Students have the option of writing and defending a thesis in their final semester in lieu of one concentration course and the oral comprehensive exam. The thesis is a major project; it must be based on original research and make a true contribution to the field of knowledge. It can be a very good experience, but only if the student has developed an appropriate topic, has strong primary materials to work with, and is completely engaged in the project. In order to write a quality thesis and finish in the allotted time, a student should have done much of the background research before the beginning of the fall semester of their second year.
By October 1, a student pursing a thesis must:
- identify an advisor (a member of the full-time faculty at Georgetown) and second reader
- gain the approval of the Director and the Concentration Advisor,
- register the title of the thesis and the name of the faculty mentors with the MAAS office no later than October 1 of the academic year in which the student plans to graduate. See the forms section for the MAAS Thesis Registration Form.
After that date, the student may not change topics. By the last day of classes of the fall semester, the student must have submitted a full outline and bibliography to the readers and received their approval. The student must also register for a thesis research course in the spring semester (MAAS-999-03 in most cases), which will count toward the six concentration block courses. Students undertaking the thesis will only be required 33 credit hours to graduate as the MAAS 999 is a non-credit course.
Students who fail to meet either deadline requirement forfeit the thesis option; they should register for a standard course in the spring semester and plan on taking comprehensive exams.
The thesis should be ca. 65-90 pages in length depending on the field and on the recommendations of the readers, in the field of the student's concentration (although interdisciplinary work is encouraged). A formal presentation will be scheduled in mid-April. It is up to the student to maintain regular contact with the readers, who are expected to provide feedback to one or more preliminary and/or intermediate drafts, including one prior to the formal presentation. The final draft of the thesis, approved by the advisor and the second reader, must be submitted to the Graduate School in compliance with all its rules and regulations by the school's specified deadline, and to the MAAS office and readers one week prior to that deadline. All students enrolled in thesis research as of the end of add-drop in the spring semester must complete the thesis in order to graduate.
All students working with human subjects, which includes interviews and surveys, must meet the requirements of and gain approval by the Institutional Review Board.
- October 1 - Submission of topic, advisor, and readers to MAAS director and office
- Last day of fall classes - Submission of full outline and bibliography to all readers and MAAS office
- Spring registration - Registration for Thesis Research (MAAS 999)
- Mid-April - Submission of Thesis Reviewers Report (NOTE: must be submitted at least one week prior to defense date)
- Last week in April - Formal thesis presentation/defense
- First week of May - Submission of FINAL draft to the Graduate School in accordance with all regulations and guidelines found on the Graduate School's website.