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Guidelines for the Master's Thesis - MA in Literature, Language, and Theory

Given the centrality of original research and writing to the advanced study of literature, each candidate for the MA degree in Literature, Language, and Theory is expected to complete a master's thesis on the unique topic of his or her choice. The essay, completed under the guidance of a senior faculty member, must be approved by this thesis advisor, another faculty reader, and the graduate program advisor.

A. Choosing the Thesis Topic

A thesis proposal and outline, approved by the thesis sponsor, will be required of the candidate prior to the registration of the topic with the Graduate Advisor. The outline and proposal may be modified during the research and writing period with the approval of the sponsor. The sponsor will notify the Graduate Advisor of any major change.

B. Form

1. The original and one copy of the thesis are required to be deposited, after final approval by the sponsor, reader and Graduate Advisor, in the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Room E812. The original is to be printed on un-punched, white rag content, bond paper, 8 1⁄2 x 11 inch, 16 lb. minimum weight. Erasable bond or other coated papers are not acceptable. The copy must be a clean photocopy.

2. Typed impressions must be clean and dark; the appearance must be neat and professional throughout. Use twelve point type. Any mountings of charts, graphs, photographs, and the like must be done with a permanent adhesive; tape, staples, or other mechanical fasteners are not to be used. Poor photocopies of mounted material are not acceptable. If the insertion of oversize material cannot be avoided, fold such sheets from the right, top and bottom sides to coincide with the 8 1/2 by 11 inch page size.

3. The title page shall bear the following description: Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, Hunter College, the City University of New York. A sample title page may be found here.

4. No ink insertions are allowed except for diacritical marks not accommodated by standard word processing software. Such insertions must be made in permanent black ink. Corrections may be made with an eraser if the result is clean and clear. Striking over or crossing out an error is not permitted.

5. The left margin is to be one and one half inches to permit binding; the top, bottom, and right margins should be one inch.

6. The text is to be double-spaced, except for quotations of more than four lines which will be set apart (single-spaced, indented). Footnotes and bibliography will be single-spaced with double spacing between notes and entries.

7. Pages, including pages of illustrative material, bibliography and appendices, are to be typed and numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals. It is suggested that page numbers on all but the final draft be penciled in lightly, because revisions may be required that shorten or lengthen the typescript.

C. Documentation

For documentation, use the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th Ed. Most bookstores have copies of this book available, as does the MLA website:

D. Initial Submission of Completed Draft

The required date of submission of a first draft to the thesis sponsor shall be determined by the sponsor in consultation with the candidate. This date ordinarily will precede that for the final draft by four to six weeks. The second reader should have at least four weeks to make comments and require revisions.

E. Submission of the Final Draft

The candidate must submit the final draft at least fifteen days before the final date for deposit of the approved thesis in the Graduate Office.

F. Binding Fee

The candidate pays the binding fee of $15.00 for one copy in the Bursar’s Office, room HN 238, and obtains a thesis binding receipt which is then presented to the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences. At this time, two copies of the approved thesis are deposited. After binding one copy, both copies will be retained by the Hunter College Library.

G. Deposit of the Thesis

Check the college calendar in the Schedule of Classes for the final date for deposit of the thesis in the term that the degree is expected to be conferred. A thesis completed and approved during the summer may be deposited on or before August 20 for September graduation. The Sponsor will sign and date, signifying approval, at the bottom of the title page of both the original and the copy of the thesis. A second reader’s signature of approval is also required. The candidate will then take the thesis to the graduate advisor, who after ascertaining that the thesis and approval are in proper form, will sign the Thesis Approval Form, which is available from the History Department. The candidate will deposit the original and one copy of the thesis, the receipt for binding, and the Thesis Approval Form in the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, room E812. The Dean’s Office will complete the Thesis Approval Form and give one copy to the candidate as evidence of completion of the requirement.

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