Comparing the Plans: Thesis or Non-Thesis?

Students electing concentrations in either literature or rhetoric and composition have an additional choice: Should I write a critical thesis (Plan I), or should I schedule area examinations (Plan II)? Students electing the concentration in creative writing follow Plan I, writing a creative thesis in their chosen genre. What follows is an overview of the process for each plan, provided side-by-side for comparison.

Congratulations on your admission to English graduate study.
Take courses, study hard, write well, meet faculty and fellow students . . .

Decide which of our three concentrations is right for you.
Select an advisor from this concentration who will chair your GSC.
Complete the membership in your GSC, and then file the departmental GSC form with the Director of Graduate Studies.

Plan I Students

  • By the time you have completed 18 hours of coursework (if not before), choose a Thesis Advisor who will help to direct your research and writing.
  • In consultation with your advisor, select at least two other faculty to complete your Graduate Study Committee (GSC). Once you have established your committee, complete the English Department’s GSC form and submit it to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).
  • Prepare a prospectus for the thesis, and then secure its approval by your GSC members and the Director of Graduate Studies. When you and your advisor have completed a draft to your satisfaction, you should give the GSC and the DGS at least two weeks before the deadline for Admission to Candidacy to read over the prospectus and offer feedback. See the UAB Graduate School website for deadline dates for Admission to Candidacy for each term.
  • After your prospectus is approved by your GSC and the DGS, work with the Director of Graduate Studies to complete both the Admission to Candidacy Form and the Graduate School's Graduate Study Committee Letter.
  • Register for EH 699, Thesis Research, a three-hour course taken twice for a total of six hours credit, and work with your GSC chair and the members of your GSC to complete your thesis to the unanimous satisfaction of your GSC.
  • Prior to the beginning of your final term, file an Application for Degree Form with the Graduate School.
  • Confer with the GSC chair, GSC, and the GPD to schedule the oral defense of the completed thesis. Ask the administrative associate to add the defense to the departmental calendar, and go online to the Graduate School to register the defense by completing the online request for Thesis Approval Forms. You are responsible for completing the online request at least two weeks prior to the defense and picking up the relevant forms.
  • Furnish copies of the thesis to each member of the GSC and to the GPD ten days prior to the scheduled defense.
  • Complete the Departmental Exit Questionnaire.
  • Prepare to answer one hour of questions concerning the thesis and its area of study.
  • Give the completed Departmental Exit Questionnaire to the departmental graduate secretary prior to your defense.
  • Bring the Thesis Approval Forms to be signed at the conclusion of a successful defense.
  • Defend your thesis.
  • No more than ten days after the successful defense of your thesis, submit the approved pdf file of your thesis, including any suggested revisions, to the Graduate School.

Plan II Students

  • Arrange with the GSC chair to take area examinations, scheduling two examinations per term, unless only one examination remains.
  • Study diligently for each examination.
  • Work with the Director of Graduate Studies, no later than one semester before your anticipated graduation, to choose a Graduate Studies Committee Chair and three additional members of your GSC. Once this is done, complete the department's Graduate Studies Committee Form.
  • Prior to the beginning of the term of anticipated graduation, file an Application for Degree Form with the Graduate School.
  • Complete the Departmental Exit Questionnaire.
  • After passing the last required area examination, confirm that the GSC has filed a Recommendation for Degree Form with the Graduate School.
  • Give the completed Departmental Exit Questionnaire to the departmental graduate secretary.
Congratulations on having achieved the M.A. in English from UAB.

While every effort is made to keep information on the Department of English web site as accurate and up-to-date as possible, students are responsible for verifying course requirements and program status by seeing the appropriate university advisor(s) and program director(s).