The MAPH Thesis
MAPH students complete their programs by writing rigorous and focused MA theses. Students prepare their theses under the supervision of faculty members and their preceptors. Although most students choose to make the thesis a scholarly, critical paper, other students write and produce a variety of non-traditional projects. MAPH students have written collections of poetry and novels, made videos and installation art, written and performed plays, produced journalism, curated gallery installations and more for their theses. The range of possibility for the project is wide, even among more straightforwardly scholarly projects. Thus all students begin the process by drafting and reworking thesis proposals, in consulation with their preceptors, and by finding faculty thesis advisors with whom to work on the scope and focus of their projects.
Some MAPH thesis titles from recent years: Sound, Voice and Audition in David Lynch's Mullholland Dr.; Professional Ideology and Dependency Court; Gertrude Stein’s Defamiliarizing Poetics of Domesticity; Andrew Davies and the Adaptation of Narration in Anthony Trollope’s He Knew He Was Right. For more, see our Past Thesis Titles page.
All critical theses are 25-35 pages, exclusive of endnotes and bibliography. The thesis must reflect the student's original contribution to a specific field of inquiry. While a course paper may not be directly submitted as a thesis, such a paper could serve as the basis for the thesis project. A student may also choose to develop a topic independently, apart from her or his coursework.
During the winter, students participate in a non-credit thesis workshop (MAPH 30200) with their precept groups. Students exchange drafts with their peers and workshop their writing in bi-weekly to weekly sessions. In addition, preceptors are available for individual consultations as the thesis workshop progresses. During the spring, students participate in a for credit workshop (MAPH 30400). Preceptors divide their group into subgroups for weekly or biweekly meetings, supplementing this with individual meetings.
Your preceptor is your best source of advice on finding a thesis advisor, but all the MAPH staff are happy to talk with you about this process. When you've found an advisor and s/he has agreed to your thesis proposal, you'll fill out a thesis proposal approval form, which you'll get from MAPH central via email. Get your faculty advisor and preceptor to sign this form, staple your proposal to it, and return it to the MAPH office (Please see the calendar for a list of important dates.)
Your thesis will be graded by your faculty advisor, often in consultation with your preceptor. Your thesis grade will be recorded as the grade for MAPH 30400, Thesis Workshop B, and the title will appear on your official transcript from the University.
Creative theses are projects that take on forms other than the standard ones for critical disciplinary or interdisciplinary work in the humanities. A creative thesis project might mean writing fiction or poetry; working in video and or other visual media; producing a musical composition; or making some other non-traditional intervention in a humanistic conversation.
If you choose to do a creative project you must also produce a piece of critical writing to accompany your thesis. The critical accompaniment need not take the form of a standard essay, but it should offer an engaged and thoughtful response to your creative work. The critical component might, for example, take the form of a piece of criticism appropriate your creative field such as a review essay or a book introduction. You should discuss what form your critical essay might take with your preceptor and with your advisor as well.
The theses of past MAPH students are on file in our Anscombe Student Lounge. You are welcome to browse through them as you wish. If you're looking for a thesis on a particular topic, talk to the Program Coordinator or one of the mentors to see if they can help you. If you take out a thesis to look at it, please don't take it out of the lounge.
We keep examples of past thesis proposals in a binder in the office. Your preceptor may also have some examples that s/he thinks are particularly good. Our Writing Advisor is an excellent resource for thinking through the proposal, the thesis and any writing-related issues.
Important Thesis Deadlines
Week 5 of Winter Quarter Signed Thesis Proposals Due to MAPH Office
Week 4 of Spring Quarter Thesis Draft Due to Advisor and Preceptor
Week 9 of Spring Quarter Final Thesis Due