What is a Thesis and Why Write One?

The Master's thesis project serves as a capstone experience which integrates and extends the knowledge acquired during studies in the program. In addition, the thesis can serve as a representation of your analytical abilities for professional purposes or for further graduate studies.

The thesis is not traditionally subject to a specific page length standard, especially given that many theses have multimedia components. As a general guideline, traditional written theses should be a minimum of 70 pages in length, inclusive of formatting, cover page, notes and bibliography.

The Graduate School's Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines provide details on the thesis requirements.

To see examples of CCT theses, visit the CCT Thesis Database or the Library's collections.  You can search by keyword in the CCT database to find theses in your interest area.  You can search by author and keyword/title in the library's collection.

Thesis Proposal

Thesis proposals must be approved by the CCT faculty as a whole. You are encouraged to indicate more than one potential thesis advisor and/or reader on the proposal form. When the committee decides which thesis proposals will move forward, you will be notified by the Director of Academic Programs.

If you intend to apply to write a thesis, you must write a proposal in the semester before you register for the Thesis Colloquium. The proposal is intended to identify a topic, describe the theoretical, historical, analytical and methodological frameworks for the thesis, and include an extended bibliography.

It is highly recommended that you finalize a draft of the proposal in the first month of the semester prior to enrolling in the Thesis Colloquium and discuss the topic with possible faculty mentors and second readers. (For example, students who intend to write a thesis in the spring semester should be drafting the proposal no later than early October of the previous semester).

Your thesis advisor must approve your topic and sign the thesis proposal form, which you must then submit to the Director of Academic Programs by October 31 in order take Thesis Colloquium in the spring, or February 28 to take Thesis Colloquium in the fall.

The intent of this policy is to ensure that you have invented a topic for M.A. thesis research and received approval from a CCT thesis advisor before pre-registration. Approval of the second reader can follow via email to the Director of Academic Programs no later than the first month of the thesis writing process. This deadline is established by the CCT program in order to help students understand the need to devise a topic for thesis research in a timely and effective manner.

In some cases, topics for thesis research may change over the course of the semester in which the prospectus is written, most notably in relation to research undertaken in your seminars. Such changes should be discussed with the relevant faculty (i.e. prospective mentors). Additionally, you might consider seminar research papers as inaugural efforts towards the finalizing of a topic for completion.

In many instances, this means that it's a good idea to begin drafting a prospectus prior to the semester you meet with faculty to discuss it; For example, if you are finalizing the prospectus in the fall semester for completion of the degree in the spring, you should consider drafting the prospectus over the course of the summer.

If you are planning on working with human subjects in your thesis project (conducting surveys, experiments, interviews, and focus groups, as well as, filming and photographing subjects), you must apply for approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Overview of Thesis Basics

If you are writing a thesis, you, with the consultation of your academic advisor and professors, will develop your topic over the course of the first year and a half of the program. You should narrow your topics and begin looking for appropriate faculty members to serve as thesis advisors and readers during the semester prior to thesis writing.

The Thesis Advisor will serve as the principal intellectual mentor and will head your Thesis Committee. The Thesis Advisor will lead the Thesis Colloquium class and will meet with you regularly to discuss your progress, read drafts, and provide written comments on  your work. The Thesis Advisor should be a CCT faculty member. However, with permission of the Director, non-CCT Georgetown faculty or CCT adjunct faculty members may serve as Thesis Advisors. In order to gain this permission, please ask the professor in question to send a written or email request to the Director of Academic Programs.

The Thesis Reader serves on the student's committee and reads drafts of your thesis and provides written comments on your work. Both the Advisor and Reader must attend the thesis presentation and approve the thesis. The Reader may be any of the aforementioned faculty members. In rare cases, you may wish to select someone outside the University to serve as a Reader. If you would like to do this, please send a written request to the Director of Academic Programs. This must be approved by the Director.

Thesis Writer's Timeline

This includes online resources and forms, as well as important timelines and deadlines for enrolling in Thesis Colloquium (CCTP-996) completing the thesis in either the Spring or Fall term.

CCT Thesis Timeline

Thesis Registration FAQ's and Continuous Registration

If you take Thesis Colloquium (CCTP-996) but do not finish your thesis in that semester, you must enroll in Thesis Research, Section I (CCTP-999-01) for every subsequent semester until you finish and graduate. (Note: If you take Thesis Colloquium in spring semester, there is an exception; you can continue working on your thesis during the summer term without enrolling in Thesis Research, Section I. There is no charge for completing your thesis during summer term, but you must complete all degree requirements by the start of fall semester to avoid a fee). Fall and spring term registration is $2,750 per term (as of July 2012).

Fall/Spring semester: CCTP-999-01
More fall and spring sections are available depending on your status

Summer Term: CCTP 999-01
You must obtain written approval from your thesis advisor, thesis reader, and the Graduate School to continue your thesis work past the Thesis Colloquium semester (including if you plan to continue your work through the summer after taking Thesis Colloquium in the spring). If approved, you must update your application for graduation by logging into MyAccess and following instructions under Student Records.

Continuous Registration: CCTP-991/992-2
If you are pursuing the coursework option and have finished taking all of your courses but have NOT completed all assignments, you must register for Continuous Registration, Section II (CCTP-991/992-2). Consult the Graduate School Bulletin (2014-2015) for more information on Thesis Colloquium and Continuous Registration.

Keep in mind that all graduate students must complete the M.A. degree for CCT in three years.  Extensions are available in exceptional circumstances.