MA Thesis Guidelines and Deadlines

Note: You must have an updated and approved Plan of Study on file the semester before you plan on graduating (at the latest).

In order to register for thesis hours, your thesis chair will need to email graduate advisor Erin Kiley ( permission to enroll you in AML/ENG/ENL/ENC/LIT 6971: Master’s Thesis.

The MA thesis will develop an original argument of 40-60 pages anchored in research. Strong MA theses often emerge from coursework papers that are significantly expanded and developed. As you begin this final stage in your MA degree, take some time to look through the work you have done in the program as you consider potential thesis topics. 

The thesis is researched and written over six credits taken after or near the completion of all other coursework. We strongly recommend that MA students take no more than three thesis credit hours per semester, completing the proposal in the first half of the first semester and spending the remainder of that first semester and the second researching and writing the thesis. 

As you consider the formation of your thesis committee, a chair and two readers, take some time to look through the faculty in the department. In some cases, faculty may not have taught a graduate course during your time in the program but may be active researchers in your area of study. 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 may be less involved in the actual crafting process. It's a good idea to talk with your chair and committee members about their expectations for your submission of drafts and their plan for offering feedback. 

Recommended Readings

Booth, Colomb, Williams, eds. The Craft of Research (particularly the chapters “From Topics to Questions,” “Making a Claim and Supporting It,” and “Using Sources”).

da Sousa Correa, Owens, eds. The Handbook to Literary Research (particularly the chapter “Planning, Writing, or Presenting a Dissertation or Thesis”).


Graduate College Deadlines:

NOTE: Thesis manuscripts adhere to specific format requirements set by the Graduate College. You will need to familiarize yourself with the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines. Check out the thesis formatting video tutorials online.

Department and College Deadlines

  • Thesis Committee Final Review—4 weeks prior to Thesis deadline
  • Department Chair Review—2 weeks prior to Thesis deadline
  • College Dean Review—1 week prior to Thesis deadline

Check out the Path Through the MA/MFA Program document for more information on these deadlines and the thesis process.

Spring 2023 Graduation, Thesis, & Exam Deadlines

Requirement Deadline
Approved Plan of Study (POS), including any revisions, on file with the Graduate College  Friday 1/13
Application for Degree Friday 1/27
Signature page draft & defense notification to the Graduate College (online submission here)
** MA students do not complete a thesis defense. Please type in “NA” for questions pertaining to a defense.
Friday 2/3
Draft of thesis to committee (You will use your committee members’ comments to make final revisions.) Monday 2/20 – please note that this date is a suggestion and should be discussed with your committee members. This deadline gives you about a month to make necessary (small) revisions. 
Final Committee Review Monday, 3/13 (four weeks before thesis deadline)
Department Chair Review Monday, 3/27 (two weeks before thesis deadline)
College Dean Review Monday, 4/3 (one week before thesis deadline) 
Thesis defense (MFA students only) 3/13–3/17 and 3/20–3/24
Last day to submit completed master’s thesis (submitted in PDF or Word format) to along with the Transmittal Memorandum* (Note: Extension requests must be submitted no later than 4/3/23 via a Form 10)
** For MA students taking the Comprehensive Exam, the exam will take place this week. The exact dates and times for your exam will be scheduled in consultation with your committee chair.
Monday 4/10
Last day to submit Final Manuscript Package to the Graduate College, including electronic thesis/dissertation (ETD) to the FAU library and ProQuest Publishing Monday 4/24
Commencement (TBA) Thursday 5/4 & Friday 5/5


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.