Thesis and Professional Paper

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A thesis, required in many master’s degree programs, is the culmination of the student’s independent scholarship or creative achievement in some branch of learning or the arts. The professional paper or project may be prepared in conjunction with a research class or seminar or with certain off-campus activities approved by the committee and terminating in a written presentation which demonstrates the student’s ability to prepare a bibliography, gather data, use original source material, draw conclusions, and present the material in a form which shows adequate command of the English language.

Prospectus approval is required by the Research Committee and the Dean of the Graduate School, prior to the student beginning research for a thesis. However, the prospectus for a professional paper, if prepared, does not need to be filed in the Graduate School.  Both require Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) notification and IRB or IACUC approval if human subjects or animals are involved.

Digital submission of the student's thesis must be completed no later than the filing date listed in the Graduate School's “Graduation Deadlines .’’ A bound copy at the expense of the student, may be required by the student's major department.

All theses are microfilmed by ProQuest. The student pays for this microfilming at the time of completing graduation requirements for submission to the Graduate School. Copyrighting, which remains optional, may be secured during the submission process for an additional fee.  Details concerning the abstracts, microfilming, copyrighting, and their fees are available in the Graduate School.

To secure credit for work done on the thesis or professional paper, the student must register for the appropriate course. When “Thesis’’ appears on the schedule, it will be counted as three semester credit hours in determining both load and tuition and fees. Although no more than six semester credit hours can be earned for the writing of the thesis, the candidate must re-enroll in the thesis course until the writing is completed.

Graduate students may use the computer and research consultant services of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science in the preparation of professional papers, theses, and dissertations. To use these services, students must enroll in the appropriate course. The course may be repeated for additional credit as needed.

The grade of ‘PR’ is assigned to indicate a professional paper or thesis is in progress. A student writing a thesis or professional paper for six semester credit hours is given ‘CR’ (Credit) for the first enrollment and ‘PR’ (In Progress) for all subsequent enrollments until the last enrollment. At that time ‘CR’ is given again. A student writing a professional paper for three semester credit hours is assigned the grade of ‘PR’ for all enrollments except the last one and is assigned the grade of ‘CR’ for the final enrollment.

Only an officially registered student may hold conferences with faculty members concerning the preparation of a thesis or professional paper. This rule applies both when the student is in actual residence and when the student is not in residence but receiving aid or criticism through conferences or correspondence. This rule does not apply to those preliminary conferences held before the thesis subject has been selected. Registration for thesis or professional paper in one term is good for that term only and does not extend to the next term.

The Graduate School publications "Guide to the Preparation and Processing of Dissertations, Theses, and Professional Papers  and Formatting Navigator " should be consulted for additional information concerning the thesis or professional paper. (See Policies and Guidelines for Graduate Committees on Dissertations, Theses, and Professional Papers .)