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WKU History Graduate Program - Thesis Option




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Plan A: Thesis Option

Major Steps and Policies for M.A. Plan A:  Thesis Option

1.  Preliminary Preparation and Application to Program

2.  Conference with Departmental Advisor.

3.  Course Requirements

4.  Research Tool -- Language Requirement

5.  Area of Concentration

6.  Time Limit

7.  Grade Requirements

8.  Filing the Graduate Degree Program (Form C).

9.  Admission to Candidacy (Form D)

10.  Writing the Thesis

11. Comprehensive Written and Oral Examinations

12.  Application for the Degree


1. Preliminary Preparation and Application to Program

Candidates for the M.A. degree should have completed an undergraduate major or minor (of at least 18 hours) in history with grade point average of approximately B (3.0 on 4.0 scale). The overall undergraduate grade point average must be at least 2.5.

Applications to the History Department's graduate programs are handled by The Graduate School office ( All  Students must meet the minimum standards for admission set forth by The Graduate School.

Students must sit for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and submit scores to the university as part of their application.  The advanced test in History is not required.

2. Conference with Departmental Advisor

Upon acceptance to the program, and before courses begin, graduate students must contact the History Department's Graduate Advisor for advising. 

3. Course Requirements

Twenty-four (24) hours of course work must be completed with a 3.0 average. Each program is individually planned with the Graduate Advisor.

History 535 must be included in the program of study.

All courses must be taught by members of the Graduate Faculty if they are to count for graduate credit.

Students may take no more than four 400G-level courses.

Transfer Work: A maximum of nine (9) credit-hours for graduate courses work may be transferred from another institution. See the current Graduate Bulletin for a statement of University regulations for transfer work. No correspondence work can be applied toward the degree.

Enrollment Limits: Graduate students may not enroll for more than 15 hours in a semester or 12 hours in a summer term of 11 weeks -- or 6 hours in a term of 5 weeks. Graduate assistants are limited to a total of 9-12 hours per semester.

4. Research Tool -- Language Requirement

The research tool requirement must be fulfilled by demonstrating proficiency in a language other than English.  The Modern Languages Department will administer language proficiency exams.  The research tool must be completed before beginning work on the thesis.

5.  Area of Concentration

Each student must take at least four (4) courses (12 credit hours) in a field of concentration in order to qualify for their M.A. exam.

6. Time Limit

All requirements for the degree must be completed within a period of 5 consecutive years from the date of first enrollment.

7. Grade Requirements

Students must attain an average of B (3.0) in all graduate work to receive a degree. No credit will be given for D work. No credit will be given for excess undergraduate work or work taken as a special post-graduate student.

8. Filing the Graduate Degree Program (Form C)

The Graduate Degree Program (Form C) must be filed prior to or upon completion of 12 hours of graduate credit.

9. Admission to Candidacy (Form D)

Admission to Candidacy (Form D) is acted upon by the Graduate Council after the completion of 12 hours and before the semester of graduation with a 3.0 average and the approval of the student's Advisory Committee and the Graduate Dean. Any course required for the research tool must be completed before Admission to Candidacy is approved.

10. Writing the Thesis

A. The student registers for History 599, Thesis Research (3 hours) and Thesis Writing (3 hours), no later than the semester in which he or she graduates. The grade is "Incomplete" until the thesis is accepted.

B. Faculty Mentor:  The student should choose a faculty member to mentor him/her during the thesis-writing process.   The student must consult with the faculty mentor to develop an appropriate thesis topic.  The faculty mentor must be a member of the Graduate Faculty and will serve as the student's official thesis director.

C. Thesis Committee:  Working with the faculty mentor and the Graduate Advisor, the student should form a thesis committee.  The committee consists of three faculty members.

D. Thesis Proposal:  Before beginning work on the thesis itself, the student will provide each member of the committee with a five-page thesis proposal which (a) indicates the nature and scope of the proposed topic and (b) indicates the major sources of research materials which will be used for the study.

E.  Thesis Proposal Defense:  The student must meet with his/her thesis committee to defend his/her thesis proposal.  The student may not proceed with thesis work until the thesis proposal has been formally approved by the thesis committee.

F. Thesis Writing Process:  The thesis director will work closely with the student as he/she completes each draft chapter of the thesis.  Each draft chapter should be approved by the thesis director as it is written.  Following approval by the thesis director, each draft chapter should be circulated to the entire committee for detailed criticism of form, content and method. Later drafts will also circulate if necessary.

G. Completed Thesis Draft:  A complete draft of the thesis is circulated to all members of the committee at least 45 days before the date of graduation. If the steps outlined above have been followed, changes at this stage should be minor. The thesis will follow the style guidelines of the most recent addition of the Chicago Manual of Style and the formatting guidelines set forth by the Graduate School and Potter College of Arts and Letters.

H. Three copies of the final thesis must be submitted to the Committee and the original must be submitted to the Graduate Dean at least 3 weeks prior to the date of graduation.

I. If not enrolled in graduate course work, the student must enroll in 599c, Maintaining Matriculation, during any semester or summer term in which the thesis is being actively pursued or the degree is attained.

11. Comprehensive Written and Oral Examinations

These are oral and written examinations which cover the student's entire graduate program, including the thesis. Students may not sit for the exams until completion of all requirements for the degree and until a draft of the thesis has been approved. See the Graduate Advisor about scheduling the exams

At least 30 days before the written exam, the student must distribute to exam board members a comprehensive bibliography of all historical works read during his/her course of graduate study at WKU.  If exam board members feel there are deficiencies in the candidate's preparation as evidenced by the bibliography, they may require the M.A. candidate to read more works before sitting for examinations.

12. Application for the Degree

Application for the Degree must be filed with the Registrar by the dates established by the Registrar each semester.

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 Last Modified 9/24/14