The thesis requirement comprises 6 credit hours.
The M.A. student must complete all course work (with a GPA of at least 3.0), pass
the comprehensive examination, and fulfill the language requirement before enrolling
in the six credit hour Thesis Research course. No one is allowed to do a thesis on
a topic whose major texts are in a language in which the student has not attained
The student should think of the Masters Thesis as a potentially publishable journal
article-one that is, however, somewhat longer than a typical politics journal would
publish. It should have a clearly articulated, original argument. The body of the
thesis should engage appropriate primary and secondary literature on the topic. The
length should be between 13,000 and 20,000 words (including notes, but excluding bibliography).
That would be about 45 to 70 pages, double spaced. Theses shorter or longer than that
will generally not be accepted. The student must include an abstract of the argument
(100 to 150 words). The thesis must adhere to The Chicago Manual of Style or Turabian's Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, To see what the use of this style looks like in the context of a journal article,
consult The Review of Politics.
The Thesis Committee consists of a First and Second Reader. It is the student´s responsibility
to find two Politics professors who regard the topic as appropriate, and who believe
that the student is capable of writing competently on it. Students are encouraged
to discuss their plans with their proposed Readers well before they begin the Thesis
Research course. They should work with a potential First Reader in selecting an appropriate
topic and in preparing the thesis proposal.
The formal proposal should be 2 to 3 pages, with a bibliography. The proposal should
sketch (1) the topic of the thesis, (2) the main arguments that are likely to be made
in it, and (3) the main sources of supporting evidence. The bibliography should give
the primary sources and demonstrate a knowledge of some of the principal secondary
literature on the topic. After the two Readers have approved the proposal, the student
should submit the proposal, together with a Master's Thesis Proposal Approval form, to the Program Director. If the Director and Graduate Dean approve the Thesis Proposal,
the Dean will then officially appoint the student's Thesis Committee.
An electronic version of the final, approved copy of the thesis must be submitted
to both Readers and to the Politics Graduate Director. A printed version goes to the
Graduate Office. Further details on preparing this copy are here.