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Thesis v. Non-Thesis

The M.A. political science program has two tracks: Thesis and Non-Thesis.  Both have their benefits and drawbacks depending on the individual student's needs, interests, and career goals.  Look through the requirements of each below before deciding which track you prefer. 

 

Track Thesis Non-Thesis
Core Course Work 33 hours (11 courses) of graduate political science course work including POSI 5359: Approaches to Political Science (effective fall 2015), a Directed Readings as part of the thesis process, Thesis A, and Thesis B. The remaining 21 hours may be completed from the M.A. Political Science elective courses. 36 hours (12 courses) of graduate political science course work to include POSI 5359: Approaches to Political Science (effective fall 2015). The remaining 33 hours may be completed from the M.A. political science elective courses.
Online Options (within American Studies emphasis) No more than 9 hours (3 courses) of non-face-to-face classroom hours to include internship, study abroad, directed readings, and on-line Texas State University political science courses may be taken. No more than 18 hours (6 courses) of non-face-to-face classroom hours to include internship, study abroad, directed readings, and on-line Texas State University political science courses may be taken.
Field Work 9 hours of related field courses (with director’s PRIOR approval) may be taken as part of the 33 hour requirement. 9 hours of related field courses (with director’s PRIOR approval) may be taken as part of the 36 hour requirement.
Culmination Thesis and Oral Defense

Comprehensive Written Exam

 

THESIS: Thesis and Oral Defense

The thesis may be based on research initially done in fulfillment of course requirements or on a completely new subject. The thesis represents a major research effort. It should range between 75-100 pages, comprehensively review the scholarly literature on the subject treated, and be consistent with a thesis format. The student should begin thinking about potential thesis topics as soon as possible. Students must schedule a meeting will the Graduate Director in their first semester to discuss their interest and which faculty member has an expertise in that area, so the student may choose coursework appropriately and subsequently be paired with him or her in the Directed Reading (POSI 5398/PS 5398).

While enrolled in the Directed Reading students will generate a thesis proposal that must be approved by the Graduate Faculty Writing Supervisor (GFWS) and a review panel. If the proposal is accepted, students will then enroll in Thesis A (POSI 5399A/PS 5399A).

In Thesis A, students will produce a full draft of their thesis. Students will then enroll in Thesis B (POSI 5399B/PS 5399B) where they will, in consultation with their thesis committee, revise their draft. Thesis A is taken only once. Thesis 5199B is only taken if the student does not complete his or her thesis in 5399B. It can be taken as many times as necessary to complete the thesis.

Students must successfully complete an oral defense of their thesis. Students who fail the oral defense of their thesis will have the choice of the non-thesis option.

Students must also submit their thesis to the Graduate College for approval. After approval, the thesis is to be sent to the Alkek Library for binding.

Timeline:

Semester 1

Must meet with the Graduate Director to discuss thesis ideas, coursework, and identify faculty members with an expertise in the students interest

Semester 2

Enroll in Directed Readings course (POSI 5398) with an MA faculty member with whom they have taken a course and has an expertise in the student’s area of interest, prepare a thesis proposal, submit proposal and revise proposal for approval to move forward on the thesis track

Semester 3

Enroll in Thesis A (POSI 5399A/PS 5399A), begin researching and writing, submit thesis draft

Semester 4

Enroll in Thesis B (POSI 5399B/PS 5399B), revise and edit thesis draft, submit completed thesis to committee chair, defend thesis, send thesis for approval by the Graduate College, have thesis bound

 

Students that have chosen the Thesis Track must pick up the Thesis Track Packet, which further defines eligibility, from the Graduate Director.

NON-THESIS: Comprehensive Written Exam

Students who choose the non-thesis option are required to pass a written examination covering the fields of political science. The student, in consultation with the Graduate Director, is responsible for composing his or her exam committee. These committees are generally composed of three faculty in political science. The third member may be from outside political science if the student has taken approved courses with that faculty member and has Graduate Director approval. Students will prepare a committee form (TRACS) for the approval of program director. Each member will provide the student with three topics to prepare.

Professors will select one or two of the topics that they provided for the student’s comp exam. The students will be given a two hour writing period per topic(s) prepared by each faculty member for a total of six hours. The exit exam will be given in one day.

If students' graduate during a fall semester, they will receive their topics two weeks in advance of the first Friday of November. If they are to graduate during a spring semester, students will receive their topics two weeks in advance of the first Friday of April. The exam date for the fall semester will be the first Friday of November and for the spring semester the first Friday of April. Students will be required to type their responses in a computer lab arranged by the program director and the computer lab coordinator.

The faculty member who provided the topic(s) will read the response(s) and determine whether the student passes his/her portion of the exam. Faculty will have a one week grading period.

If a student's work is not acceptable in any area, he/she will have one opportunity to retake the necessary portion(s) of the exam during the next long semester. Students will have to reapply for graduation in that semester.

Students will be required to sign the Statement of No Appeal. Students will also sign the Academic Honesty Agreement which acknowledges that if it is verified that a student has plagiarized any portion of his/her exam the student will not be allowed to complete the program.

Timeline: Final Semester

Early February/September

Meet with Graduate Director to discuss committee formation

6 Weeks Before Exam

Ask faculty to be on committee and meet to discuss potential topics

2 Weeks Before Exam

Receive topic questions that may appear on the exam

First Friday of April/November

Examination