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Thesis Guidelines

Thesis Prospectus: A thesis prospectus is a 10-15-page thesis proposal in which the student not only identifies his or her topic and its sources but also locates their work within the larger historical literature of the field, broadly defined.  The prospectus should append a bibliography of the historical literature on the student's topic and within the student's field that was drafted in consultation with their adviser. The completion of an approved prospectus is a prerequisite for registering for History B9900, Thesis Research. The student may complete the prospectus in the context of an independent study with their adviser or in the Research Colloquium. 

The Thesis in History: The master's thesis is usually a history of a specific topic that is based upon the consultation and citation of primary sources. In most cases it is expected, although not required, that the student will consult and cite a body of sources in the language of their field of study. In the case that the student has not yet acquired proficiency in the language of his or her field, with the agreement of a faculty member willing to serve as the adviser of such a project the student may employ alternative sources—such as, English-language sources; critical editions of primary sources in translation by noted scholars, or, in the case of an analysis of the historical literature on a topic, secondary sources. The body of the thesis should contain an introduction, titled sections, a conclusion, and a bibliography. Throughout the thesis, the sources of the author's citations must all be acknowledged in footnotes that employ Chicago style. To the thesis should also be appended a bibliography of all the sources cited in and consulted for the work, both primary and secondary. Approval of the thesis must be secured from both the thesis adviser and a second reader. The thesis is written in the context of HIST B9900 (Thesis Research) and may also be workshopped in the Research Colloquium.

Adviser: The student should choose an adviser for the thesis who teaches in his or her field of study, broadly defined. The mentor-student relationship differs between each student and each adviser. It is the student's responsibility to convey to the adviser their expectations of the experience, and to ask for clarifications, where necessary, of the adviser's own expectations.

Second Reader: The student must also obtain a second reader for the thesis. It is strongly suggested that the student identify a second reader in consultation with the thesis adviser. The second reader may only be asked to read a final draft of the thesis and sign the thesis cover sheet. Yet, it is important to bear in mind that the second reader may also be a good resource for bibliographical information, ideas and criticism, from whichthe student could profit in the process of conceptualizing and drafting the thesis.

Length and Format: The thesis should be approximately 40--60 pages in length. The thesis should employ a font of 12; its margins should be 1 1/2 inches; and its pages should be numbered consecutively.

Title Page and Table of Contents: The thesis should have a title page and a table of contents. The title page should bear the title, the author's name, the advisor's name, the date, and the statement, "Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of (Fine) Arts of the City College of the City University of New York." The table of contents should list the sections of the thesis, from Introduction through Bibliography, and should follow Chicago style as well.

Cover Sheet: Upon approval of the final draft of the thesis, both the adviser and the second reader must sign the thesis cover sheet (available in the Graduate Office and on the Department's website), which is then submitted to one of the M.A. Directors. The student is responsible for seeing that each signature is obtained. This signed cover sheet must be included in the final draft of the thesis that is presented to the Dean of the Division of Humanities (NAC 5/225), along with the following copies and binding.

Submission: Two copies of the thesis must be presented to the Dean of the Division of the Humanities. One of these copies will be bound by the student in a standard black manuscript binder (available in stationery and office supply stores, as well as our bookstore); the other one will be in a .PDF format for future storage on a CD. The student is responsible for providing the Division with a CD. The bound copy will go to the department and the CD-copy will go to the Library. A Digital Thesis License Agreement needs to be submitted with the thesis.