College of Communication > Academics > Communication and Media > Student Resources > Master's Thesis/Project/Exam > Master's Thesis
The MA thesis is an extended piece of academic writing (50-120 pages) that takes place over the course of one academic year. The student will choose a scholarly topic of his/her choice and will negotiate with the thesis chair the appropriate page range for the type of thesis and topic chosen. You can view College of Communication student theses on the DePaul library archive.
A thesis option is available to students holding a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher upon completing 24 credit hours (six courses) in their graduate program.
A student who does not meet the 3.75 GPA requirement may petition to write a thesis by submitting two letters of recommendation from faculty members with whom they have taken classes. The graduate program director will review the letters and decide whether the student is eligible to pursue the thesis option.
AdvantagesWriting a thesis allows you to research and study a topic in depth and produce original academic work. It establishes you as an expert in the area of communication studies.
Thesis TimelineStudents are advised to begin work on their thesis 9-12 months prior to the time they hope to complete/defend their thesis.
Procedure for Thesis
Timeline for Completion of the Research ThesisStudents are advised to begin work on their thesis 9-12 months prior to the time they hope to complete their work. For example, if the completion date is spring quarter, thesis work should begin no later than the fall quarter of the same academic year.
Students pursuing a thesis under the Media and Cinema Studies concentration must adhere to the following formatting guidelines. Students pursuing a thesis under any other concentration should discuss formatting guidelines with their thesis chair.
The student must provide committee members sufficient (i.e., typically two weeks) time to review their work during each phase of the thesis. These "review" periods should be factored into the thesis timeline. The final draft of the thesis must be submitted to committee members at least two weeks prior to the oral defense.
Students should keep in mind that thesis work must be completed during the regular academic year calendar. Students should not expect committee members to be available for consultation outside the regular academic year calendar, i.e., during the winter intercession, spring break or summer recess. If a student does not make significant progress towards the writing, research and completion of the thesis, the student's committee has the authority to determine if the student is allowed to continue with the thesis. If the committee decides to discontinue the thesis, the student must take the comprehensive exam and enroll in a 12th course to fulfill the degree completion requirement.
Thesis Proposal RequirementBy a general standard, your thesis proposal should have four main components:
Thesis Third Quarter ReviewTwo quarters after the student’s proposal has been approved, his/her thesis will go through an official review process and be evaluated by the thesis chair and potentially a faculty member outside of the student’s committee. At the beginning of the quarter, two full quarters after having the proposal approved, the student must turn in copies of the following to his/her chair:
At that point, the thesis chair will determine whether the student is making sufficient progress in terms of both quantity and quality. If the chair decides that the student has not made progress, the student may be rerouted to the comprehensive exam track.
Elements to be considered by the evaluators:
This review process is designed to allow faculty to more closely oversee students’ process, provide timely feedback, prevent theses from stalling out, and to ensure progress toward a final version that is passable during a defense.
Guidelines for Thesis—Public Defense, Grading and FilingPublic DefenseThe final step in the completion of a research thesis is a formal, public defense of the thesis. Faculty, students and other interested parties are invited to attend. The student should work with his/her thesis committee to schedule the place and time of the defense. Thesis defenses must be held no later than the ninth week of the term in which the student hopes to complete the degree. In preparation for the defense, the student is responsible for:
Grading the ThesisThe thesis is graded on a pass with distinction, pass and fail basis by committee members. Following the public defense, the committee members will ask the student and other parties to leave the room so that they can discuss whether the student has successfully completed the thesis requirements. If the student passes, all committee members must sign the thesis completion form stating that the student has met all thesis requirements, passing both the written and oral portions. The form is then provided to the student for submission with the completed thesis to the college. Any revisions required by the committee must be made prior to acceptance of the thesis for graduation. If the thesis is judged generally acceptable, but some work remains to be done, the thesis chair may hold the signature page until the thesis has been satisfactorily completed. The student can then receive the signature page to be placed with the thesis and submitted as required. Your thesis chair will submit your 599 grade. The grades are: pass with distinction, pass, and fail. If the student receives a grade of fail, he/she will be dismissed from the program. Thesis defenses are held during regular business hours. Presentations may be videotaped for educational purposes.
Thesis SubmissionWhen the thesis has been approved by the committee, the student must submit to the graduate chair a final .pdf version of the thesis, the signed Defense Form, a completed Author Submission Agreement Form and a completed Abstract and Keyword Form. The graduate chair will arrange for the electronic archival of your thesis with the university library.