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MA Thesis Requirements

INTL-I680, International Studies Masters Capstone (thesis or project)

12,000 words or roughly 50 pages

Utilizing 30-40 or more sources in the bibliography (which has been compiled from the 500 word overview submission written before beginning the thesis).

Including the following components (some of these are mandated by the University Graduate School, please see for formatting :

  1. Title page (please see layout on website above)
  2. Acceptance page
  3. Dedication, acknowledgments or preface if desired (optional)
  4. Abstract (I page, double spaced, 350 words)
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Resume or CV (at the end of all materials of the thesis, not numbered)
  7. References, citations, bibliography and footnotes should conform to one of the following style manual guides:
    • “The Chicago Manual of Style”
    • Turabian, Kate L., “A Manual for Writers”
    • Modern Language Association (MLA) style sheet
    • American Psychological Association (APA) style sheet

The main body of the thesis should include:

An introduction including a research statement and concise layout of the project, its importance to the field and the methods through which it will be accomplished.  This should likely be 5 or more pages for a work of this length. 

A literature review covering the major core works and how they relate to the research question. A literature review should be a critical, constructive analysis of the literature in a specific field through summary, classification, analysis and comparison. The function of the review is to organize, evaluate and identify trends and patterns in the literature and to identify research gaps while recommending new research areas. This section should be roughly 12-15 pages. 

Method. This section answers two main questions: How is the data to be collected or generated and how is it to be analyzed? In most cases, there are a variety of different methods available to investigate a research problem. The method section should clearly articulate the reasons behind your choice and illustrate the details of any particular procedure or technique applied to identify, select, obtain, process, and analyze information that leads to your findings. ​

Analysis: Provide a case study or body of your research findings. Critically examine and provide an explanation of your findings, breaking the elements down into the constituent parts of your argument/thesis. This section will likely be 25-30 pages and address your core findings and data analysis. 

Conclusion. Summing up the importance and findings of the entire thesis.

Supplemental materials. If you conducted interviews, engaged in ethnography, focus groups or employed surveys or used other data gathering techniques you should provide examples of your tools or instruments here. 

Bibliography (see above). 

In the I680 seminar the individual portions of the thesis will be revised and evaluated with specific guidance from your chosen mentor and your peers. You will need to select and appoint your thesis committee members well before you begin working on your thesis. You will appoint one main Mentor/Thesis Supervisor who will provide guidance throughout the thesis writing process. You will also choose a Reader whose role is to read the thesis once it has been completed. Either the Mentor or the Reader must be an International Studies faculty member. Please note that both your Mentor and the Reader will grade your final thesis.  

Once all sections of the thesis are completed, it will be submitted to the Graduate school once accepted by the Department.


All deadlines, formatting instructions, and submission methods are available on the University Graduate School’s website at

Please review all deadlines carefully. Note that there are separate deadlines to submit your thesis to your thesis committee, to submit your thesis to ProQuest, and to submit your signed Acceptance Page. These deadlines depend on your planned date of graduation.

Your thesis committee will consist of a thesis supervisor, a secondary reader, and the department’s Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). In cases where the DGS is also a reader, the third member will be the department chair.


You should work closely with your thesis supervisor to ensure you are on track to complete your thesis on time.
Your completed thesis must be submitted to your thesis supervisor, to your reader, and online through ProQuest. Your thesis is due to ProQuest by the date shown on the deadlines page. If you do not submit to ProQuest in time, your graduation will be delayed.

It is highly recommended that the members of your thesis committee all have the final copy of your thesis at least a week before your thesis is due to ProQuest. This is in order to provide enough time for your thesis committee to approve your thesis.

Your thesis must be complete and approved by your thesis committee before you submit it to ProQuest.

You must also submit an original signed acceptance page to the University Graduate School. The page must be approved and signed by all three members of your thesis committee. It must also be formatted according to the instructions on the formatting page (under Required and Optional Sections / Acceptance Page) and delivered directly to the UGS’s office in Wells Library, Room E546, by the due date, usually approximately 10-14 days after submission.
Formatting requirements are extremely strict. If, after submission, it is determined that your thesis requires formatting changes, you will be contacted by the graduate office with instructions for resubmission. Any such changes are generally due on the same date as your acceptance page: please review the deadlines page to confirm.


  • Complete your thesis in consultation with your thesis supervisor
  • Submit your final thesis to your thesis committee
  • When the thesis committee confirms that your thesis is accepted, submit your thesis to ProQuest
  • Complete and return your signed Acceptance Page to the UGS at Wells Library, Room E546