See also: GVSU Guidelines for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations

Students who elect Track 2 must complete 27 credit hours of coursework in the program (including the required core courses) and may then begin work on a thesis. Students must follow these steps in writing the thesis:

  1. Select a thesis advisor and receive the advisor's approval of your topic. The thesis advisor must hold full graduate faculty qualification.
  2. Submit a prospectus (including thesis statement and bibliography) for approval of the advisor and the program director. (See Prospectus Guidelines below.) After the prospectus is approved, the student enrolls in ENG 695, Master's Thesis. A student may enroll for 1-3 credits per semester (a total of 6 are required to complete the thesis) and must enroll continuously for at least one credit each semester (including spring/summer) until the thesis is successfully defended and accepted.
  3. Select two other faculty members (regular or adjunct) who hold either regular or adjunct graduate faculty qualifications for your thesis committee.
  4. Submit a draft for suggested revisions from committee.
  5. Submit a final draft for approval by the committee. The minimum length for the thesis will be 50 pages (double-spaced, not including bibliography).
  6. The format of the completed thesis should follow the University Guidelines for Preparation and Theses and Dissertations: Click Here.


Prospectus Guidelines:

The prospectus gives the student a chance to clarify the topic and present the idea formally to the faculty member who is being asked to direct the thesis and to the program director, both of whom must approve the prospectus before the student enrolls in ENG 695, the thesis course. It is not expected that the argument of the thesis would be worked out completely, but it is important to have a hypothesis and to have done some initial research and thinking before committing a great deal of time to the project.

The prospectus should be approximately 4-6 pages (double-spaced), plus a provisional or working bibliography. It should do the following:

  • Describe a focused topic
  • State a provisional thesis
  • Discuss how this work will fit with some of the existing scholarship on the topic

Once the thesis director and program director have reviewed the prospectus, they may approve it, decline to approve it, and direct the student to consider other topics, or suggest revisions and read it again before making a final decision. Their decision in any case should be given in writing, via mail or e-mail.


Thesis  Front Matter: Include the following in this order: (These pages are not numbered. Page numbering begins with the first page of the text (page 1)). 

Proquest provides additional formatting guidelines under "Preparing your manuscript for submission." User name: dissertations, Password: publish.

  • Title Page (see sample Thesis Title Page (p.21)).
  • Copyright Page (see sample Copyright Page.)
  • Signature Page (signatures of advisers, i.e. thesis committee). This page will be prepared by the M.A. in English office and signed by the committee when the thesis is approved.
  • Abstract (single-spaced, 150 words, see sample Abstract Page.)
  • Dedication (if desired)
  • Table of Contents


After the writing:

  1. Thesis defense. The thesis director will schedule a time for the defense when the entire committee can be present. The student must have registered for a total of at least 6 credit hours of ENG 695 before the defense is scheduled. The defense may be scheduled in summer, fall, or winter terms and should held be at least three weeks before the end of classes for that term. The revised draft of the thesis must be submitted to the committee at least two weeks prior to the defense date. Copies will be made available for other interested faculty members to read.  All English Department faculty will be invited to attend the defense and participate in the discussion. The defense will be open to other English graduate students as observers.
  2. After the defense, the committee may require further revisions. If so, the student will have 30 days to submit the revised thesis for final determination. If the committee votes not to accept the thesis, the student will have the option of changing to Track 1, which would require taking 6 additional credit hours of coursework and passing the Qualifying Examinations.
  3. Once the thesis has been accepted, you may apply for copyright and must submit an electronic copy of your signature page (committee members, plus the dean of your college) to the Office of Graduate Studies for final approval and signature of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Once approved, you will submit a final electronic copy of your thesis to ScholarWorks@GVSU, the university's electronic repository for scholarship (
  4. Contact the Registrar's Office to initiate a graduation audit.


Sample GVSU Masters Theses

Page last modified October 26, 2014