Your MAIS graduate study will work toward the writing of a thesis or a project, integrating different fields of study to thoroughly explore a topic, question or problem in great detail.

Your major advisor will work closely with you in selecting a topic, conducting research, writing and revising a thesis or developing a comprehensive project. Your committee members may also take an active role in directing your research and offering critiques of your written work. All of your committee members must be a member of the MAIS graduate faculty authorized to direct theses.

What's the Difference Between a Thesis or a Project?

Thesis

In general, a thesis can be defined as the written product of a systematic research study of a well-defined issue. The thesis will integrate work from all three fields of study, and will clearly identify the research question, state the major theoretical assumptions, explain the signficance of the undertaking, review relevant literature, identify and justify the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyze the information or data, present and discuss results, and offer a conclusion or recommendation.

Examples of submitted thesis can be seen in the Scholars Archive.

Project

A Project invoves two seperate parts.

1. A project is a significant academic and creative undertaking that demonstrates originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a justification, while integrating work from at least two of the three fields. The amount of work involved for a project and a thesis should be similar. A project may have outcomes similar to those of a thesis. However, the project generally presents a working deliverable that is also a significant scholarly effort. Projects take a variety of forms such as:

  • Writing a novel or short stories
  • Designing a website
  • Producing a film
  • Developing an action plan for an organization
  • Developing a course or instructional manual
  • Displaying a piece of art exhibit
  • Developing a database

The options are wide ranging for a project, and committees can have some latitude in deciding what qualifies.

2. All projects, regardless of the form, should be accompanied by an academic paper that clearly explain the problem or topic you want to address. Your topic and the academic literature regarding this topic will specifically addresses the significance, objectives, methodologies, and theoretical understandings of the topic.