A Thesis in the MASS Program
is an extended descriptive or analytical narrative dealing with a particular
anthropological, historical, sociological, or other social science topic. The
term "extended" is understood generally to mean at least seventy pages of text
for a Thesis based primarily on qualitative resources. Theses based primarily
on quantitative analysis will be a minimum of twenty-five pages. A Thesis
primarily utilizes original sources as the basis for the description or
analysis. While the student is ultimately responsible in every
respect for the content and documentation of the thesis, the thesis director
(Committee Chair) is the final authority on questions of format and
documentation style. It is the Committee Chairís responsibility to ensure that
the document is in an appropriate form before the student submits the Thesis to
the whole Committee for final approval. The student is encouraged to
continually consult with his or her Committee Chair and individual committee
members throughout the writing process. With the exception of issues of format
and style, which are the purview of the Committee Chair, committee members will
judge the final Thesis on its merits as they understand it.
In some cases a
studentís academic work may result in a Thesis that does not take the
traditional form of a descriptive or analytical narrative. Examples of this
sort of work include, but are not limited to:
production of museum or
source collection catalogues and definitive finding aids,
- development of major history or social science K-12 curricula,
- video, multimedia, or film productions, or,
- development and execution of a major local or regional history or archaeology event.
In this case the student
will present a narrative description of his or her work, to include literature
and historiographical background and a detailed explanation of the methodology
employed. This description will meet the same intellectual, literary, and
documentation standards expected of a Thesis and will be accompanied by a
permanent record of the work described. Students should consult with the
Program Director on the form and media used for this permanent record which is
housed in the Baron-Forness Library.
The Thesis Proposal is the mechanism by which a student registers for Thesis
(SSCI 799, or HIST 799). The Proposal should be 5-10 pages of text and attached to
Thesis Application Form. The proposal
should clearly explain and include the following:
- Purpose and scope of the project,
- Preliminary summary of literature on the topic,
- Major sources to be used
- A substantial working bibliography (not simply a works cited page)
The Application Form will serve as the title page. Do not include a separate
title page or abstract. The first page of the proposal proper should have the
following centered heading:
Text . . . . . .
*This Thesis conforms
to the style requirements of . . .
The above asterisked comment should also appear at the bottom of the first page of the text of the student's Thesis.
Do not use running headers; simply use page numbers. Page
number 1 (as indicated above) is placed at the center bottom of the first page
of the proposal proper. Subsequent page numbers are placed in the upper
right hand corner of the page.
Citation Styles: Unless specifically directed
otherwise, students will use the following style guides, based on their
ASA Style is
available online at
Buffalo State University.)
History concentration students will use the current
edition of Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and
Sociology concentration students will use the current
edition of the American Sociological Association's
Anthropology concentration students will use either
Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and
style guide of the
Anthropological Association, or the style
guide of the Society for American Archaeology.
Students will use footnotes, not endnotes. Bibliographic
footnotes are expected for all works referenced in the Proposal and the Thesis,
whether material is quoted or not. Thesis
Directors may, at their discretion, direct that students use a citation
style other than one of those listed above. In all cases, however, the
Proposal and the final Thesis text will indicate the citation style used.
Students whose theses will be based on research for which
Human Subjects Review Board approval is necessary must include the Board's formal approval with their proposals.
Thesis Proposal Approval Process:
Students should discuss their proposal with their Thesis Advisor in detail
before submission. Once the Thesis Advisor is satisfied with the proposal he or
she signs the Thesis Application. The approval sequence is then:
- Department Chair,
- MASS Program Director,
- Dean of Liberal Arts, and
- Dean of Graduate Studies and Research
The Thesis Proposal is read in detail by all signatories. The student should
not expect to get his or her proposal back immediately and should understand
that the Proposal can be returned at any point in the process for correction,
revision, or clarification. The Proposal should be clear, well-written, free of
excess jargon, and carefully proofread. This should be the best writing of a
student's academic career to this point. Proposals are frequently returned for
Deadlines. The Proposal must be to Records and Registration one week
before the beginning of the semester or session in which the student intends to register
for Thesis. The Proposal, approved by the Thesis Advisor and Department Chair,
should be submitted to the MASS Program Director not later than the following
- 1 November if registration is desired in the Spring semester,
- 1 April if registration is desired in any Summer session, or
- 1 July if registration is desired in the Fall semester.
Thesis Organization and Layout
Students will follow the guidelines for the Thesis organization and layout
contained in MASS Thesis Organization
Thesis Defense and Final Oral Examination
After all Committee members have had an opportunity to read
and commant on a student's Thesis the Committee will conduct the Thesis Defense
and the student's Final Oral Examination. All MASS students must take a Final Oral Examination.
This exam is a public examination open to all EUP Faculty, graduate students,
and upper division undergraduate students. During this examination the student will:
- Demonstrate a professional understanding of the place of their
major field of study in the broad flow of their area of concentration,
- Demonstrate a reasonable mastery of the material covered in their
MA course work, and
- Address whatever questions the Committee has about his
or her Thesis.
At the end of the Final
Oral Examination the student will be informed, in the presence of the Committee,
whether he or she has successfully completed the requirements for the Master of
Arts in Social Sciences. A student who fails to successfully complete the
Thesis Defense or Final Oral Examination may be given, at the discretion of his
or her Committee, a second opportunity to successfully complete the Program.
This may include revising elements of the Thesis.