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The Thesis

Thesis Advisory Committee

As part of the required Research Workshop (HIST 8900), the student will select a thesis advisory committee of three faculty, a majority of whom must be from the department, and approved by the graduate program coordinator. For advice on assembling a committee, see the graduate coordinator. The thesis advisory committee will approve the student’s graduate degree curriculum, supervise the thesis, administer the final examination, and initiate the recommendation for awarding of the degree. One member of the committee is designated as the chair or major advisor and normally directs the student’s thesis, with the input of the rest of the committee.

The committee may also include a fourth reader of the thesis from outside Clemson University. Such a person would not be a member of the thesis advisory committee but only read the thesis and act in an advisory role to the student and major advisor directing the study. If the fourth reader wished to do so, he/she could sign the completed thesis along with the committee on a line marked “Reader.”

When the thesis advisory committee has been chosen by the student, he/she must complete a graduate degree curriculum (Form GS 2) signed by each committee member. The curriculum is then submitted to the department chair and the college dean for approval and is forwarded to the Graduate School for approval. If a student wishes to change his/her thesis committee before the GS 2 is submitted, it is only a matter of asking a different member of the faculty; afterward the form has been submitted a new GS 2 must be filed.

The Thesis

Once the student has selected a thesis topic in his/her field of interest, the student should submit a brief prospectus for approval by the thesis committee and the graduate program coordinator. The prospectus should be typed and double spaced, and should outline the goals of the thesis and list the principal sources, both original and secondary, to be used for the research. Failure to submit a prospectus and have it approved by the end of the first year of graduate study could result in delay of completion and graduation. The final grade in the initial semester of enrollment in 8910 will be withheld and the GS 2 form will not be signed for any student who does not have a committee and a completed and signed thesis prospectus by the end of the first year, or its equivalent, in the program.

The thesis has no fixed length, although normally topics should be subject to adequate treatment in an essay of 70 to 125 pages. Students must prepare the manuscript in a style acceptable to the department and Graduate School; information on the preparation of theses at Clemson University may be found online at the Graduate School website.

Although one member of the committee plays the role of major advisor, the thesis is a committee-run process. All members will have input in the final draft. To that end, the student will provide each member of his/her committee with a copy of the thesis for initial review well not less than four weeks prior to the final examination and defense of the thesis. Committee members should normally complete the initial review in three weeks or less. Failure of a committee member to complete the initial review within six weeks may result in his/her replacement. A second review after revisions should be completed in one week, with provisions being available for additional time. Failure to provide all committee members with a complete and revised draft by November 1 (for fall semester) or April 1 (for spring), at the latest, will mean that the department will not schedule the final examination for the current semester. Special attention must be given by the student to the possibility that one or more of the committee members will not be available during the summer months (May 15–August 15) for the final examination or even for review of the thesis draft. In order to graduate in August and schedule the final examination for the summer months, the student must have submitted a complete draft to all committee members no later than the end of the preceding spring semester.