Graduate Programs

Theses, CAPs, and Directed Readings

Thesis vs. Non-Thesis Option

What is the difference between the thesis and non-thesis option of the MA program?

The major difference is the amount of coursework. If you choose the thesis option, you will complete 27 s.h of coursework and at least 6 s.h. of thesis in order to complete your thesis. If you choose the non-thesis option, you will complete 33 s.h of coursework and a comprehensive assessment project.

What is the comprehensive assessment project (CAP)?
You will complete a CAP if you choose the non-thesis option. Each concentration has a set of requirements for the CAP. The option requires an additional 6 s.h. of coursework. You may NOT enroll in thesis hours to help you prepare for this project. In most cases, this project should be completed as part of coursework, and you should consult with your advisor and the concentration areas of the website to learn more about this process.

For examples of a CAP, check out the work of these graduates:

Kevin Welch, MA Technical and Professional Communication

Kourtney Moore, MA Technical and Professional Communication

Tiffany Price, MA Technical and Professional Communication

Florence Michele Abbott, MA Multicultural and Transnational Literature Studies


Do I have to register for English 7000 if I need to take thesis hours?
Yes, at least 6 s.h. of ENGL 7000 are required for MA students writing a thesis.

Do I need to register for thesis hours in the semester I graduate?
If you have registered for thesis hours in a previous semester, you do not have to register for thesis hours in the semester you graduate, BUT you must be registered for a course in the semester you graduate.

Do I need to be registered in the semester I graduate?

Is English 7000 a regular class?
No. English 7000 does not require class face-to-face meetings designated at a specific time. However, you are required to regularly communicate with your thesis director and committee members. You should seek approval from your thesis director to be registered for thesis hours.

Will I receive course credit for thesis hours?
Yes. However, you will receive a S or U for your work on the thesis for that semester.

When should I register for thesis hours?
You may register for thesis hours in the semester after you have completed or during semester in which you are completing your coursework. You are required to have a minimum of 6 hours of ENGL 7000 to graduate.

Do I have to register for thesis hours in the summer?
If you have completed all coursework and were registered in the spring semester, you do not have to register for anything in order to graduate. Please refer to the graduate catalog under the “continuous enrollment” section for further details.

What are directed readings?
Directed readings, or independent studies, are courses in which a student works directly with a faculty member outside of a classroom setting. A student and faculty member together determine the reading list and assignments. Directed readings are meant to allow students the opportunity to study materials that are not regularly taught in other classes.

Who should I ask to direct the directed reading?
You and your advisor, and perhaps the Director of Graduate Studies, should determine the best faculty members to supervise this research. Much of the decision will be based on the subject of your research.

What is the process of registering for a directed reading?
Once you and a faculty member have agreed to work together, you must fill out a form, available in the Office of Graduate Studies. The form is then emailed to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval. Once approved, it is listed as a course. You must receive approval and have the course listed in order to get the appropriate credit.