Thesis Track

M.A. Thesis Track

Students who wish to write a thesis apply for the thesis track, typically at the benning of their second semester in the GPGS. Acceptance into this track is a two-step process consisting, first, of the evaluation of a student's potential for writing a thesis after the submission of the "Thesis Intention" form and, second, evaluation of a student's thesis proposal at the official proposal defense. Satisfying the graduation requirements of this track typically requires four semesters. Entry into the thesis track can be initiated after the second semester, but this will likely prolong a student's time in the GPGS. Thesis-track graduation requirements are; 1) accumulation of 30 course credits; 2) continuous registration in "Research Guidance" (0 credit) under the name of the student's advisor from the first semester until the graduating semester; 3) submission of a Master's thesis. In the semester of intended graduation, students should register for "Thesis Seminar" (4 credits) and "Master's Thesis" (0 credits).

Overview  The thesis track enables a student to pursue independent research under the supervision of a faculty member. The final result should be a paper that makes an original contribution to knowledge in a designated academic discipline.

The Thesis  The thesis is an argument supported by primary data, and/or secondary data to which an original methodology/interpretation is applied that is positioned in and makes a contribution to a debate in a scholarly discipline. A thesis paper is typically 40–60 pages in length.

Seeking an Advisor  In the semester of intended application to the thesis track, students need to obtain the signature of their advisor who is willing to guide the students in developing a thesis proposal and then supervise the research and writing of the thesis. Should students find a professor other than their current advisor better suited for supervision, students can ask their preferred professor to become a new advisor and, upon the professor's agreement, inform the GPGS office of the change.

Developing a Thesis Proposal  Student work with their advisors to develop a thesis proposal.  Students should consult their advisors early in the semester in which they intend to defend the thesis proposal.

Defending the Thesis Proposal  The thesis proposal is defended orally in front of the student's degree area faculty. A student who successfully defends the proposal is then officially on the thesis track. A student whose proposal is rejected stays on the credit track until graduation. As there is no option for resubmission of a rejected proposal, the faculty does not provide detailed comments on failed proposals.

Forming a Thesis Committee  Once students have successfully defended the thesis proposal, a committee consisting of the advisor and two readers will be formed. The designation of the two readers is at the discretion of each advisor, in consultation with the students.

Typical Thesis Track Schedule

Semester 1
  1. attend "Thesis Track Guidance"
Semester 2
  1. submit"Thesis Intention"form
  2. Evaluation criteria are:
    • –overall quality
    • –availability of a mentor
    • –academic performance (min. 3.5 GPA on at least 8 credit hours of coursework)
  3. notification of evaluation result
  4. develop thesis proposal
  5. defend thesis proposal at the end of the semester

Semester 3 begin research and writing of thesis
Semester 4
  1. thesis outline due before classes start
  2. register for "Thesis Seminar" (4 credits) and "Master's Thesis" (0 credits)
  3. submit thesis draft
  4. revise thesis
  5. submit final draft
  6. defend thesis

For the dates of c, d, e and f above, please see the Academic Calendar.


Students may apply to enter the thesis track regardless of whether they ticked "credit track" or "thesis track" on their GPGS application form.

Application Procedure  The Thesis Track Intention Form can be obtained from the GPGS office. It requires the student to write a short description of the intended thesis topic and question and obtain the signature of the faculty member whom the student wishes to be the thesis advisor. The application form (hard copy) must be submitted to the GPGS office by 5:00 p.m. on the last day of classes in the semester (i.e. the last day of classes before final exams begin). Students will be notified of the evaluation results before the subsequent semester starts.

Evaluation Criteria  Evaluation to enter the thesis track is based on three criteria:

1. GPA  A minimum 3.5 GPA based on at least 8 credits of coursework.

2. Quality of proposal  The possibility for the topic to be developed into a thesis, and the student's capacity for doing so.

 3. Availability of mentor  The presence of a faculty member willing to supervise the topic. In selecting a topic, students should consider the specializations of faculty members. (Students should also consult with a potential mentor about their schedule of sabbatical or leave of absence and must ensure that s/he is available for both your proposal and thesis defenses.)