Thesis Guidelines

Thesis Prospectus: A thesis prospectus is a 10-15-page thesis proposal in which the student identifies the topic and sources of the thesis and locates their work within the relevant historical literature, broadly defined. The prospectus should include a bibliography of the historical literature on the student's topic as well as the primary sources that have been identified. An approved prospectus is a prerequisite for registering for History B9900 Thesis Research. The student may complete the prospectus in the context of an independent study with their thesis adviser or in the HIST B2321: Research Colloquium. A copy of the approved prospectus must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for filing with the Department.

The Thesis in History: The master's thesis is a longer research paper that is grounded in primary sources. In most cases it is expected, although not required, that the student will consult and cite a body of primary sources in the language of their field of study. In the case that the student has not yet acquired proficiency in the language of their field, the student may employ other primary sources—such as English-language sources and/or translated editions of foreign-language sources by noted scholars. The body of the thesis should contain an introduction, titled sections, a conclusion. All sources must be cited in footnotes that employ Chicago style. The thesis should also include a bibliography of all the sources cited in and consulted for the work, both primary and secondary. The thesis should be an original piece of scholarship that conforms to both the disciplinary norms and stylistic rules of the historical discipline. The thesis must be approved by the thesis adviser, a second reader, and the Director of Graduate Studies. The thesis is written in the context of HIST B9900 Thesis Research and may also be workshopped in HIST B2321 Research Colloquium.

Adviser: The student should choose an adviser for the thesis who teaches in their field of study, broadly defined. The thesis adviser functions as the student’s project-mentor and is responsible for not only guiding the thesis-project but also certifying its successful completion. The terms of the mentor-student relationship differ between each student and each adviser.

Second Reader: The student must also obtain a second reader for the thesis and should do so in consultation with the thesis adviser. The second reader may only be asked to read a final draft of the thesis and, if it meets with their approval, certify it by signing the thesis cover sheet. The second reader may also be a good resource for bibliographical information, ideas, and criticism, from which the student could profit in the process of conceptualizing and drafting the thesis.

Length and Format: The thesis should be approximately 40-60 pages. The thesis should employ a 12-point font, its margins should be 1 1/2 inches, and its pages should be numbered consecutively.

Title Page and Table of Contents: The thesis should have a title page and a table of contents. The title page should bear the title, the author's name, the adviser's name, the date, and the statement, "Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts of the City College of the City University of New York." The table of contents should list the sections of the thesis, from Introduction through Bibliography, and should follow Chicago style.

Certification and Submission of Thesis: Upon the acceptance of the thesis, both the adviser and second reader of the thesis should be asked to sign and return to the student the “Certification of Completion of Master’s Thesis Requirements,” available under the “Forms” tab on this site. The student is responsible for obtaining the electronic signatures from their readers. The signed “Certification” is then submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies along with a copy of the certified master’s thesis for a final review. Once approved by the Director, the thesis must be uploaded by the student to Academic Works to fulfill the research requirement of the thesis track for graduation: credit for HIST B9900 Thesis Research and graduation clearance are withheld until the master’s thesis has been uploaded. The deadline for the submission of the thesis to Academic Works is set by the Division at the start of each semester. (For the Divisional deadline, see the “Graduation Checklist” on the site of the Humanities Division.) The candidate for graduation must notify both the Director of Graduate Studies in the History Department and the Graduate Adviser in the Division of the Humanities of the submission of the master’s thesis to Academic Works to ensure their timely receipt of credit for the thesis.