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Thesis Information for Philosophy Students: Department Policies

PHIL 8999: Thesis Research

When working on your thesis, you must register for PHIL 8999.  PHIL 8999 is not an actual course you attend, but rather credit for which you register that declares that you are working on your thesis. In order to fulfill the department requirements, you must register for a total of six hours of PHIL 8999 (these hours can be taken over the course of two or three semesters).

Before registering for PHIL 8999, you must complete and email the Thesis Research Application Form to your thesis director/advisor.

During the first three hours of thesis research, you are expected to write and have approved by your thesis committee a thesis prospectus, as explained below.

Thesis Prospectus: Info From the Department of Philosophy

All students must submit a thesis prospectus before they begin work on their thesis (usually, no later than the first week of your second Fall Semester). The thesis prospectus is a tool to help ensure that your thesis topic is viable and your work on the topic productive.

  1. A title for the thesis.
  2. A brief description of the subject of the thesis and of the main conclusion or conclusions that you will argue for in the thesis.
  3. An outline, chapter by chapter, of how the thesis will be structured.
  4. A listing of the classes you have taken, and with whom, that you think will be fairly directly relevant to the issues you will be exploring in your thesis.
  5. A bibliography of the works you plan on consulting during your research for the thesis.

The prospectus should be brief; no more than 3 pages double-spaced for 1-4, and no more than 2 pages for 5.

When you first sign up for thesis research, you are expected to consult with your advisor in order to develop the prospectus as a basis for further work on the thesis. Because of this, you should normally take no more than one semester of Thesis Research prior to finishing the prospectus. You will show all of the members of your committee a draft of the prospectus and get their feedback on it. Then you will revise the prospectus in light of their suggestions and have them sign the revised prospectus, along with the registration form for PHIL 8999, in order to register for subsequent semesters of Thesis Research.

In (hopefully rare) cases in which you completely change topics and advisors, you may sign up for Thesis Research again without a completed prospectus, in order to develop the prospectus for the new topic.

Note: Your prospectus is not a binding contract. It is expected that by the time a thesis is completed, its structure or conclusions might be significantly different than you envisioned at the start of the process.

For more information on the prospectus, visit the following page:

Thesis Draft Deadlines: Info from the Department of Philosophy

Writing and defending a thesis is the culminating experience for Georgia State University students in the philosophy M.A. program. In their thesis, students develop a piece of their philosophical writing, creating multiple drafts in response to comments from a variety of philosophical viewpoints, and then orally defend their thesis.

As one of the central purposes of the thesis is to allow students the opportunity to revise and refine a piece of writing more than is possible with a paper written for a class, the thesis is not a work which is submitted for the first time immediately prior to the oral defense.

In order for the thesis to serve its purpose and be a profitable experience for the student, multiple drafts of the thesis have to be circulated in a timely fashion. Therefore, the Department has developed the following minimum requirements for successfully completing the thesis. Students are strongly encouraged to write more drafts than required.

1. A student must have the prospectus approved by the thesis committee prior to registering for PHIL 8999 in the semester in which you will finish your degree requirements. Because students normally draft the prospectus in PHIL 8999 the previous semester, you should sign up for three hours of Thesis Research at least a semester prior to the semester in which they plan on finishing up; e.g., sign up for PHIL 8999 in Fall 2014 at the latest if you plan on graduating Spring 2015.

Students must have a thesis research authorization form approved in order to sign up for Thesis Research. Students should e-mail this form to their thesis advisor no later than the Monday prior to the start of classes. Students who miss this deadline will need to have their advisor submit a manual add request, and they will be responsible for paying the manual registration fee.

2. A first draft of the whole thesis must be given to the thesis advisor by the date indicated below. The thesis advisor will then discuss with the student what revisions need to be made to this draft before it is ready to be distributed to the other members of the thesis committee. It may sometimes take several rounds of revisions before a thesis is ready to be distributed to the full committee.

3. With the advisor's approval, a draft of the thesis must be circulated to the thesis committee one month prior to your defense.

4. After getting feedback from the full committee, the student will meet with the advisor to discuss what changes to make to the thesis. Again, it may sometimes take multiple drafts before the advisor decides that the final draft is ready to be distributed. At their discretion, other members of the committee may request to see a revised version of the thesis between the draft of the thesis first circulated to the full committee and the distribution of the version of the thesis to be defended.

5. The version of the thesis which a candidate will defend must be given to all members of the thesis committee by the date indicated below.

Department / University Deadlines to Graduate in a Timely Manner
There are (somewhat confusingly) two sets of deadlines each semester. That is because Georgia State has two different sorts of deadlines.

1. Deadlines to complete work within a given semester and graduate the next semester (you will not need to register for the semester in which you officially graduate):

  • Prospectus Approval: The Monday before classes begin
  • Draft to Thesis Advisor: The W deadline for that semester (generally halfway through the semester)
  • Upload draft of thesis for formatting review by the date set by the College of Arts & Sciences: Usually the mid-point of the semester. Note: you do not need to upload your completed thesis, just whatever you have finished up to this point, including all title and cover pages.
  • Draft to Full Committee: 1 month prior to the defense
  • Version to be Defended: Last day of class
  • Defense: Last day of final exam period
  • Upload thesis to ScholarWorks: Prior to start of classes the subsequent semester

2. Deadlines to complete work and graduate within the same semester:

  • Prospectus Approval: The Monday before classes begin
  • Draft to Thesis Advisor: 2 months prior to the defense
  • Upload draft of thesis for formatting review by the date set by the College of Arts & Sciences (usually, by the mid-point of the semester). Note: You do not need to upload your completed thesis, just whatever you have finished up to this point, including all title and cover pages.
  • Draft to Full Committee: 1 month prior to the defense.
  • Version to be Defended: No later than one week prior to the Defense date
  • Defense: At least one week prior to the upload deadline.
  • Upload thesis to ScholarWorks by the deadline set by College of Arts & Sciences (varies by semester, but about 2 weeks prior to the last day of classes).

Please note that the thesis advisor has the prerogative to set earlier deadlines than those above; e.g., that the defense must be held by the last day of classes and the version to be defended circulated to the full committee at least a week prior to the defense.

Faculty may not be in town during the summer and therefore students may have to submit materials in advance of these deadlines.