American and New England Studies


A thesis is the traditional exit requirement from a master of arts program; it is particularly recommended for students who plan to go on to advanced graduate work. A thesis involves in-depth research into a limited and well-defined topic and the reporting of the results of that research in an extended, formal paper. American and New England Studies students who elect to write a thesis should choose a topic that relates to their academic interests and to their course work in the program. Moreover, the topic should be defined and/or approached in an interdisciplinary way. There is no pre-determined length for the American and New England Studies thesis, but 75 to 100 pages may be used as an approximation.

Preliminary Proposal

After close consultation with American and New England Studies faculty members, the student prepares a preliminary thesis proposal. This preliminary proposal should contain the following:

  1. Rationale: a description of the scope, nature, and objectives of the thesis and of how the proposed work relates to current research;
  2. Methodology: an explanation of the methods and approaches that will be used in the research;
  3. Sources: a description of the source materials for the project;
  4. Bibliography: a list of secondary works that are related to the topic.
  5. Advisor/Reader: in consultation with the Director of American and New England Studies, the student will select a thesis advisor and a reader. Note: Faculty outside of ANES may be readers but not advisors and must be approved by the Curriculum Committee.

The preliminary proposal must be signed by the advisor and the reader. The preliminary proposal will be reviewed by the faculty Curriculum Committee of the American and New England Studies program. The proposal should be prepared, submitted and approved during the semester before the thesis work is to begin.

ANE 695: Thesis

Once the proposal is approved, the student may register for ANE 695: Thesis (3-6 credits). In most cases an individual will register for ANE 695 over two semesters, taking 3 credits each semester.

Advisor and Reader Supervision

Close consultation with and regular review of written work by the advisor and reader are essential elements of successful thesis work. Both the advisor and the reader should:

  1. discuss the thesis with the student before a proposal is submitted;
  2. review the initial draft(s) of the preliminary proposal;
  3. approve the thesis proposal before it is submitted to the Curriculum Committee;
  4. be consulted as research is being conducted;
  5. read and react to written work as it is submitted.

Decisions about final revisions will be made in consultation with the advisor. After the advisor has approved the final draft, it will be submitted to the reader.


The thesis will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis.