Thesis/Project Option

This option entails either a written thesis, or some other final project in the form of a museum exhibit, website, documentary, or other innovative presentation of extensive research based on primary and secondary sources.  In any case the project must have a clear and prominent written component.

In preparation for the thesis/project, in Semester II the student and the advisor constitute a faculty committee to supervise the work, and the student submits a signed MA Program/Committee Form to the DGS, as well as the research prospectus to the faculty committee.  With the committee's approval, the DGS forwards the prospectus to the GSC for final approval.  The prospectus should be a description of the thesis/project and should include statements of goals, historiographical significance, theoretical approach, and originality.  It must also include a tentative outline and a bibliography (and/or discussion of the sources available).  Excluding the bibliography and title page, the thesis/project prospectus should be a least 5 pages in length, but this is ultimately a matter to be determined by the student and committee in consultation.  Students are encouraged to examine copies of recent prospectuses on file in the department office.

Six semester hours of course credit in HST 700 are required to complete the thesis or project, with an oral examination (defense) upon completion.  The department strongly encourages students and their advisors to plan students' schedules so as to allow them to take all six Thesis/Project Hours in Semester IV, or their final semester of full-time enrollment.

The written thesis typically will consist of a minimum of 50 double-spaced pages or the equivalent.  The project is expected to include a considerable written component, the content and dimensions of which are to be determined by the student and committee in consultation.  In preparing the written component of the thesis/project, the student should follow The Chicago Manual of Style and the Graduate School's Thesis and Dissertation Guide.

The oral defense of the thesis or the project consists of a one-hour (minimum) oral presentation and discussion of the completed thesis/project before the members of the student's committee.  The date set for the defense must take into account (1) the department's requirement that the final draft of the thesis/project must be submitted to the faculty committee at least three weeks before the scheduled defense date; (2) an indeterminate time interval needed after the defense to make any revisions requested by members of the faculty committee, and (3) the Graduate School's deadline for approval and electronic submission of theses/projects (deadline dates are published on the Graduate School website).

Written components of the thesis/project must be submitted to the Graduate School electronically with specific formatting.  Students are strongly encouraged to consult the Graduate School's website for detailed information on formatting requirements.  Failure to submit the thesis with proper formatting can lead to delays in awarding the degree.


  • Students in both the Thesis/Project and Examination options are required to produce a prospectus of the final product in HST 602 during Semester II.
  • Students pursuing the Thesis/Project Option must take HST 700 in the final regular semester before the intended defense date.
  • Oral examination (defense) is required for both the thesis/project and examinations.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style is the preferred departmental style for all work submitted by students.