Writing a good thesis begins with the formulation of a critical or analytical question or questions. It should demonstrate an understanding of the historiography of the issue or question, and the student’s use and understanding of primary resources as appropriate in the chosen thesis field. It should be the well-written product of critical analysis. Given the differences among fields of study, the precise nature and length of an acceptable thesis ranges widely and ultimately must be determined in consultation with the student’s thesis adviser. As a rule of thumb, however, M.A. theses should not be longer than 100 pages. The thesis should be submitted in the form prescribed in the Chicago Manual of Style, latest edition, and in accordance with the guidelines provided by the graduate program. Students should obtain those guidelines at the beginning of the thesis process, in order to avoid problems later. The Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation Manual should be obtained from their office or downloaded from their Web site for instructions for final submission. It should be noted that History Department prefers the Chicago Manual of Style formatting and has obtained permission for theses to be acceptable in that format. Chapter(s) should be submitted to the thesis adviser on a periodic basis.
At the beginning of fall and spring semesters, the thesis editor presents workshops to inform graduate students about procedures, deadlines, and requirements associated with preparing a thesis. Attendance is strongly suggested.
Graduate Studies has more information about thesis requirements, policies and deadlines.
UCF offers an academic calendar.
Some helpful Web sites to visit BEFORE starting your thesis:
- How To Write A Dissertation or Bedtime Reading For People Who Do Not Have Time To Sleep, an extensive set of hints and ideas on how to improve your dissertation/thesis writing, http://www.cs.purdue.edu/homes/dec/essay.dissertation.html
- Electronic Theses and Dissertations in the Humanities, serves as a clearinghouse for online information related to electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) in the humanities, http://etext.virginia.edu/ETD/
- How to Be a Good Graduate Student/Advisor, maintained by Computer Science & Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and also the Computer Science Department at Indiana University Bloomington, http://www.cs.indiana.edu/how.2b/how.2b.html
- How to Organize your Thesis, a step-by-step guide to graduate research, written by Professor John W. Chinneck at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, http://www.sce.carleton.ca/faculty/chinneck/thesis.html
The purpose of the thesis defense is to provide students with the opportunity to show the committee their command of the subject of the thesis and to ensure that the meets the highest professional standards. The committee’s purpose is to help you to identify weaknesses and points of improvement so you will be able to polish your thesis and finish your degree requirements. The thesis defense meeting allows the concerns of committee members to surface in an atmosphere where opposing views can be discussed and resolved. It also allows the student to address and respond to these concerns. We believe the thesis defense is an integral part of the learning process and we encourage a seminar atmosphere where the exchange of ideas is valued. Candidates are expected to prepare brief oral presentations after which the committee will ask questions and present comments.
Students, faculty, staff, and other interested parties are strongly encouraged to attend thesis final defense sessions. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange a date for their thesis defense with committee members. Students must then notify the Graduate Program Assistant of that date and provide her with a brief description (not more than one page, single spaced) of their thesis. The Graduate Program Assistant will arrange for a location.