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Graduate Degree Thesis Information

The Helms School of Government’s graduate degrees give you the option of writing and defending a Master’s thesis prior to graduation. Who should write a Master’s thesis?

  • A student who may go on to pursue a Ph.D. or doctoral degree
  • A student who may go on to a career in which research and writing skills are in demand
  • A student who wants to publish their work

Any student considering the thesis track is encouraged to start thinking about their thesis topic, conducting research, and engaging with faculty who may serve as a thesis chair or reader, early in their program of studies.

Thesis Requirements

You must have completed 21 credit hours and have permission from the Helms School of Government before enrolling in thesis courses.

NOTE: Beginning in Fall 2021, the thesis course sequence will include 3 courses: 688: Thesis Proposal, 689: Thesis Research, and 690: Thesis Defense, with 690 as 0 credit hours. Students on prior academic year DCPs will follow the 689: Thesis Proposal and Research and 690: Thesis Defense thesis sequence.

Regardless of whether your initial thesis course is 688 or 689, in order to gain permission to register for your first thesis course you must complete the Preliminary Master’s Thesis Proposal form and email it to the Helms School of Government departmental administrator listed below for approval.

The Preliminary Master’s Thesis Proposal will ask you for the following information:

  • A proposed title for your study;
  • A purpose statement for your study;
  • The research question(s) you intend to ask;
  • A summary of the methods your study will use;
  • A references Page

After your Preliminary Master’s Thesis Proposal is approved, you will be able to finalize and submit the Application for Enrollment in Thesis Course.

Please note: The Preliminary Master’s Thesis Proposal and Application for Enrollment in Thesis Course will require you to identify a thesis chair and reader. Students may also seek advice from the appropriate Program Director.


Thesis Courses

For students who began their Masters degree in Spring 2021 or earlier, there are two courses in the thesis sequence: CJUS/PPOG/PSCI/INTL/PADM/NSEC 689, Thesis Proposal and Research, and CJUS/PPOG/PSCI/INTL/PADM/NSEC 690, Thesis Defense.

  • 689 Thesis Proposal and Research
    • During this course the student is expected to complete their proposal and secure the approval of their Thesis Committee (chair and reader).
    • The student is also expected to conduct research and analysis during this course.
    • The student will maintain enrollment in the course until Thesis Committee approves advancement to 690, Thesis Defense.
    • Before proceeding to 690, Thesis Defense, the student must secure the approval of chair and reader by completing the Application to Defend Masters Thesis.
  • 690 Thesis Defense
    • Before the student enrolls in this course, the Thesis Committee must determine the student is prepared to present and defend their thesis before the end of the course.
    • During the course, the student may finalize their analysis and prepare their thesis for final presentation. (In no case will students be permitted to enroll in 690 until data collection is complete.)
    • Before the end of the course, the student will defend their thesis in front of the Thesis Committee. Online students may defend their thesis via a mutually agreeable web conferencing software.

For students who began their Masters degree in Fall 2021 or later, there are three courses in the thesis sequence: CJUS/PPOG/PSCI/INTL/PADM/NSEC 688, Thesis Proposal, CJUS/PPOG/PSCI/INTL/PADM/NSEC 689, Thesis Research, and CJUS/PPOG/PSCI/INTL/PADM/NSEC 690, Thesis Defense.

  • 688 Thesis Proposal
    • In this course, students will complete their thesis proposal, which includes a purpose statement and significance, a preliminary literature review, the research design and methodology, and a working reference list.
  • 689 Thesis Research
    • During this course the student is expected to obtain IRB approval for their project, conduct research, and analyze their data.
    • Students will also write and finalize their thesis.
    • The student will maintain enrollment in the course until Thesis Committee approves advancement to 690, Thesis Defense.
    • Before proceeding to 690, Thesis Defense, the student must secure the approval of chair and reader by completing the Application to Defend Masters Thesis.
  • 690 Thesis Defense
    • Before the student enrolls in this course, the Thesis Committee must determine the student is prepared to present and defend their thesis before the end of the course.
    • During the course, the student may finalize their analysis and prepare their thesis for final presentation. (In no case will students be permitted to enroll in 690 until data collection is complete.)
    • Before the end of the course, the student will defend their thesis in front of the Thesis Committee. Online students may defend their thesis via a mutually agreeable web conferencing software.

Writing Center

As a graduate student, you are encouraged to take full advantage of the Graduate Writing Center/Online Writing Center when composing your thesis. These centers provide free services, links to writing aids, and valuable assistance that will help take you through the writing process.

Resource Links


Library


Contact

For more details about the thesis process, see the Helms School of Government Graduate Thesis Guide.

Please contact Faculty Support Coordinator Deidre Akers (dakers3@liberty.edu) with questions, or to submit your Preliminary Master’s Thesis Proposal, Application for Enrollment in Thesis Course, or Application to Defend Masters Thesis.

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