Theses are required for some masters’ programs. After approval by the thesis committee and the department chair, all theses are submitted to the Library for binding and/or for cataloging. Only after the Library accepts the thesis and provides the student with the necessary acceptance letter for the Office of Records and Registration may the degree be granted. There is a $25 binding fee for M.A. and M.S. theses and a $10 fee for M.F.A. theses, which become part of the permanent collection and do not circulate. The procedure must be completed before awarding the degree. Guidelines for the submission of a master’s thesis to the Sojourner Truth Library are available on the Library’s web site:

Basic Requirements for Theses

  1. Thesis Basics
    1. A thesis is generally intended to be a capstone experience for graduate students.
    2. Theses involving the participation of or the collection of data from or about human subjects require prospective review and approval by the Human Research Ethics Review Board (HREB) prior to recruitment of or interaction with human subjects. An application must be submitted to the HREB in a time frame that allows adequate time for review and approval prior to the anticipated start of the research project.
    3. Each program must develop its own written thesis guidelines, which it should disseminate to students and faculty systematically and clearly. These guidelines must be reviewed by the Graduate Council and should be consistent with the basic requirements described below.
    4. Graduate programs can:
      1. Require a thesis of all students
      2. Make a thesis optional for all students
      3. Not offer a thesis
  2. Thesis Credits and Registration
    1. The Office of Graduate, Professional & Interdisciplinary Studies permits theses of 3 or 6 credits.
    2. Each program determines which of these credit options are available to its students.
    3. Each program must have a clear procedure that indicates when a student is eligible to register for a thesis. Further, programs must differentiate requirements for completing thesis course requirements from requirements for completing the thesis itself.
  3. Thesis Advising
    1. A thesis adviser is required for every thesis.
    2. Each program must clearly inform students how to solicit and select a thesis adviser.
    3. In some programs, advisers may be assigned to students. In others, students may solicit advisers.
    4. If a student encounters difficulty obtaining a thesis adviser, the department chair and program/graduate coordinator must work with the student to resolve the issue.
  4. Thesis Committees and Oral Defenses
    1. The incorporation of thesis committees and oral defenses of the thesis are up to individual programs.
    2. The composition of a thesis committee (if any) and the planning, meeting, and review/defense schedules pertaining to the thesis are at the discretion of individual programs. These details must be communicated in writing, in a timely fashion, to the student, the adviser, the department chair, and filed with the Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate, Professional & Interdisciplinary Studies.
  5. Thesis Grading
    1. Theses are graded using traditional A-F letter grades.
    2. Thesis advisers assign thesis grades, though it is expected that in doing so they will listen to the input of the thesis committee (in programs where there is one).
  6. Thesis Credits
    1. Students can register for 3 or 6 credits of the thesis at a time; for a 6-credit thesis, students may divide their credits into 3 or 6 credits per term, as necessary.
    2. Thesis credits are graded on an “A-F” basis.
    3. The “H” grade is assigned when the student is making good progress on the thesis but is not finished within the semester the credits were taken.
    4. Students with an “H” grade who are not taking any other classes must register for 1-credit of Continued Registration for every fall and spring semester that follows until the thesis is completed. If the student is working on the thesis during a summer session, the student must register for the 1-credit Continued Registration for that summer session, as well.
  7. Thesis Completion Deadline
    1. Students have until their degree deadline to complete their theses.
    2. Students are urged to work with their advisers to devise a schedule that allows them to complete theses in a reasonable time period. Though individual situations vary, it is anticipated that in most cases the theses will not take more than one academic year to complete.
  8. Thesis Submission and Storage
    1. Theses must be submitted to the library per its submission standards. It is the student’s responsibility to submit the thesis with the original signature page prior to graduation.
    2. Programs should keep their own copies of student theses, or at least have online access to them once the library switches over to electronic thesis submission.
    3. Students and advisers must ensure that any “H” grades are changed to a credit-bearing letter grade; until this is done, the student cannot graduate.