M.A. RPC Thesis & Non-Thesis Options

Master’s Thesis 

Students electing the thesis option complete a master’s thesis on an appropriate topic, chosen in consultation with a thesis director and approved by the thesis committee, which also conducts the oral examination. The committee consists of the director, one other member of the graduate English faculty, and one member of the graduate faculty from outside the department (who generally serves as the representative of the graduate school). Students who write a thesis take an oral exam after obtaining approval on the thesis. The oral examination covers coursework as well as the thesis.

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Master’s Essay

The M.A. Master’s Essay requires revision of a scholarly essay of 25 to 30 pages, the approximate length of a journal article, and reformulation of this essay to the 7 to 8 pages appropriate for presentation at a conference, preferably a department colloquium. In both length and in level of scholarship, the long version of the paper should be modeled after articles published in specific scholarly journals in the field and the abbreviated version should reflect familiarity with conventions of conference presentation. In addition to the primary focus on revision, the process for this project involves research of appropriate publication venues, and a final oral examination of the project as whole. The project’s intent is to demonstrate that the student is able to engage in the process of and produce scholarly work at a level expected by the profession and consistent with the degree program. The oral examination covers coursework as well as the Master Essay. The exam committee consists of the director, one other member of the graduate English faculty, and one member of the graduate faculty from outside the department (who generally serves as the representative of the graduate school).

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Master’s Portfolio

Students electing the portfolio option complete a master’s portfolio, which should provide an introductory essay and representative documents to illustrate communication expertise. Students who develop a portfolio take an oral exam after obtaining approval on the portfolio. The oral examination covers coursework as well as the portfolio. The exam committee consists of the director, one other member of the graduate English faculty, and one member of the graduate faculty from outside the department (who generally serves as the representative of the graduate school).

Click here for more details about compiling a Master’s Portfolio.

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