The M.A. Thesis

The Department of Classics requires students to write an M.A. thesis on a topic of their own choice. The topic must be approved in advance by the faculty member who is chosen by the student to direct the thesis. Students will normally undertake the writing of the thesis in the semester immediately after they have passed the Comprehensive Examinations. Students may formally begin the thesis only after they have passed the Modern Language, Qualifying, and Comprehensive Examinations. The student and the thesis supervisor will agree on two additional faculty members who, along with the thesis supervisor, will comprise the thesis committee. It is the student's obligation to work out a schedule with each member of the thesis committee for submitting drafts to all members of it. A copy of the signed thesis schedule worksheet (see further Appendix L) must also be provided to the Director of Graduate Studies.

The completed thesis requires an oral defense by the student and final approval by the student's thesis committee after the defense. Once approved, a copy is kept on file in the department. Normally, this means that the thesis will be shelved in the departmental library.

N.B.: No thesis supervision will be available to students during the summer months unless this has been approved in advance by the thesis supervisor and all other committee members.

Required Length

The department requires the writing and acceptance of a master's thesis of approximately 10,000 words.

Nature of the Thesis

While the M.A. thesis need not be an original contribution to knowledge, it must not be merely an uncritical compilation of previously published facts or interpretations. The thesis topic should be defined in consultation with the supervising faculty member and formally approved by the advisory committee, as specified above. Students are advised to limit the topic so that they can readily demonstrate their critical and organizational skills, their familiarity with the bibliography in the field, and their ability to write coherent scholarly prose. Any accepted method of scholarly inquiry may be used, but the writer should be prepared to explain why a given method is properly applicable to the topic under discussion.

The thesis may elaborate upon a paper originally presented for a grade in a graduate-level course.

Students emphasizing archaeology will address a theoretical or empirical problem in archaeology or the related areas of classical art and architecture.

Students emphasizing philology will address a problem in classical languages, literature, or culture.

Students emphasizing ancient history will address a theoretical or empirical problem in history and use primary sources as well as relevant material and documentary evidence.

Greek and Latin Sources

All students quoting from Greek and Latin sources will quote from them in the original language and will provide their own translations of these passages.

Schedule for Writing the Thesis

Students should begin the research for, and writing of, the thesis at least one semester before they plan to graduate. Students should be aware that the writing process may take much longer than originally anticipated.

It is necessary to allow the thesis committee sufficient time to read the thesis. It is also necessary to allow sufficient time to incorporate or accommodate any suggestions, additions, or other revisions that the members of the committee may require.

The schedule for writing the thesis is as follows (for the thesis worksheet, see Appendix L):

  1. A preliminary draft of the thesis must be submitted to the faculty supervisor at least two months before the final draft is due.
  2. The student must work out with the other members of the thesis committee an acceptable schedule for submitting drafts to them. At least two weeks must be allowed for members of the thesis committee to read a draft.
  3. After receiving comments and suggestions from the members of the thesis committee, the student may then proceed to prepare a final draft.
  4. Upon completion of the final draft, a date will be set for the thesis defense. The student will be examined by all three members of the thesis committee. Questions will be confined to the argument of the thesis and the field of specialization surrounding it.
  5. The final version, once successfully defended and approved by the thesis committee, will be submitted to the Department of Classics on behalf of the Graduate College in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree.

At any time during the above process, but no later than one month before the scheduled defense, the student or a committee member may request an optional progress meeting which the student and all committee members are expected to attend.

N.B.: The thesis copy submitted to the department is the copy of record and should be photocopied on 20 lb. RAG bond paper.

Candidacy for the M.A. Degree

The student formally becomes a candidate for the M.A. degree only after all requirements for the awarding of the degree have been completed. Thus, after the thesis has been defended successfully and has been given final approval by the thesis committee, the student becomes a candidate for the Master of Arts in Classics.