Students may enroll in MLS 690 Thesis Project after they have completed 10 courses (40 semester hours).
The thesis project focuses on a significant question which integrates ideas studied during the course of the MLS program. Projects may take the form of traditional research studies that utilize primary and secondary sources, or they may be nontraditional studies, such as creative or applied works. Studies of a nontraditional nature must be supplemented by an essay that sets forth their critical bases and connects them with a concept or argument developed in the program.
All matriculated students must complete a thesis project prior to graduation. The exact nature of that project is determined by the student in consultation with the director and a faculty mentor. The thesis project must be carefully designed and researched, and it must reflect the philosophy of the MLS program and relate to the courses the student has taken.
Because the thesis project is a time-consuming enterprise, students should consider selecting their topics and consulting with prospective mentors well in advance of the term in which they intend to graduate. Each summer, the director meets with all students who are eligible to graduate during the coming academic year, and together they identify an appropriate thesis project and a faculty member who might serve as a mentor.
The student and the faculty mentor work together to design a detailed thesis project proposal and to select a second faculty reader for the thesis. After the mentor and student have completed the thesis proposal, the second reader will review it. He or she may suggest changes to the proposal and must sign the final proposal to indicate approval. The second reader will have an initial meeting with the student and mentor, review the student’s progress on the first two chapters (or equivalent), read the final draft, and join the student and mentor for a final meeting that will be called the defense.
Thesis project proposals must be submitted to the director by August 1 for fall term or October 15 for spring term. Students and their mentors will be notified prior to the beginning of the term if the thesis project proposal is acceptable or if changes are required. After a proposal has been approved, substantive changes can be made only if the director consents.
Students who finish all classes but who have not completed the thesis requirement by the end of the summer after taking MLS 690 must register and pay for MLS 691 Thesis Extension (at the billing rate of two credits) in the fall. Continuous enrollment in MLS 691, during the fall and spring terms only, is expected until the thesis is completed. It is the student’s responsibility to submit the required registration and payment for MLS 691, as applicable, each term. Thesis students seeking an exception to the continuous-enrollment policy may request up to a one-year leave of absence from the program. This appeal must be submitted in writing and approved by the director of the MLS program in order to be in effect. The director reserves the right to have students who prolong the thesis requirement to reregister for the Thesis and resubmit a thesis proposal. In all cases, students must complete the thesis requirement by the seventh year in the MLS program.