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MA Thesis Checklist

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​Below is a checklist to help you go from thesis proposal to graduation.  Please note the forms required at each steps.  Some forms are submitted to the department (103 Jastak-Burgess Hall) and others are submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies (234 Hullihen Hall).  Also, as you approach your final semester/graduation please be aware of the university deadlines for submitting your thesis and application for graduation.  A list of these dates can be found on the Graduate College website.

1. Decide on a topic and choose a committee

  • You must have a minimum of 2 committee members: 
    1. A director of your thesis.  If your chosen director is non-tenured, continuing tenure-track, or S-contract, please be advised that co-directors may be required. The Thesis Director must be from DLLC.
    2. In conjunction with your director/s, a second reader will be selected, preferably from the University of Delaware. 
  • FORMS:
    1. (Department) With the approval of the Thesis Director, to the Director of Graduate Studies: 
      • Thesis Proposal and Committee Notification to Department

2. Writing Your Thesis

  • Human Subjects/IRB Approval
    1. Does your research require IRB approval?  You need to have an approved thesis proposal BEFORE submitting an IRB proposal. Determine what type of approval your project may need by visiting the Research Office website
    2. Have you completed Human Subjects Training?  Some students complete this during the course of other research or in a class.  If you have not completed it, you may attend an in-person training or an online training.  See the Research website for more information.  
    3. If your research requires IRB approval you will need to complete a proposal to submit to the review board.  The proposals are completed online (  You will need to set up an account.  There are forms to download and a place for you to upload documents.  You will find more information about what needs to be included in your proposal (such as consent forms, questions, data storage, etc.) You and your committee chair will need to sign off on this.
    4. Make sure to check the research calendar for a list of IRB meetings.  Proposals that require a full board review are only heard once a month.  Others are approved on an on-going basis.  You may be asked to make revisions or answer questions about your proposal.  You may not start data collection without this approval. 
    5. IRB approval needs to be renewed every year while you are still collecting or actively using the data.

3. Writing Your Thesis: Suggested Timelines/Guidelines

  • MA-LLCP suggested timeline/guideline:
    1. Year 1, Fall: Students interested in pursuing the Thesis Option should approach their advisor for discussion and consideration of the potential project. Students considering the Thesis Option should recognize the thesis as a writing intensive project. Students must demonstrate the ability to work independently as well as excellent research and writing skills in their first-semester coursework.  
    2. Year 1, Spring: Thesis proposal (including research schedule) must be submitted and approved by the Thesis Director, and by the Graduate Studies Committee, before the end of the spring semester. (IRB Training should also be completed before the end of this term.)
    3. Year 1, Summer: Literature review and data collection plan must be submitted to Thesis Director by the end of the summer.  
    4. Year 2, Fall: Following IRB approval, data collection must be completed the end of the fall.  
    5. Year 2, Winter:  Data analysis must be submitted and approved by Thesis Director by the end of the winter session.
    6. Year 2, Spring, March 1: A complete thesis draft needs to be reviewed/approved by the Thesis Director.
    7. Year 2, Spring, March 31: Feedback from the second reader should reach the candidate no later than March 31st.
    8. Year 2, Spring, April: confirm Graduate Office deadline to turn in thesis.
  • MA-LLC suggested timeline/guideline:
    1. Year 1, Fall: Students interested in pursuing the Thesis Option should approach their advisor for discussion and consideration of the potential project. Students considering the Thesis Option should recognize the thesis as a writing intensive project. Students must demonstrate the ability to work independently, an excellent research disposition, and exceptional writing skills in their coursework during this first semester.  
    2. Year 1, Spring:  Thesis proposals turned in. Any vagueness in the proposal will be eliminated by the end of the semester, or at the latest by the end of the summer. Student should spend the summer creating a bibliography, fleshing out an outline/timeline for the thesis
    3. Year 2, Fall, October 1:  Progress Report 1 (should indicate at least 25% of work completed) 
    4. Year 2, Fall, December 1:  Progress Report 2 (should include about 75% but not less than 50% of work completed) 
    5. Year 2, Spring, February 15: The first draft of the completed thesis is due to the Director/ 1st reader.
    6. Year 2, Spring, March 1: The 1st reader/ the director approves the complete thesis draft.
    7. Year 2, Spring, March 15: The 2nd reader returns feedback to student.
    8. Year 2, Spring, April 1: The Student completes corrections if any are suggested and resubmits the final draft. Approval deadline for 1st reader.
    9. Year 2, Spring, April 1: The student prepares the thesis according to the UD guidelines, and submits the thesis to the Graduate Office by the required date.
    10. The student must provide a complete copy of the final MA thesis for signing by the advisor 

4. Thesis Format

  • Use the UD Thesis/Dissertation Templates and Guidelines to make sure you are formatting the document properly.  These tools can be found on the Graduate College website.
  • Make sure to have current information for the Dean of Arts & Science and the Vice Provost for Graduate and Professional Education for your signature pages.

5. Plan ahead!

  • When do you want to graduate? Please note that you have to apply for graduation at the beginning of the semester you plan to graduate.
  • Make sure you pay attention to the university deadlines for submitting your thesis.  This is often one month prior to the end of the semester.
  • You will also need to take into account any revisions to your thesis.  You should allow for at least a few weeks to complete revisions and any formatting that needs to be done before you can submit it to the university.
  • FORMS:
    1. To the research office (if needed): online submission of IRB proposal through   
    2. To the graduate office:  Application for Advanced Degree

** Signature pages: The University requires 3 original copies of the first signature page that appears in your dissertation (see UD Dissertation template for guidelines).  These must be printed on 25% cotton bond paper.  

6. After You Have Written Your Thesis

  • Complete revisions requested by committee.  The time you will have to complete revisions will depend on when you plan to graduate so make sure to be aware of deadlines.  
  • SCHEDULE A MEETING with the Office of Graduate Studies to submit your dissertation and final paper work.  Please visit the Graduate College website for more details about what to bring. 
  • SUBMIT the following paperwork: 
    1. To the Dean’s Office (Dean of Arts & Sciences )
      • A copy of your thesis 
      • THREE signed originals of your first signature pages (on 25% cotton bond). 
      • You will need to bring to the submission meeting these three signature pages.
    1. To the Graduate College: 
      • A PDF copy of your dissertation to the graduate office
      • Instructions on this and how to check to make sure your fonts are embedded can be found on the Graduate College website.
      • The three original and SIGNED first signature pages (signed be the committee members, chair, and dean)
      • Three original Title Pages
      • Three original Abstracts
    1. To the department
      • A bound copy of the final version of your thesis
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  • Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures
  • Jastak-Burgess Hall
  • University of Delaware
  • 30 East Main St.
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-2591