The thesis option in the Justice Studies graduate program involves the formulation of a research hypothesis, which is tested with an appropriate and rigorous methodology. The thesis will include, at a minimum, the normal elements associated with research: an introduction discussing the topic of the research, the research question(s) and its importance to its allied field of study, a review of the pertinent literature, a discussion of the methodology that will be used to answer the research question(s), an analysis of the data collected or conceptual arguments asserted, and a discussion of the findings, conclusions, and recommendations. This format may be altered with approval of the thesis committee to more closely fit the research question(s) and the chosen methodology.
- Establishing the Thesis Committee
The student who pursues this option must have a minimum of a three-member thesis committee. The chair and at least one other member must be members of the Justice Studies faculty. It is the responsibility of the student to assemble a committee of professors who have agreed to serve on the committee. The student’s advisor can assist the student in establishing the committee; however the advisor is not required to be a part of the committee. The committee should be selected upon the basis of the members’ knowledge of the subject of the thesis, the methodology that will be used, and their willingness to serve.
- The Thesis Process
The master’s student will prepare a thesis proposal and present it to the thesis committee. If the proposal is approved the student will conduct the research in accordance with any guidelines established by the committee. Before any data can be gathered that involves human subjects, approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) must be secured. The master’s candidate defends the thesis in an open meeting of the program. The committee may vote to accept the thesis, reject the thesis, or require a modification of the thesis. The outcome is determined by a majority vote of the thesis committee.
The appeal process established by the Graduate School shall be followed in student appeals of a committee decision.