How to Apply
Master's Checklists & FAQs
* Students who choose this option are strongly advised that it often takes more than one semester to complete a thesis and have it approved. Therefore, they should seriously consider starting work on their thesis before the final semester. The dates above are deadlines only. Students are encouraged to start the thesis process earlier than the stated dates.
**A critical step to insure that your thesis will not be rejected by the Graduate School.
Students should consult the Checklists for Final Semester & Graduation to be certain they are following all of the graduation deadlines
Does an MA committee, thesis or non-thesis, have to be made up of faculty members in one field? For example, does a committee have to be made up of Americanists or all Europeanists?
You may select any three committee members you like, whatever their respective fields, as long as each faculty member agrees to be on your committee. Usually, committee members, especially committee chairs, are faculty with whom you have taken classes, but the only requirement is that a faculty member agrees to serve.
How many books do students have to read for the capstone exam?
Three books are usually assigned by each professor on the committee, though this can vary. It is best to work this out with each member of the committee at the very beginning of the semester in which the exam is being held.
How should students prepare for the capstone exam?
At the very beginning of the semester in which the exam is being held, committee members should be asked to explain what they expect of each student during the course of the semester and what a student should do to prepare for the exam.
How is the date and time of the capstone exam or thesis defense set?
During the first week of the semester in which the exam is being held, students should coordinate the time and date of the exam with their committee members. Students should give the exam time and date information to the department office by the deadline listed on the Checklists for Final Semester & Graduation
Are students allowed to see the questions asked on the capstone exam in advance?
This depends entirely on each committee member.
May students choose the order in which they answer the capstone examination questions?
Yes. Students can select the order in which they answer the written questions.
How long do students have to write the answers to the capstone questions?
Students will be able to pick up their questions at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the in the history office. They are required to turn in their answers as they complete each of them, and must complete all of them by 12:00 noon. Students may decide themselves how much time they devote to each question.
May students bring their own computers to the exam?
Yes, if their committee members approve. If they do not, the department office will supply a laptop computer.
May students leave the examination room during the course of the written exam?
Yes, but for security reasons students should be sure to take the computer they are using with them..
What if answers are lost while writing them on a computer?
Students should save their work while writing the answers to the questions.
What is the format for the capstone exam and thesis defense?
The oral exam and the thesis defense are in a question and answer format, but their precise form is something each committee decides. Exams usually last about an hour or two. The capstone oral exam is generally held in the afternoon of the day on which the student takes the written exam.
What material will be included on the capstone oral exam and the thesis defense?
This varies with each committee member. The thesis defense will generally cover aspects of the thesis. Thesis students are strongly advised to have presented their committee members with first and final drafts of their theses long before the date of their defense. Corrections and revisions to the thesis should have been made and approved before the defense takes place. The subject of the capstone oral exam is something the student should discuss with each of their committee members at the very beginning of the semester in which the exam will take place.
May students bring notes or audio-visual aids to the oral portion of the capstone exam?
Students should ask their committee members before the exam takes place if this would be appropriate.
Are students allowed to bring friends or family to the oral exam?
No. Only the candidate, committee members, and, possibly, the MA Graduate Advisor attend capstone exams or thesis defenses.
How are students informed of the results of their exams or defenses?
After the exam or defense is complete, the committee will excuse students from the room and ask them to wait in the hall while members discuss the examination or the defense. When the committee has reached a decision, it will call students back into the room and members will tell students their opinion of their performance on either the written and oral portions of the exam or on the thesis and the defense. The committee will then inform students whether or not they have passed the exam or the defense conditionally or unconditionally, or if they have failed. If they have failed, the committee will inform students if any remedial work is possible
Can examinations or defenses be postponed for health or personal reasons?
It is possible, but sometimes difficult because of the complications involved in arranging a new date for the examination or defense. Students should speak with their committee chairs to see if a postponement can be arranged.
Is it appropriate for students to give their committee members gifts after the examination or defense is over?
No. Committee members are not allowed to accept gifts.
Department of History
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