Thesis Guidelines

The MA thesis will present an original argument of 40-60 pages anchored in research. MA and MAT students are required to take six thesis hours. These should be taken after or near completion of all other degree requirements (so after you finish all or most of your coursework). There are two different ways to take thesis hours. If you want to take all six at once, you must have completed the Thesis Topic Approval form and turned it in to me along with your thesis proposal before beginning thesis hours. If you'd like to split the thesis hours up into two semesters, then the attached form is due with the thesis proposal by the end of your first semester of thesis hours. Exam hours work in the same way, except that you must split the hours into two semesters and you will fill out the Thesis Exam Approval form instead of the Thesis Topic Approval form. 

In order to register for thesis hours, please have your chair email me her or his permission. If you want to take all six thesis hours at once, remember that you must have already turned in the form and thesis proposal. However you are taking your thesis hours, you must at least have your thesis chair in place beforehand. Once I receive the email from your chair, I will register you myself for the amount of thesis hours you want to take. 

How do you find a chair? Schedule an appointment with the professor(s) who you believe will be the most helpful to your research and meet with her/him to discuss your work. Please be courteous – don't ask in class or in a casual setting. Take this request seriously; I know the professors do.

How do you get committee members? And what, exactly, are they? I'm glad you asked. Your committee is comprised of three members; your committee chair and two readers. Your chair is the committee member who will work the most closely with you, establishing deadlines and giving you feedback on your thesis as you work on it. The other two members are your readers – they'll give you comments, but will be less involved in the actual crafting process. It's a good idea to take classes with as many different professors as possible so that you can get to know them. When you're ready to choose your committee, set up a meeting with your prospective committee members. 

Advice I hear from graduating MA students time and time again is that you should be thinking right from your first class what you might want to do for your thesis. Collect books, authors, and bibliographies that will help you draft the thesis. Hold on to your papers so that you can mine them for ideas. All thesis projects should be considered in consultation with your chair.

You should have a good rough draft of the thesis ready by the semester you plan on graduating. The graduation deadlines come up very quickly and there really is not much time to write that final semester. You'll be busy formatting your thesis and fixing your final typos.

Things to consider: you must have an approved Plan of Study on file the semester before (at least!) you plan on graduating.

Your application for degree and Revision to Plan of Study forms are due as stated on the Academic Calendar, generally close to the start of the semester.

Check out the quick reference guide and detailed reference guide for more information on these deadlines and the thesis process.

Below is a list of graduation deadlines, be sure to check exact dates on Graduate Academic Calendar: 

These procedures must be completed before the thesis is turned in.

All thesis deadlines must be discussed in consultation with your committee chair.

  • Draft of entire thesis to Thesis Committee Chair—2 months prior to Thesis deadline
  • Committee Chair Final Review—4 weeks prior to Thesis deadline
  • Committee Review of revised draft—4 weeks prior to Thesis deadline
  • Dept. Chair Review—2 weeks prior to Thesis deadline
  • Dean Review—1 week prior to Thesis deadline

Check out the thesis formatting video tutorials online. These will help you format your thesis. Remember that you'll need to check your thesis formatting with the Graduate College before turning it in - it's also very important to have the signature page checked for formatting before you send it around for signatures. Send it to for a formatting check.

Follow all instructions on Degree Completion as described by the Graduate College. Also, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines

The Registrar's Office will send you an email with information on how to collect your graduation tickets. You must remember to RSVP as soon as possible - if you wait too long, tickets may run out. You can find more information from the Registrar's Office.

Fall 2017 MA deadlines – also see Graduate College deadlines



Plan of Study

After 15 credit hours (no later than 12/15/17)

Application for degree

Friday 1/26

Submit thesis electronically for complementary review to

Recommended Deadline: Monday 2/19

Revision to Plan of Study

Monday 2/19

Draft of thesis to committee (you will use your committee members' comments to make final revisions)

Monday 2/19 – please note that this date is a suggestion and should be discussed with your committee members.

Committee review of revised draft (this is when you collect signatures from the committee – your signature page must be approved and on bond paper. You'll have two weeks to collect committee signatures and make any final formatting revisions)

Friday 3/2 – be sure to have your signature page checked by the Graduate College (email before you have it signed by your committee. I recommend having it checked at least a week before this date. You'll also need to have the Transmittal Memo signed by your chair.

Department Chair Review (be sure to give the chair a copy of your final, formatted thesis for review)

Friday 3/23 – thesis is on regular paper, signature page is on bond paper, include the Transmittal Memo

Dean Review (be sure to give the Dean a copy of your final, formatted thesis for review)

Friday 3/30 – thesis is on regular paper, signature page is on bond paper, include the Transmittal Memo

Last day to submit completed master's thesis (printed on draft paper) to the Graduate College for approval. Signed signature page(s) printed on bond paper must be included with the thesis along with the Transmittal Memo

Monday 4/9

Last day to submit final manuscript package to the Graduate College

Monday 4/23

Last day to upload electronic thesis or dissertation to the FAU library

Monday  4/23


Thursday 5/3 & Friday 5/4