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Thesis Proposal & Thesis Resources

Thesis Models

Students electing the Thesis Option must select from among two thesis project models and are required to complete a thesis project appropriate to their concentration. Dual concentration students may choose to focus on only one of their concentrations for the thesis, or combine the two disciplines in some way.

Students writing the Alternative Thesis generally complete their work in one semester while taking English 6973. Students choosing the Traditional Thesis should note that this option could likely take longer than one semester.

A. Traditional Thesis

The first thesis model option is a traditional thesis: an independent project that demonstrates mastery of both the subject matter and the written discourse of the discipline and results in an original manuscript of approximately 60 pre-formatted pages plus bibliography.

To pursue this option, students develop an acceptable thesis project and prepare a proposal in accordance with program guidelines, consisting of a 1000-word proposal and an annotated bibliography.

B. Alternative Thesis

The second thesis model option is a professional paper that demonstrates mastery of both the subject matter and the written discourse of the discipline and results in an original manuscript of approximately 30 pre-formatted pages plus bibliography. Depending on the student's chosen concentration and project, this professional paper will take the form of one of the following:

  1. Academic Journal Article (30 pages)
  2. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Article (30 pages)
  3. Policy Paper
  4. Public or Professional Project

After completion of the alternative thesis the student will present his or her work at a department-sponsored colloquium.

Thesis Proposal Workshop / Declaration of Intent

Students planning to take the thesis option will attend a mandatory thesis proposal workshop in the semester before they plan to take 6973. During that semester, they should also read and sign the Declaration of Intent document for the thesis and turn it in to their coordinator.

Declaration of Intent Form for Thesis.pdf


Alternative Thesis Proposal

Alternative Thesis Proposal Cover Sheet and Instructions.pdf

  • Requirements and form for submitting your alternative thesis proposal to your concentration coordinator

Alternative Thesis Format

  • Requirements for formatting your alternative thesis

Traditional Thesis Proposal

  • Requirements for submitting your thesis proposal to the Graduate Committee and the forms needed for submission

Sample Thesis Proposals

Thesis Proposal Sample Archive

  • Sample thesis proposals for each concentration

The Genre of the Thesis Proposal

A thesis proposal identifies a research problem or question. Its function is to argue that the project is worth doing in terms of contributing to disciplinary knowledge and that a solution or answer can be found using the methods specified.

To meet these goals, a proposal usually contains the following parts:

  1. Establishing the background and context of the research problem or question
  2. Explaining the problem, issue, or question set within the context of the field
  3. Defining key terms
  4. Showing that the proposal writer is familiar with the relevant literature
  5. Explaining the approach, theory, or method that will be used
  6. Describing a likely structure for the final product


from Writing the Successful Thesis and Dissertation: Entering the Conversation by Irene L. Clark. (2007)

Thesis Certification Process

The thesis certification process is now digital and thesis consultations are available through Zoom. Please consult the Graduate Studies website to learn about this process.

Thesis Format and Submission Workshops

  • Very helpful workshops offered by the Graduate Studies Office.

Thesis Filing Deadline Dates

  • These are the dates set by the Graduate Studies Office for filing of your thesis.