Thesis Information

Theses in the Maritime Studies Program and History are products of the skills students have developed during their time at ECU. The process of developing and writing a thesis requires students to apply the skills that they have learned in the classroom. However, the types of theses written differ between the programs. The MA history thesis is an examination in depth of a well-defined historical subject, such as an event, person, process, or idea. It relies chiefly on primary sources, published or unpublished, to form an argument. This argument may reinforce or take issue with previous historiography. It should possess some degree of original thought on the topic of the thesis, or in its approach to that topic. Theses for students in the Program in Maritime Studies may differ from traditional history MA theses because of the emphasis on archaeological methodology. Such theses, however, must incorporate relevant historical materials—including primary sources—in their evidential bases. They must also pose an argument.

Students should begin to seek an adviser during their first semester within their program. The student should ask a faculty member with interests that mirror their own. For a complete list of faculty and their specialties please consult the Faculty Profiles webpage. The requirements for working with an adviser vary within the department; some require a prospectus before they will sign-off to work with a student. The sooner a student seeks out an adviser and begins work, the sooner the student will finish. For more information about the expectations of a thesis or thesis prospectus please consult the Graduate Programs Guidelines.

Agreement to Supervise Thesis Form: Once a student has chosen a topic, a meeting should be arranged with a faculty member who has extensive training in the area. When the faculty member agrees to supervise the thesis, an Agreement to Supervise Thesis Form must be completed and submitted to the Graduate Programs Assistant in the History Department. Once the form is on file, the student may register for thesis hours and the thesis supervisor replaces the DGS as the student's academic adviser.
**Students in the Maritime Studies MA who hold a GA must also adhere to the Maritime Studies Program policy which requires students to have on file with the Department a signed Agreement to Supervise Thesis Form by the last day of classes of their first spring semester. Students who hold GAs that fail to have a form signed and on file, will lose their second year of GA funding and will not be able to attend summer field school. Students without a GA who fail to file the signed form will not be able to attend summer field school.
Master’s Pre-Thesis Approval Form: Within the first semester of thesis hours after selecting a thesis committee, students must complete and submit the Graduate School’s Pre-Thesis Approval Form to the History Department. A copy will be made for the Department’s files and the original will be sent to the Graduate School. The Master’s Pre-Thesis Approval Form must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School before the student can defend and graduate. The faculty member advising the student should formally ask the committee members to serve. For more information about committee members please consult the Graduate Programs Guidelines.
Which form When: If you are not sure which form you need to turn in please consult the Student Required Forms Flowchart. If you are unsure of forms that you may have already turned in, please consult the Graduate Programs Assistant.
Changing advisors/committee: New forms have to be resubmitted and reapproved.

 • Enrollment: Students are required to take six semester hours of theses, the History Department strongly advises students to divide the hours into two, three-hour sections. Students should be enrolled in on-campus thesis hours for the first six hours. If a student is not able to finish and defend their thesis within the required six-hours, they may be allowed to enroll in an additional credit hour the following semester with the permission of their thesis adviser. Students must be enrolled in thesis hours during the semester they plan on defending (with the exception of summer).
Defending: The thesis defense date is set by your advisor, committee, and you in cooperation. It is advertised via email to the Department list serve. A copy of the completed thesis must lie in the History Office/Eller House for at least one week before the defense. For more information about theses defenses please consult the Graduate Programs Guidelines.
Apply to Graduate: Students should apply to graduate a semester prior to their defense. The Department of History will host a recognition ceremony at the end of the fall and spring semesters in which a student graduates; you may not graduate in a semester unless you defend and submit by the deadline for that semester. Students should not plan on graduating or defending in the summer; maritime students are now allowed to defend their theses in the summer.

ECU offers several resources online and on-campus for students who are working on their thesis. Please see below for a list of helpful links.
Electronic Thesis Submission
Proper Thesis Formatting
Electronic Theses Workshops
Three-Minute Thesis Competition
The Writing Center
Disability Support Services