Thesis Syllabus I - EDUC 684

The Course

This course is intended for Master’s level students to create a Master’s Thesis project and to see it through to the first draft. In this semester, students will select and finalize a thesis committee, submit the thesis proposal, make all necessary revisions to the thesis proposal, and produce the first draft of the thesis. Students will work one-on-one with their thesis advisor and the thesis coordinator to identify times that they will meet and create a plan for communication throughout the process of completing the Master’s Thesis.   

Course Focus

The Master’s Thesis is the culminating assessment in earning the degree of Master of Arts in Urban Education at Rhodes College. As such, it should be treated as a serious and academically rigorous component of the program. Each project is unique to the student completing it, and thus there is flexibility in scheduling, approach, and style that is up to the discretion of the thesis advisor. The thesis component of the M.A. in Urban Education at Rhodes College is meant to demonstrate advanced study and inquiry into a particular facet of urban education in relation to the experiences of candidates in the program. The thesis is a work of original scholarship, designed with guidance from a thesis advisor and thesis committee. A copy of the final project is uploaded to the ProQuest Dissertation and Theses database and added to the College Archives. 

Thesis Committee

Students are responsible for assembling their thesis committee. The thesis advisor should be selected based on areas of inquiry and expertise. The goal is for students to find the professor who is most closely aligned to the field(s) of study relevant to the thesis project. Working with their advisor, candidates will choose two additional members of their committee. At least two committee members must have their PhD. A third committee member may be selected who has alternative demonstrated expertise or who has considerable relevant practitioner experience. At least one committee member must be Educational Studies faculty. All committee appointments are subject to review and approval by the Master's Thesis coordinator and program faculty.

Thesis Proposal

The proposal should explain the purpose of the study or inquiry, including the following sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Review of Relevant Literature
  3. Methodology or Forms of Inquiry

Thesis proposals should be roughly 2,000 words, excluding references. Guidelines for specific requirements of each section of the proposal will be assigned by the thesis advisor. The thesis committee will review the proposal and submit requests for revisions to the candidate as necessary. 

Thesis Proposal Formatting

Length
Double-spaced typed pages, size 12 Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins on all sides. Thesis proposals should be approximately 2,000 words, before references.

Citations:
All proposals must use APA formatting. If you have any questions, consult the APA manual.

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
Be sure to proofread your proposal and strive to avoid any grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. 

Thesis Draft

The thesis should be organized into something like the following structure:

  1. Introduction
  2. Review of Relevant Literature
  3. Methodology or Forms of Inquiry
  4. Discussion/Results/Analysis
  5. Conclusion
  • Appendix(es) [only if required by the project; e.g., curriculum project]

Complete theses should be between 6,000-8,000 words, including references (but excluding any appendices).

Thesis Draft Formatting

See all thesis draft formatting requirements here.

Evaluation of Student Performance

Student performance will be evaluated based on the components listed below. Each element is required in order to receive any credit for the course. (One cannot, for example, skip the thesis proposal and still pass with a 70% in the course. This caveat includes any and all required revisions to the thesis following the thesis proposal.) The final judgment about each of these areas is made by the advisor in consultation with the thesis coordinator and/or other committee members.

Participation 30
Completion, Timely Submission, and Quality of Thesis Proposal 30
Completion, Timely Submission, and Quality of Thesis First Draft 40
Total 100

Grading Scale:

  • A — 90-100 % 
    • achievement that is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements.
  • B — 80-89 % 
    • achievement that is above the level necessary to meet course requirements.
  • C — 70-79 % 
    • achievement that meets the minimum course requirements in every respect.
  • D — 60-69 % 
    • achievement that is worthy of credit even though it fails to meet fully the course requirements.

Grading Timeline: While you are enrolled in this course from January to (early) May, the bulk of the work for this course takes place during the months of (late) March through June 1st. At the end of the grading period, you will be assigned the grade IP (in progress), which is a placeholder until you can complete and submit your thesis first draft. At that point, your advisor will replace the IP grade with the grade for your course.

Course Policies

Participation: Students are required to schedule and attend meetings with their advisor (number of meetings TBD by advisor), respond to inquiries and requests by advisors, committee members, and thesis coordinator (including timely response to all correspondence over email), and attend all core events related to the thesis (e.g., workshops). 

In recognition of the fact that illness and emergencies occur, students are allowed one absence from scheduled meetings/events without it impacting their grade. After the second absence, the participation score will drop to half. After the third absence, a student will receive a zero for the participation score. Four absences will result in an automatic failure of the course. In the event of exceptional circumstances, a student who has had four absences in a single course can request a hearing with the program faculty to consider granting a waiver of this policy. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to notify the instructor as soon as you know and make a plan for a new meeting time. 

Automatic Failing Grade: If a student misses 4 or more meetings, they will automatically receive an F for the semester. See above for examples of excusable absences and requirements for completing missed course work.

Students who do not submit a thesis proposal or first draft will automatically receive an F for the semester.

Tardiness: Please arrive to meetings on time. Tardiness will result in a loss of participation credit.

Late assignments: You are expected to hand in all assignments on time. Failure to do so will affect your grade at your advisor's discretion. 

Honor Code

All submitted components of the thesis must be your own work and completed in accordance with Rhodes’ Honor Code. Students are expected to be familiar with the requirements of the Code and to conduct themselves accordingly in all classroom matters. Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s information or ideas without proper citation. If you have questions about the correct use or citation of materials, please consult with your advisor or the Writing Center. Papers with evidence of plagiarism will be referred to the Honor Council.

Title IX

Rhodes faculty are concerned about the well-being and development of our students and are required by policy to share knowledge of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, sexual exploitation, stalking, sexual harassment, and sex/gender discrimination with the Title IX Coordinator, Tiffany Cox. For more information about Rhodes’s sexual misconduct policy or to make a report, please go here.