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M.A. Thesis Guidelines

Thesis Proposal and Thesis Guidelines

Once a master's committee chair has been selected, a master's candidate must present a thesis proposal to the chair. Only when the chair is satisfied that the proposed topic is academically worthwhile may the student proceed with work on the thesis.

The student is responsible to ensure that both the thesis proposal and the thesis strictly adhere to the guidelines set forth in Penn State's Thesis Guide, The Thesis Guide details acceptable format, paper, fonts and other specifics.

Research Protections

To ensure compliance with applicable federal and state laws, certain University activities require review and approval by appointed institutional review committees. Projects involving human subjects, vertebrate animals, and/or biohazards must obtain review and approval through the Office for Research Protections (ORP) before the project is initiated. This approval is mandatory; failure to comply with this policy may result in retraction of the graduate degree. More information can be found on their web site (


Master's students who have met the minimum requirements for the degree and are completing thesis writing off campus are not required to register for classes. However, all international students should be registered for at least one credit during each regular (fall and spring) semester, even if an exception to full-time enrollment has been approved. International students who fail to register may jeopardize their status.

Thesis Completion

Upon completion of the thesis, the student will seek approval of his/her thesis by the committee before the thesis is submitted to The Graduate School. The committee chair will notify the student and staff assistant when the student has sufficiently met the requirements for an acceptable thesis.