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Thesis Guide

Info for master's students planning for, working on, and submitting their theses and dissertations

Once accepted, your thesis will be uploaded to the ProQuest database Dissertation & Theses Abstracts Online (see below), where it will be discoverable by PSU students, faculty, and staff as well as patrons of other institutions.  

Please note: your permission is required in order for us to upload your thesis.  Please include a signed copy of the permission form when you submit your thesis.

Master Thesis Guide

Congratulations! You are now ready to begin writing your thesis. You have put considerable time and effort into your program of study and completed original scholarly work that must now be documented. The primary purpose of a thesis is to learn the processes of scholarly research and writing under the direction of your graduate committee. After graduation, the thesis will serve as a published contribution to knowledge, useful to scholars and general audiences. The purpose of this document is to outline the formatting requirements of your thesis.

Therefore, the College of Graduate Studies, the Lamson Library, and the Graduate Faculty of Plymouth State University have established format standards that a thesis must meet before it receives final approval as a fulfillment of a graduate requirement. This publication sets forth those standards. Some of these thesis requirements are purely technical; others have been established to ensure that certain vital information is presented in an orderly, uniform manner. The format is designed to allow for maximum flexibility in minor matters, which vary among academic disciplines (e.g., reference styles). Thus, while you will need to comply with the specifications given here, you will probably also need to consult a specialized manual of scholarly style in your field or the style sheet of a leading journal.

The student and thesis advisor is responsible for certifying that theses have been prepared in accordance with the regulations in this guide. The text should be proofread and free of grammatical errors and typos. For support with editing, students may contact the Writing Center. The thesis author bears ultimate responsibility for meeting all of the formatting and style requirements set forth by the University and the graduate thesis committee.  If format errors exist, the thesis will be returned and possibly delay graduation.  It is extremely important that the author carefully review and proofread the thesis before the final submission to the Library as changes will not be permitted after submission. Please arrange to drop off your thesis by making an appointment with Lamson Library personnel. (See Library Submission.)

The overall thesis format can be either manuscript or standard style. In academic areas where research is published in the form of journal articles, you and your advisor may choose to have the format of the thesis approximate that of a manuscript to be submitted for journal publication. In this case, the main body of the thesis, for example, may be relatively brief, with sections such as the literature review or future research directions placed in separate chapters or as appendices. Tables and figures whose importance to the text is tangential may also be handled as appendix material, or the thesis may consist of chapters that are essentially separate journal articles.