The MA Thesis And MA Thesis Defense

The MA Thesis

The MA thesis should demonstrate a student's ability to (1) identify and develop a substantive research question; and (2) apply appropriate methodological tools to this question.  Length, style, and scientific rigor ordinarily resemble manuscripts suitable for publication in a social science journal.  The thesis is supervised and approved by a two-person faculty committee (see MA Committee).

MA Thesis Defense

The student must successfully defend the thesis before the MA degree will be granted. The MA thesis defense occurs at a meeting of the entire MA thesis committee. This meeting serves as a forum for formal approval of the thesis and provides an opportunity for the committee to discuss student's future plan of study and research.

Before the MA Thesis defense, the student must submit a Masters Defense Thesis Scheduling Form to the Graduate Program Advisor, apply for the MA Degree and obtain their MA warrant from the Sociology Graduate Program Advisor (see "MA Degree Request and Defense Scheduling").  There may be cases in which it is expedient for the student to defend their thesis prior to the quarter in which they will apply for the degree. In such cases, the student must see the Graduate Program Advisor to discuss options for the warrant and other defense related paperwork.

At the conclusion of the defense, the thesis may be approved in its current form or approved contingent on further revision.  If extensive revisions are necessary, an additional meeting may be held at the Chair's discretion.  If the defense is successful, the members of the MA committee sign the warrant.  The signed warrant is returned to the Graduate Program Advisor.  Additionally, the Graduate Program Advisor will coordinate the signing of the "Master's Supervisory Committee Approval Form" on behalf of the student.  Once the MA thesis is approved (including all final edits), the members of the MA committee inform the Graduate Program Advisor to releast the "Master's Supervisory Committee Approval Form" to the student.  The student then electroniclally submits this form to the Graduate School, along with their thesis.  The student also needs to finish required submissions to the department as well.  See details on the degree request page and the degree completion page.

Graduate School requirements

Once approved, the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School using their procedures and guidelines. Check out both of these web pages.

  • "Thesis/Dissertation" Graduate School web page.
  • "Final Submission of Your Electronic Thesis or Dissertation (ETD)" Graduate School web page.  On this page there is a link to the required formatting of the title page, and another link to formatting guidelines and suggestions..
  • Note that the Title Page has specific guidelines for formatting.
  • Departmental required formatting guidelines:
    • The Title Page should be formatted just as it is for the Graduate School.
    • 1 inch margins all the way around (for binding reasons).