MA Requirements

Deadline: To be completed by the end of the spring quarter of the student’s second year.

Each second-year student selects an advisor no later than the beginning of Winter term.  Under the adviser's supervision, a student selects a topic, develops an argument, and writes a thesis.

Requirements: Each student, in order to qualify for the MA degree, must complete all the required coursework, including an independent study with his or her adviser. The minimum residency requirement for the Master of Arts degree is the equivalent of three quarters of full-time registration in courses authorized by the Graduate Faculty for graduate credit.

For more information on the general MA requirements see: http://www.tgs.northwestern.edu/about/policies/masters-degree-requirements.html#residency

Procedure:  The master's thesis committee includes an adviser and 1 or 2 readers.  After a thesis is finalized and submitted to the committee (2 weeks prior to the defense), a student should prepare his/her presentation, which constitutes the Master’s examination. The student presents a 20-25 minute brief version of the paper orally to the faculty and the other graduate students and fields questions from the audience.

Purpose: To guide students through the production of a publishable paper and the presentation of this paper in a simulated conference situation.

Evaluation Criteria: The Master's exam presentation is evaluated on 3 criteria:

1)  written paper (based on the Master's thesis submitted); we expect students to write their paper as if it would be a potential publication;

2)  oral presentation (20-25 min long)

3)  ability to answer questions and argue his/her points in the discussion following the oral presentation.

The master's exam is passed upon the approval of two more faculty members (outside of the Master's committee), assigned by the Director of Graduate Studies.

If a student fails any individual section of this exam, he/she has the opportunity to take it a second time next academic quarter. If a student fails this exam second time he/she is not allowed to continue towards Ph.D degree.