Skip to Content



March 14, 2018: Suggested Deadline for submitting an approved draft of the thesis to committee members. An approved draft is one that you have revised in consultation with the chair of your committee. 

Please note that March 14, 2018 is the suggested deadline for submitting a draft of your complete thesis to your committee members. Your thesis chair may ask you to meet an earlier deadline.

The following deadlines are set by the Graduate College. 

  Summer 2018 Fall 2018 Spring 2019
Graduation Application June 29, 2018 October 5, 2018 March 1, 2019
Final Date for Thesis Defense July 5, 2018 November 6, 2018 April 9, 2019
Thesis due to The Graduate College July 11, 2018 November 13, 2018 April 16, 2019
Thesis must be approved by The Graduate Collage by 5:00pm. July 25, 2018 November 29, 2018 April 30, 2019
Comprehensive Examination Paperwork * July 31, 2018 December 4, 2018 May 1, 2019

*For Thesis or Non-Thesis students: The comprehensive exam deadline is for paperwork only. If your comprehensive examination is your thesis defense, it must be scheduled and completed by the defense deadlines listed above. Please work with your graduate advisor to make sure you meet all departmental deadlines and other degree requirements.

**This is a replica of The Graduate College website's deadlines. Please consult their website for the most up-to-date deadlines.


A thesis is a document that presents original substantive scholarship or research in your field. Some people compare the thesis to a “research paper,” although the thesis is longer than any research paper you would typically write for a graduate course. In the MARC program, the thesis will showcase your ability to make a meaningful contribution to the scholarly conversation in a particular area of rhetoric and composition. A conventional thesis is organized into chapters and is 60-75 pages in length, excluding the bibliography and any appendices.

You will select the thesis or portfolio option for finishing your degree once you have completed 18 hours in the program. If you choose the thesis option, you will assemble a thesis committee (one director and two readers) and take two 3-hour courses dedicated to thesis work: ENG 5399A (otherwise known as “Thesis A”) and ENG 5399B (otherwise known as “Thesis B”).

Each course has distinct requirements (see Q-A forum below) and may only be taken during long semesters (fall and spring). Most students will take ENG 5399A in the fall and ENG 5399B in the spring. Please note that you may need to take ENG 5399B more than once to finish your thesis satisfactorily.

You will schedule and complete an “oral defense” of the thesis toward the end of ENG 5399B, after your committee indicates that the thesis is ready to be defended. You will then revise again as needed, submit the thesis to the Graduate College for review, and submit the final copy to the library to be bound.

Question-Answer Forum

The following questions and answers will guide you systematically through the entire thesis process. Please read this section carefully as it contains all the information you will need to complete your thesis successfully.

Expand or Collapse all.

Thesis Checklist

Note: Checklist items are not necessarily steps in a sequence. Rather, you will complete many of these activities simultaneously.

__ Assemble a thesis committee

__ Register to take ENG 5399A (“Thesis A”) during a long semester (fall or spring)

__ Write a thesis proposal before or within the first month of ENG 5399A

__ Secure IRB exemption or approval

__ Meet with thesis committee to receive approval on thesis proposal

__ Submit thesis proposal and required forms to the Graduate College

__ Draft and revise thesis chapters in consultation with committee members during ENG 5399A

__ Register to take ENG 5399B (“Thesis B”) during the long semester following successful

     completion of ENG 5399A

__ Apply for graduation at the beginning of ENG 5399B

__ Draft and revise thesis chapters in consultation with committee members during ENG 5399B

__ Schedule and complete an oral defense of the thesis by the deadline

__ Submit any additional revisions required by the committee by the deadline

__ Submit final revised thesis to the Graduate College for review

__ Submit thesis copy approved by the Graduate College to the Library for binding

__ Graduate