Italian Studies MA Thesis Work Plan

Writing a Master’s Thesis is a long-term project that requires independence, intense commitment, careful planning and constant communication between the student, the Thesis Advisor and the DGS.

Students should become familiar with the research conducted by the faculty members of the department and start thinking of a possible thesis topic even before the beginning of their courses. By the end of the first semester, students are assigned an advisor and begin reading primary and secondary sources in their fields. By May 15th, they must submit a 500-word proposal in which they explain the choice of the thesis topic, provide a preliminary outline of the work, and list a substantial bibliography.

By September 30th of their second year students must have a title and write 1500-word proposal. The proposal must be written in both English and Italian. They must turn the proposal in to the graduate school using the Thesis proposal form.

Students are expected to consult and meet regularly with their advisors, who will foster effective thesis writing techniques, recommend appropriate resources, and establish deadlines for the submission of different sections of the thesis. Students who miss these deadlines or submit substandard work do not make satisfactory progress towards the completion of their degree.

The final manuscript must be submitted electronically to the Director of Graduate Studies and the Thesis Advisor by April 10th. All pages should be numbered, except for the front page and the table of contents.

The front page should contain the thesis title, the phrase “A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Arts in Italian, Georgetown University,” the expected semester and year of graduation, the candidate’s name and the advisor’s name.

The second page should contain the table of contents. For footnotes, endnotes and citation standards, students should follow a standard scholarly format like the MLA Handbook or the Chicago Manual of Style.

Please refer to the guidelines on the Graduate School webpage.                       

Students are also required to give a presentation before a small group of faculty members and peers. During the presentation (“defense”), which should last from fifteen to twenty minutes, students must discuss their methodology, the distinctive features of their work, and the results they have achieved. They may choose whether to use programs such as Power Point or Prezi. The Faculty will ask additional questions and evaluate both the presentation and the thesis in order to decide whether pass it and to award the “distinction.”  In case additional changes are necessary, students must submit the revised version to their advisors to get the final approval.

The research standards and expectations for a Master’s Thesis are very high. A student who receives a distinction is supposed to have performed at the highest possible level. The Master’s Thesis is expected to provide evidence of original research and strong analytical skills. Students should carefully investigate what the existing scholarship has produced on their topics, and offer innovative and sophisticated arguments in a well-defined theoretical framework.

After successfully defending their theses, students are responsible for turning in the following forms to the Graduate School:

“Examination Report Form (the DGS will obtain this from the Graduate School”