Thesis Process and Requirements
Before registering for thesis credits:
- Write a thesis prospectus. The prospectus must at minimum describe the proposed research question, methods of analysis, and estimated timetable for completion. You should consult with faculty members in preparing the prospectus. The prospectus may be based on research you previously conducted at Duquesne. You should begin thinking about and researching a thesis topic in your first year in the program. (Suggested length: 5 double-spaced pages.)
- Submit the thesis prospectus to at least two faculty members for consideration by the designated deadline and ask two faculty members to serve as your thesis committee. In consultation with the committee, choose one of the faculty members to be thesis director. The thesis director has primary responsibility for oversight of the thesis content and process.
- Upon approval of the prospectus and formation of the thesis committee, complete a Thesis Readers Information Form and submit it to the Policy Center's director.
- In consultation with the thesis committee, write a thesis proposal in accordance with the requirements of the Graduate School. Submit the proposal to the committee for approval and signature by the designated deadline. (Suggested length: 10-15 double-spaced pages.)
- If the proposal is approved and if the research involves human subjects, submit the proposal to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) in a timely manner, along with any other necessary IRB submissions (i.e., a plan for protecting human subjects). The thesis director will serve as principal investigator (PI) for all IRB submissions and approvals. However, you are responsible for timely submission and updating of all required IRB documents and approvals, as well as for following all IRB rules and directives.
- If the prospectus and proposal are approved by the stated deadline (and, where necessary, if IRB approval has been received), register for thesis credits (PLCR 700, 3 credits) in the semester in which you expect to complete the thesis (usually the fourth semester in residence).
After registering for thesis credits:
- Follow the University's requirements for the format of the thesis. The thesis should be approximately 60 pages in length (excluding tables, figures, and bibliography).
- Meet regularly with committee members during the research process.
- Submit the draft thesis to the committee for review. Allow at least two weeks for their response. The committee may require further revisions or require a preliminary defense to the committee before the student defends the research publicly.
- With permission, make a public defense of the thesis research. The defense will only be scheduled when both thesis readers agree that the thesis is satisfactory. The oral defense is approximately one hour long, includes both members of the committee and Policy Center's director, and is open to the public. Thesis defenses are ordinarily scheduled only in the fall and spring semesters. Defenses will be scheduled in the summer term only in extraordinary circumstances and with the agreement of both thesis readers and the Policy Center's director. Following this defense the committee determines what additional revisions may be required for the final thesis. All committee members must accept the final version of the thesis for submission to the Graduate School and for publication.
- Submit the accepted thesis and abstract to the Gumberg Library as a pdf document by the date specified in the Academic Calendar for the semester in which you plan to graduate. (The library offers training and resources for this process.)
Generally, you must complete all thesis requirements during the regular academic year. Except by special permission of all committee members, committee meetings and presentations will not be held during the summer.