College of Communication > Academics > Digital Communication and Media Arts > Student Resources > Degree Completion Options > Thesis

Thesis

The Master's Thesis allows you to create an original project or write a substantial (75-100 page) written analysis.

The thesis allows you to integrate your studies with more practical applications. For instance, you may choose to shoot a documentary, take on a website project, or work with a community organization to create a media-related project.

You will take two courses to work on your thesis (CMNS 594 & CMNS 595 or CMNS 599, which will take two of your open electives).

Eligibility

  • Must be a student in the DCMA program (Digital Communication concentration)
  • Must have at least a 3.7 GPA upon completing 24 credit hours (six courses)

If you do not meet the 3.7 GPA requirement, you must submit two letters of recommendation to the graduate program director. These letters must be from faculty members with whom you have taken classes. The graduate program director will review the letters and decide whether you are eligible to pursue the thesis option.

Guidelines for Thesis

Paper Overview

If you are writing a paper, you will develop a research plan in consultation with your thesis advisor. The final paper should be a scholarly examination of some aspect of digital communication.

Project Overview

If you are completing a project, you choose the type of project that you want to develop. The project should have a major audiovisual component (i.e. film, video, audio recording, educational program, website, online media content, etc.). You can link the project to an existing organization.

For example, a professional audiovisual project could involve the creation of a website or a short film that addresses a particular issue faced by a media-related organization (profit or non-profit), or it could serve to open up questions related to our culture of media convergence.

While there is no set way to define a professional project or what the tangible result will be, the project must include a written document that reports on your work. You are required to make a professional presentation of the project upon completion.

If you link the project to a media organization, you should make sure that the decision-makers at the organization will provide support and resources to carry out the project.

The original idea for a project and its development are your responsibility. After you define the specific purpose of the project and secure the approval of the organization (if that is the case), you must prepare a project proposal.

Proposal for Papers & Projects

Both the paper and the project should begin with a proposal, about 10-15 pages in length. The proposal should:

  • Describe the purpose and significance of the thesis
  • Include the thesis’s objectives and provide a brief overview of the procedure to realize it
  • Provide a timeline for completion

If you involve an organization, the proposal should include a signed statement from the organization’s representative who has the authority to give you permission to carry out the project on behalf of the organization.

If the thesis requires research involving human subjects, you need to check the Institutional Review Board website to apply for IRB approval.

Once all committee members approve the proposal, you can continue producing your thesis.

Thesis Timeline

You must give committee members enough time to review your work during each phase of the thesis (typically two weeks). You should factor these “review” periods into the project timeline. You must submit the final draft of the thesis to committee members at least two weeks before the formal presentation.

You must complete the thesis work during the regular academic year. Although you may work on your thesis during the summer, you must present your thesis during the Autumn, Winter, or Spring term. You should not expect committee members to be available for consultation outside the regular academic year calendar.

Thesis Presentation & Grading

The final step to complete your thesis is a formal, public presentation for faculty, students and other interested parties.

  • For the written thesis, you should work with your two committee members to schedule the place and time of the presentation.
  • For the project thesis, you will complete the presentations as part of CMNS 595.

After a review of the final thesis, committee members will determine whether you have met the thesis requirements. You must make any revisions required by the committee before the thesis is accepted for graduation.

The thesis grades are: Pass with Distinction, Pass and Fail. The committee members must agree and sign off on a final thesis form stating that you met all the requirements and passed both the written and project portions of the thesis.

Step-by-Step Procedure for Project & Paper

  1. By the time you complete 24 credit hours (six courses), speak to the graduate director about your desire to do the master’s thesis paper. You must request the thesis option by submitting the Degree Completion Option Form by Friday of Week 1 of Winter Quarter.
  2. With guidance from the graduate director, decide which faculty member from the College of Communication will be your advisor for the paper.
  3. Before enrolling in CMNS 594, you will write a 10-15 page proposal that explains your paper, your proposed process and timeline, your rationale for the importance of this paper, and any scholarly foundation that you may need to establish in conjunction with the proposed topic.
  4. Your advisor and the graduate program director must approve the proposal. After gaining approval from both individuals, you must complete a Thesis/Project Approval Form. Your project advisor must sign the form, and then you can submit the form to your graduate academic advisor. Once your academic advisor accepts the proposal, you can enroll in CMNS 594.
  5. In your two final quarters, you will enroll in two project courses (CMNS 594 and CMNS 599). These replace two additional open elective classes. You will enroll in CMNS 594 in the quarter before you enroll in CMNS 599.
  6. By midterm of CMNS 594, choose a second faculty member to work with (at least one from the Digital Communication and Media Arts area). Choose someone who could best guide you on your intended topic, and meet with them. They can help you develop your ideas based upon their ability and willingness to serve on your committee.
  7. Enroll in CMNS 599 (Research Thesis) in the quarter you plan to complete your project. To enroll in this class, you must receive permission from your advisor. Your advisor needs to confirm that you will actually complete the project in the quarter you register for CMNS 599.
  8. After completing your paper, you need to schedule a date with your committee for oral defense. You must present the final completed paper to both members of the paper committee at least two weeks before the scheduled defense. You will print out the Thesis/Project Defense Form and bring it to the defense.
  9. After a successful defense, the committee members will sign the thesis defense form. You may be required to make a few additions or modifications after the defense.
  10. Your project advisor will submit your CMNS 599 grade. The grades are: Pass with Distinction, Pass and Fail.
  1. By the time you complete 24 credit hours (six courses), speak to the graduate director about your desire to do the master’s thesis project. You must request the thesis option by submitting the Degree Completion Option Form by Friday of Week 1 of Winter Quarter.
  2. With guidance from the graduate director, decide which faculty member from the College of Communication will be your thesis project advisor.
  3. Before enrolling in CMNS 594, write a 10-15 page project proposal that explains your project, your proposed process and timeline, your rationale for the importance of this project, and any scholarly foundation that you may need to establish in conjunction with the proposed topic.
  4. Your project advisor and the graduate program director will decide whether to approve your proposal. After gaining approval from both individuals, you need to complete a Thesis/Project Approval Form. Your project advisor must sign the form, and then you can submit the form to your graduate academic advisor. Once your academic advisor accepts the proposal, you can enroll in CMNS 594.
  5. In your two final quarters, you will enroll in two project courses (CMNS 594 and CMNS 595). These replace two additional open elective classes. You will enroll in CMNS 594 in the quarter before you enroll in CMNS 595.
  6. By midterm of CMNS 594, choose a second faculty member to work with (at least one from the Digital Communication and Media Arts area). Choose someone who could best guide you on your intended topic, and meet with them. They can help you develop your ideas based on their ability and willingness to serve on your committee.
  7. Enroll in CMNS 595 (Research Project/Thesis Course) in the quarter you plan to complete your project. To enroll in this class, you must receive permission from your project advisor. Your advisor needs to confirm that you will actually complete the project in the quarter you register for CMNS 595.
  8. After completing your project, you need to schedule a date with your committee for oral defense. You must present the final completed project to both members of the project committee at least two weeks before the scheduled defense. You will print out the Thesis/Project Defense Form and bring it to the defense.
  9. After a successful defense, the committee members will sign the thesis defense form. You may be required to make a few additions or modifications after the defense.
  10. Your project advisor will submit your CMNS 595 grade. The grades are: Pass with Distinction, Pass and Fail.