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Graduate Thesis


One writes a graduate thesis as the culmination of one's graduate studies. In graduate theses, students have the opportunity to showcase the best of what they have learned through their programs, including especially the ways the program has taught them to think and to communicate their thoughts. As a reward for this demonstration of the students' competence in that academic field, the department will award them a graduate degree, which will prove to potential employers or higher educators that they have learned the field satisfactorily. Because of this relationship between one's graduate thesis and one's future endeavors, one should work diligently and should put a more than adequate amount of effort into the thesis.

One principle that will help the student write an excellent graduate thesis is to choose a narrow topic and to research it broadly. The student should choose a topic that has a direct bearing on the field and should locate a niche inside that topic that no one has as yet fully explored, in order that he or she may write a thesis that offers something new and worthwhile to the field.

After having selected a topic and having received approval from the major professor, the student should research it exhaustively. Students usually choose their own deadlines for graduate theses based on the date they intend to graduate, so one may allow plenty of time for completing all necessary research. One should follow all rabbit trails that seem like they could be remotely helpful; for example, if a research source makes a conclusion based on a historical event with which the student is unfamiliar, the student should look up that event in order to understand the source's point. Moreover, if the student is aware of a certain gap in information but cannot fill it through ordinary means, he or she may consider filling it through unusual means, such as writing letters to experts in the field or traveling to academic institutions in order to look through their archives. Research for graduate theses can sometimes be as creative as the topic selection.


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