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Master Thesis

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A Master's Thesis (HST 701)

Some students may choose to emphasize the research element of their programs by writing a master's thesis. The thesis is a 3 credit project for those matriculated before Summer 09, a 6 credit project after that.  As a 6 credit project it should be spread out over at least 2 semesters.  Students who choose to do a thesis must have a 3.8 GPA or the written permission of both the first and second reader.  Students who are approved for a 6 credit thesis can eliminate 1 elective from their course of study.  Thesis is graded and a B grade is necessary for fulfilling the requirements of the MA.  If the readers cannot come to an agreement about the grade, the Graduate Committee will mediate. Students who earn an A or A- will have their theses bound in the library.  Those students must submit three copies of the final revised version in the correct format.

Obviously, a thesis is a major undertaking and will require some advanced planning on your part.  It is not a project that can be developed quickly or on the spur of the moment.  A master's thesis involves extensive research on a clearly defined and limited topic. It also includes a clear sense of where your original research into primary sources fits into the larger historiography of your topic.


EXPECTATIONS and CONTRACT for History 701 (Thesis)

Student must fulfill the following:

  • Have a 3.8 GPA or a letter from both their first and second reader explaining why the student should undertake a thesis.
  • Ask two faculty to serve who are appropriate for your topic (if you do not know who to ask please ask the graduate director for advice).
  • Present to these readers a thesis proposal (in writing) and a list of possible primary sources prior to signing the contract.
  • Finalize the project’s parameters with readers prior to signing the contract
  • Meet regularly throughout the semester/summer with the first reader
  • Submit drafts (number specified by the first reader) of the thesis to the first reader.
  • Submit a full draft to both readers in plenty of time for revisions prior to the filing deadline.
  • Organize a thesis defense with both readers with plenty of time for revisions.
  • Make final revisions and turn in a clean copy to the readers for final approval prior to the filing deadline.
  • Prepare the final copy according to the guidelines issued by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research (available from the Graduate Director) if the thesis is given an A or A-.  The history department secretary will arrange for copying and binding of three copies.


Faculty readers must fulfill the following:

  • The first reader must provide clear grading criteria prior to signing the contract.
  • The first reader must approve the project proposal and make any changes in writing prior to signing the contract.
  • The first reader will advise/approve of primary sources available to the student prior to signing the contract.
  • The first reader will return drafts of the thesis in time for the student to make any needed revisions in order to graduate at the agreed date.
  • The second reader will approve the proposal and primary sources prior to signing the contract.
  • The second reader will return the final draft of the thesis in time for the student to make revisions.
  • Both readers will approve the final revisions, decide on a grade and sign the finished copies if the grade is an A or A-.  The grade will be submitted to the Graduate Director.

Last Updated 7/21/10


Our sincere congratulations to Matty Lynn Kuhar who won the 2016 School of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Award!

Dr. Alison Parker has been invited to be this year's Harriet Jacobs Lecturer at Purdue University. Her talk is entitled Mary Church Terrell, Black Women, and the Rise of the Democratic Party. 

Dr. Nishiyama has been invited to give a talk (title "Kamikaze Technology and Culture for War: Japan and the USA, 1941-2001") at the RIT.

Dr. Alison Parker facilitated significant donation of historical papers to Oberlin College and participates in its celebratory symposium on the life of racial justice advocate Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954).

Congratulations to Dr. Jose R. Torre on winning the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching!


History Forum will host Region 11&12 Meeting of the Association of Public Historians of New York State, on 4/30 (Saturday, from 9am to about 4pm) at McCue Auditorium (LAB104).

History Department Graduation Ceremony will be held in New York Room, Cooper Hall, at 10:30 am, May 14 (Saturday).