Guidelines for Preparing the Thesis

The thesis must be signed off by the first reader before being passed on to the second and third readers for signature. A thesis committee has the option of terminating the thesis option if, in the opinion of the three readers, the candidate has shown him- or herself incapable or unwilling to write an acceptable thesis in a reasonable amount of time. After all three readers have signed the thesis, the candidate must defend the thesis orally before it is submitted to the University for final approval. 

Students are strongly advised to find and download the “General Instructions for Master’s Theses” at the Graduate Studies and Research website before they begin writing their thesis. Go to and then click on “Thesis Guide.” 

As is implied above, it is not the job of the Thesis Committee to correct standard matters of historical citation. These can be found in Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations or the Chicago Manual of Style. Nor is it the job of the Thesis Committee to do extensive copyediting. If you cannot do this yourself, you should hire a professional copyeditor and/or proofreader. If the writing is of a poor standard, the Thesis Committee may reject the thesis outright or advise the student to switch to a comprehensive examination, if it is offered.

Human Subject's Review and Exemption for Oral Histories

Any student contemplating using oral history as a source for their thesis should be aware that they must complete a "Request for Exemption from Human Subjects Review" form. At present federal regulations governing research force the university to review any research project that entails the use of "human subjects." Failure to complete this form will result in rejection of the thesis. The forms can be obtained from Graduate Studies; go to and see “IRB Forms.” Students that have completed this form have not found the task too arduous. The Graduate Adviser has a sample copy of a successful request for an exemption. 

In addition to the above, all students conducting oral history interviews should get a release or "informed consent" form signed by the person they are interviewing for the protection of the student and to meet university (federal) regulations. The graduate adviser has a sample copy of such a form. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU FILL OUT THE HUMAN SUBJECTS REVIEW EXEMPTION FORM AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR RESEARCH AND THAT YOU OBTAIN A SIGNED "INFORMED CONSENT" FORM BEFORE YOU INTERVIEW SOMEONE.

Graduate Studies Thesis Submission Requirements

The Office of Graduate Studies and Research will be requiring submission of theses in electronic form as well as in hard copy form in order to improve the efficiency of processing. Thus, an electronic copy will be required along with a hard copy. The electronic version can be submitted in the following formats: (1) Floppy disk, (2) CD, or (3) Zip-100 disk. The following word processing documents will be accepted: (1) Microsoft Word for PCs, (2) Microsoft Word for Apple, or (3) Word Perfect.