ENGL 895: MA Thesis Seminar
The seminar is required in the fall term of the second year for all English Master’s students opting to complete their degree by producing the conventional research-based thesis project in the appropriate sub-field of their choosing. The seminar guides students through the early and foundational phases of producing the Master’s thesis. By the start of the fall term all thesis writers must have chosen a topic and a mentor; they must also have spent the summer doing initial exploratory reading and research in preparation for the work of composing the thesis in the second year. The seminar prepares students for the production of the thesis in the following ways: early in the fall term students will submit a brief, formal thesis proposal to their thesis mentors and the seminar instructor for approval; class time early in the fall will model possible thesis topics, methodologies and strategies for production in a variety of ways, including shared readings on research and writing in interdisciplinary English studies fields, reading actual published projects in a sampling of those fields, and visits by Georgetown English faculty to discuss their own strategies of conceptualization and execution of research projects. Students will also devote time in the course of the term to consulting with Georgetown’s library staff and others qualified to support them in their thesis work. The seminar devotes later weeks in the term to student presentations on their individual research topics; these presentations will prepare students for the oral defense of the thesis scheduled for the spring term of year two, and they will help shape students’ thinking as they prepare to submit the first 20 pages of their thesis to their mentor and the seminar instructor at the end of the fall term. The fall thesis research seminar encourages students taking the thesis option to form an intellectual and scholarly community devoted to an ethic of collaboration and mutual support, and to sustain that community for their entire second year in the program.