Three Credit Thesis

ENG 6010

A graduate student sometimes discovers that he or she would like to continue exploring--at greater length and in greater depth--the topic of a research paper submitted in a particular graduate course taken in the Master of Arts in English Education.  For that student, there is the three credit thesis option.  This extensively revised and substantially developed research paper thereby replaces three credit hours of course work (or one graduate course). This Thesis option is available for program credit in the Master of Arts in English Education, Licensure Concentration, and for Master of Arts in Teaching candidates who understand that it will not count toward program hours.

Students who elect the three-credit thesis option must have

  • completed at least 21 graduate hours without incurring a grade of C or more than two Bs;
  • earned a grade of A in that course research paper to be revised through extended investigation;
  • obtained the approval of the professor in whose course the paper was originally submitted; (This professor will agree to become the advisor for the three-credit thesis, revised research paper.)
  • demonstrated the ability to work independently and to sustain interest in the topic.

Before registering for the three-credit thesis option and in consultation with his/her advisor as well as the program Director, the student and advisor will identify another member of the UNCP graduate faculty to be the second reader for the thesis. The student will submit to the advisor and second reader, a prospectus of approximately 750 words that contains

  • an explanation of the topic that has evolved from the course research paper
  • a tentative argumentative thesis for the extended, revised research paper
  • the research methods that will be used to undertake extensive revision.

This prospectus will be accompanied by the original course research paper and its Works Cited, which now becomes the preliminary bibliography for the extended, revised research paper.  Upon approval of the prospectus, the advisor will submit the  Thesis Advisor Form 1, (available from the Graduate School's website) to the Dean of the Graduate School. .  The student will then obtain from the Director of Graduate English Education the Thesis Committee Form. After filling out this form and obtaining the needed signatures, the student returns this form to the program director.

This paperwork must be completed the semester before the student plans to register for this three-credit thesis course.


The thesis advisor will establish a schedule of sessions and student submissions of annotated bibliography, drafts and/or portions of drafts.  These scheduled submissions and sessions will permit the advisor to make suggestions for revision and/or additional research, and to consult with the second reader.   The deadline for submitting the final draft is at least three weeks before the end of the semester, on a date established by the advisor from the beginning of the course.

Course Product:

The thesis must be at least twice the length of the course research paper, or at least 25-40 pages of text.

  • Content

    • The Introduction to the thesis situates the thesis topic within a relevant review of scholarship and concludes with the student’s claim on the topic.
    • The Body presents the main findings about the topic, possibly presented as answers to the research questions.
    • The Conclusion may advance recommendations based on these findings, and if appropriate, suggestions for future investigation.
    • The Works Cited pages contain at least 15 relevant, high-quality primary and secondary sources, documented in conformity to the current MLA Handbook or other style appropriate to the discipline.
  • Format of final draft
    • Title Page
    • Abstract of the thesis: summary of its topic and most important findings (one page/single spaced)
    • Acknowledgments (if the student wishes to do so)
    • Table of Contents:  titles of chapters or sections
    • The Thesis
    • Works Cited.

The student will submit a paper copy of all documents to the advisor and to the second reader.

Defense and Assessment

Once the student has approval from the advisor and second reader to do so, the student and the committee should arrange with the Program Director a mutually acceptable time to meet for a thesis defense. The venue for the thesis defense is the office of the Director of the Graduate Program (or an alternate venue on request), who may participate in the discussion, but will be involved in the subsequent assessment process only if she or he happens to be the advisor or second reader. During the defense, the student will make a brief presentation introducing the thesis project, and for the remaining time (no more than an hour total), the student will respond to questions from the advisor and second reader. After the defense, the advisor and second reader will confer to decide and assign a grade for the thesis.

In addition to the copy of the thesis presented to the Graduate School, candidates are requested to provide a copy of the final version to be collected in the Graduate Director's office.