The master's thesis process involves:

  • formation of the thesis committee
  • oral defense of a written thesis research proposal
  • oral defense of the completed thesis
  • submission of the completed manuscript to the Graduate School
  • submission of a journal article for publication

The thesis committee consists of a minimum of three full-time faculty members, including one from outside the Department of Sociology. This committee will be responsible for guiding the research process, evaluating the final draft of the thesis, presiding over the oral defenses of the thesis proposal and the completed manuscript, and approving a journal article for submission for publication.

Students should check all graduate school rules and deadlines when defending the thesis.

Thesis Format

Two types of documents are acceptable for the thesis. The first is a longer, traditional thesis organized in the form of a short book monograph. This option is especially appropriate for qualitatively based research. The thesis committee may judge the entire document worthy of publication. In such cases, the work may be submitted to a book publisher for review.

The second type of document is a manuscript in the standard form of a journal article with appended materials. Specifically, this journal article thesis will consist of:

  • a foreword placing the research in context, specifying the journal to which the article is to be submitted, delineating the rationale for co‑authorship (if appropriate), and making acknowledgments
  • a journal article manuscript with a text no longer than the page limitations of a journal selected by the committee, plus footnotes, references, tables, and figures
  • an appendix with an annotated bibliography of relevant literature
  • an appendix that fully presents the methodological procedures
  • an appendix of measurement instrumentation (e.g., survey instruments, in‑depth interview schedules, observational logs, etc.)
  • an appendix of additional tables and/or samples of observational notes
  • an appendix of other research documentation such as survey cover letters, human subject review approval forms, and letters of support and approval from facilities where the research was conducted

After successful oral defense of the thesis, and before application for the master's degree, the student must submit a manuscript for review to a respectable journal. This article must be an independent endeavor, although thesis committee members may be listed as secondary authors insofar as each member contributes to the substance of the work.