Master of Arts - Philosophy (all programs)

Thesis Information

Students who opt for the thesis plan will write a thesis of about 50 to 150 pages. When beginning to think about writing a thesis, the student should ask a department member with interest in the topic of the thesis to be the thesis advisor. When an advisor is determined, the student should form a thesis committee. The committee is composed of the student's advisor, one or two other philosophy department members and one faculty member from a department other than philosophy.

Students write their theses in consultation with their advisors. Typically the advisor will first discuss the topic with the student several times and then ask the student to write a brief summary or outline of the thesis (a 'prospectus'). When the advisor and other committee members believe the prospectus is sufficiently coherent, interesting and complete, the student will begin writing the thesis itself.

Before the student is examined on the thesis, he or she should receive approval of the thesis first from the advisor and then from the other committee members. The examination--generally called a thesis 'defense'--is an oral examination which takes typically two or three hours. Generally, students who consult carefully with their committee members do well on their exams, because they do not take their exams until the committee is satisfied with their work. Examiners have pass, fail and revision options on evaluating the thesis. They may, in other words, pass the thesis as it is, fail it or ask for revisions on it. As mentioned above, students who consult carefully with their committee seldom fail their thesis exam. It is not unusual, however, for committee members to require some revisions.

Grad School Requirement: Your Program of Study needs to include a total of 6 credits of Thesis (Phil 797) in order to graduate under the Thesis Option.