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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


Department hosts NEH Workshop, Rochester Reform Trail, for K-12 teachers in July 2014

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Dr. Ken O'Brien has been named a SUNY Provost Fellow for the 2013-2014 year.

Dr. Bruce Leslie has been made a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor.




The Robert Marcus lecture will be on Thursday, March 6, at 7:30 pm in the New York Room in Cooper Hall.