Students electing to complete an MA thesis will select a thesis advisor in the first semester of their second year. In consultation with that advisor, the student will select a thesis committee consisting of a chair and two members of the SPCS faculty. If appropriate, one or more members may be selected from other department or schools, but the majority must still be SPCS faculty. The student’s advisor will serve as chair of the thesis committee and must have at least A-2 graduate faculty status. The other two members must have at least A-1 graduate faculty status.

The thesis topic should be one that will further the student's educational development and enable the student to pursue independent research. The thesis topic is formulated by the student in consultation with the student's advisor and MA Advisory Committee. A Notification of Approved Thesis Topic form must be signed by the advisor and the Graduate Studies Coordinator and then submitted to the Office of Graduate Affairs of the College of Arts & Sciences no later than the semester preceding that in which the student expects to receive the MA degree. The thesis must be completed and submitted to the MA committee no later than eight weeks before commencement.

All students writing a thesis must file two final, letter-perfect copies of the thesis with the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences, according to the deadlines listed in the current catalog. It must be accompanied by two copies of an abstract of no more than 400 words. The thesis must be prepared according to the guidelines of the current Style Guide and Instructions for Typing Theses and Dissertations, also available at the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences. (For details see the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences.)

MA candidates pursuing the thesis option are required to pass a final oral examination. The oral MA thesis examination will focus on, but not be limited to, a defense of the MA thesis. The student’s MA Advisory Committee serves as the examining committee. The student’s advisor serves as moderator for the examination.

Passing the oral defense requires a simple majority vote of the committee. At the conclusion of the examination, the committee signs the Report of Final Examination form and returns it to the Graduate Coordinator for signature by the SPCS Director. The Graduate Coordinator then forwards the form to the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences.