The Thesis Project
Students completing a thesis project should familiarize themselves with both this webpage and the Graduate School’s webpage on academic resources and policies. They should also be aware that the approval and submission of a thesis is a multi-step process involving both the Department of English and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
All institutional policies, procedures, and academic forms involving thesis submission are available on the Graduate School’s webpage, “Dissertation, Doctoral Project, and Thesis Information.”
Below you will find a detailed breakdown of the preparation involved in beginning serious work on your critical, multimodal, or public outreach thesis project, and on the M.A. Thesis Seminar, as well as submission instructions once your work is complete.
Departmental guidelines on writing the thesis are also described below.
Students should register for the M.A. Thesis Seminar to be taken in their third semester. By the end of their second semester, they must identify a general topic or focus for their thesis project. Around the mid-point of their second semester, students will be asked to submit an informal thesis prospectus that details the interest and scope of the thesis. The Director of Graduate Studies and Program Administrator will use this prospectus to match students with their advisor and second reader. Students should plan to devote the semester break between their second and third semesters to serious preparatory work for their project.
Before you begin writing:
- Download and use the “Guidelines for Dissertation, Doctoral Project, and Thesis Writers” as well as the Thesis Template (Mac and PC versions linked below) to ensure that your formatting is correct.
- Complete and submit the Thesis/Doctoral/Dissertation Proposal Form to the Program Administrator by or before early December of your third semester.
Options for the thesis include critical and scholarly work, as well as multimodal and public outreach projects. The program expects theses to reflect original research, analysis, and writing with considerable depth and complexity appropriate to Master’s level work. As such, scholarly and critical theses should fall between 15,000–22,000 words, where 1 page = approximately 250 words in length. Equivalent in scope to the scholarly and critical thesis, a multimodal, and/or public outreach thesis project should include a written rationale of at least 7,500–10,000 words in length. Most students also build out the latter thesis projects using digital tools; however, the public outreach thesis option does not require previous technical expertise.
Research and design of thesis projects will take up the bulk of the work in the M.A. Thesis Seminar in the fall, including submission of the Thesis Proposal by early December; students are expected to continue working to design and polish their work independently in the spring of year two. Students work with their advisor to complete the thesis by the Department of English and Graduate School deadlines.
Complete first drafts of the thesis are due to both the advisor and the second reader by a date established by the Director of Graduate Studies. Students will also schedule a two-hour thesis defense session with the advisor and second reader. A signed Master’s Thesis Reviewers Report Form should be submitted a week before the scheduled defense to the Program Administrator. More information about the thesis defense will be distributed to students, advisors, and second readers over the weeks leading up to spring break.
The outcome of the thesis defense will determine how much additional work the student will need to do before submitting the final version of the thesis project for approval by the advisor and the program. Students are expected to abide by the University’s honor code and should review the Graduate School’s policies on Academic Integrity.
While the vast majority of M.A. English students will graduate in May, it is possible to submit a thesis and graduate in either August or December. Students must submit the finished thesis to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) only after it has been approved and signed by the thesis advisor. The DGS will not read theses that have not been thoroughly and finally corrected, revised, and approved by the thesis advisor.
Please note: As of April 2020, our department is using an electronic signature platform—DocuSign—for the forms listed below.
After you have completed the final revision:
- Submit your thesis to your advisor and second reader.
- Sign the electronic Master’s Thesis Cover Sheet and Electronic Thesis & Dissertation (ETD) Release Form sent by the Program Manager via DocuSign. Students should determine the deadline of their thesis based on the month in which they wish to graduate.
- Once you have been notified that the DGS has approved your thesis, follow the Graduate School’s procedure for official submission via ProQuest. Please keep in mind that it is necessary to submit your thesis for review in advance of the listed deadline.
The Graduate School meticulously reviews all submitted thesis projects. Students must pay careful attention to grammar, punctuation, spelling, and margins, or the Graduate School may not accept their theses. The final version of the thesis must be proofread carefully in order to pass the Graduate School’s review. Neither the Director of Graduate Studies nor the thesis advisor is responsible for proofreading the thesis.
Please note that this timeline is subject to change as the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences finalizes its schedule for the Fall semester.
Wednesday, October 25th: Students must submit their complete thesis draft to both their advisor and second reader.
Wednesday, November 1st – Wednesday, November 8th: Students must complete their thesis defense. Students should schedule a 90-minute time block with their advisor and second reader, even though the defense may not take all of that time.
Note: One week before their scheduled defense, students must submit their Master’s Thesis Reviewers Report Form to the Program Administrator via DocuSign. After the scheduled defense, the student’s advisor and second reader will complete the Thesis Defense Report Form and submit the form to the Program Administrator via DocuSign.
Second and Third Week of November: Students must complete required revisions to their thesis.
Friday, November 17th: Students must submit their revised thesis to their advisor for feedback in advance of review by the Director of Graduate Studies.
Monday, December 4th: Students must submit the final version of their thesis to the Director of Graduate Studies for review and approval. Upon approval, students will submit the Cover Sheet and Electronic Thesis & Dissertation (ETD) Release Form to the Program Administrator via DocuSign.
In the event that a student cannot meet a posted deadline, they must reach out to the Program Administrator (email@example.com) and the Director of Graduate Studies to request an extension to ensure that they are on track to meet the Graduate School deadline.
Monday, December 11th: The deadline established by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for students to have uploaded their thesis to ProQuest.
In practice, students have developed a wide range of scholarly and critical thesis projects. Here are some ideas, with links to recent theses. If you’d like to view examples of multimodal and/or public outreach projects, continue scrolling to view the section below.
Additional topics can be found via the University’s DigitialGeorgetown repository.
In practice, students have developed a wide range of multimodal and/or public outreach projects. Here are some ideas, with links to recent theses.