Skip Navigation

Preparing for the Thesis

Planning Ahead

Gallatin MA students should begin thinking about potential thesis topics early in the program. You may begin the program with an idea for the thesis, or the thesis topic may emerge from coursework and conversations with faculty mentors. As you select your elective courses, you should choose classes that will prepare you for the thesis. Among the elective courses, Gallatin strongly encourages each student to take a methods course.  The methods course will likely not have the word "methods" in the title, but it is a course (or an independent study) that provides some degree of training in the use of the research method or practice a student intends to use in the thesis.  Examples of methods courses include: modes of literary criticism; a statistics course for psychology; participant-observation techniques for anthropology or sociology; historiography.   

Students should also begin thinking about the members of the thesis committee early in the program.  Keep in mind that the committee will include your adviser, at least one full-time Gallatin faculty member, and a third faculty member of your choosing.

Thesis Courses in the Gallatin Core

The Gallatin core courses in the thesis sequence provide support and guidance for students throughout the thesis process. Students begin to develop plans for the thesis in Thesis Proposal Seminar, a course taught by Gallatin faculty that focuses on writing a thesis proposal, usually taken in the second semester of the program. After completing the Thesis Proposal Seminar, students enroll in Master’s Thesis I (usually taken in the third semester) and Master’s Thesis II (usually taken in the fourth semester), courses that combine independent study supervised by the adviser and writing workshops taught by Gallatin faculty. 

Required Thesis Courses:

Independent Study

Students may choose to supplement the Gallatin core courses with independent studies related to the thesis.  For example, you might propose an independent study with your adviser or another faculty member in which you find, read, and critique a body of previous scholarship related to your thesis topic. This could be a good way to review the major concepts, theories, and debates in your field and place your thesis topic in relation to earlier work. You might propose an independent study along these lines in the second or third semester of the program, to be taken in conjunction with Thesis Proposal Seminar or Master's Thesis I.  

Thesis Advisement

Students who do not defend the thesis successfully or have not completed the thesis during the semester in which they are registered for Master's Thesis II are required to register for Thesis Advisement each semester (including the summer, for students graduating in September) until the thesis is defended. Credits earned through Thesis Advisement are not included in the 40-credit requirement for the master's degree. The special tuition rate for Thesis Advisement is $400.00 plus a non-refundable registration and services fee.