Guidelines M.A. Thesis

General guidelines for writing an M.A. Thesis in History.

The M.A. Thesis is a culminating research project which will demonstrate the student’s mastery of historical research methods. It should present an original argument that is carefully documented from primary and secondary sources. The thesis should represent a contribution to the field and be of a quality suitable for submission to an academic publication.


The M.A. Thesis Must Demonstrate

  • An in-depth knowledge of the issues and historical literature in the chosen topic
  • An ability to critically assess historical sources
  • An ability to construct a sustained, long-form argument
  • The ability to communicate her/his ideas in writing in a clear and coherent manner


The M.A. Thesis Should Include

  • An explanation of the significance of the work, the methodology to be employed, and the original and substantially unique historical or historiographical argument that will be proven
  • Formal and proper academic citation of primary and secondary sources both as footnotes and in a separate bibliography
  • A minimum length of 60 pages (approximately 15,000 words)


Oral Defense

  • The student schedules an oral defense of his/her M.A. thesis together with the M.A. Thesis committee. The committee consists of two graduate faculty members of the History Department and one graduate faculty member from another Department
  • During the oral defense, committee members ask follow up questions and discuss possible revisions to the thesis
  • When scheduling the oral defense, students and M.A. committee members must be aware of the the deadline for submitting the M.A. thesis online to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies and allow for some time to complete revisions and formatting of the M.A. thesis
  • Following the satisfactory defense of the M.A. thesis, the committee members sign the thesis approval form. The thesis approval form is available from the Program Assistant and needs to be completed (title, date, names of committee members) before the oral defense. A copy of the signed approval form needs to be provided to the Director of Graduate Studies. The student is responsible for submitting the original thesis approval form to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies