
Certification of Readiness to Defend the Master’s Thesis Form No later than two weeks prior to the defense
Format the Thesis using the Graduate School’s Thesis Style Guide Fall: Before November 30
Spring: Before May 1
Summer: Before July 31
While a thesis does not need to be formatted until it is submitted to the Graduate School, students are strongly encouraged to adopt the proper formatting when they begin writing to save themselves the added work of having to reformat their thesis after it is finished.
Submit the Thesis Fall: Last day to submit November 30
Spring: Last Day to submit May 1
Summer: Last day to submit July 31
These deadlines indicate the date by which your academically complete document must be submitted to the system. An academically complete document is one to which all thesis committee-ordered revisions have been made.