When students write music theses, they often do so as part of a larger course of study that also involves music performance and possibly music composition. Therefore, a music thesis should be a project that adds to and supports the other areas of one's study within the discipline.
A large portion of relating the music thesis to one's broader study is choosing a good topic; one may do this by identifying the center of his or her course of study and working outwards from there. For example, if a music history student has to perform a piece of music from the Renaissance era and compose a piece that would fit well within that era, the center of study would be Renaissance-era music, and the student should write a music thesis that discusses some aspect of that subject. By contrast, the aforementioned student should probably avoid writing a music thesis on musical instruments from the Ancient Near East unless he or she can specifically relate those instruments to Renaissance-era music.
Students may write music theses in several different categories, including music history, music theory, composition, and style. The categories may intermingle, as long as the student clearly states the thesis idea in the introduction; for example, a thesis writer may discuss the modes upon which the music of a certain period depends, but he or she should not write about music theory in a history thesis without clearly relating it to the period under discussion.
Depending on what type of music thesis the student has chosen to write, the thesis may warrant some unusual appendices. Whereas the theses of other disciplines often contain appendices of additional charts or graphs, music theses may contain appendices of musical manuscripts or even possibly recordings of a piece of music. The student should talk with his or her major professor about how to convey the necessary information in an appendix; the professor may be willing to allow the student to use some non-standard appendix formats, such as a CD insert.