The Master’s Thesis Option (MTO) provides students with the opportunity to differentiate their graduate degree with a coveted distinction in research. To fulfill the requirements for a master’s thesis, a student needs to complete six credits consisting of two courses.

The first semester’s focus is for each student to find a research topic, learn how to approach academic research in an analytical and informed way, collect and analyze research material, come up with a preliminary theoretical framework, and start writing the final product. The format of this class, which is a faculty-led research colloquium, encourages an open discussion among the MTO students in order to create a vital and thriving learning atmosphere. During the semester, students will be able to profit from in-class discussion and other students’ participation by acquiring useful tips and advice on how to better structure and work on their own thesis.

The second semester is mostly individual-oriented. The students will have to work on their final products answering to the research questions they previously decided to tackle. This class still features a few in-class meetings during which students will have the opportunity to present their findings and to ask for their peers’ help and advice.

Finally, these two classes might be supplemented by an additional semester or two of research under the supervision of a thesis advisor, depending on the needs and preference of the students.

When the student is ready to defend his thesis, he will agree on a date and time with a thesis committee consisting of a primary thesis advisor (subject area specialist), a reader and the MTO program director. After the public defense of his work, the student will have some additional weeks to edit and improve his thesis before submitting the final document and have it graded by the thesis advisor in conjunction with the other members of the thesis committee.


Part 1:       A one-semester (three-credits), faculty-led MBA AF 690 Research Colloquium, offered each Fall.
Part 2:       A one semester (three-credits), MBA AF 699 Master’s Thesis Option, offered every Spring. This course is supplemented by an additional one or two semester of research with a thesis advisor, depending on the degree of preparation of student.

The grade for the MTO Thesis course, upon a successful thesis defense, is determined by the thesis adviser in consultation with the Masters Thesis committee. The grade will remain as an “In-Progress” [shown on transcripts with a “Y” designation] up until the student defends their thesis.


Organizing your Masters’ thesis defense will take time – plan on needing four to six weeks of lead-time. There are many advisers and staff involved with the defense process, and it will require planning and coordinating on your part to arrange for them to be together on particular time and date.
Committee Make-up
A typical thesis committee consists of your primary thesis adviser (subject area specialist), a reader and the MTO program director.  Once you are ready to defend your thesis get these three people to agree on a date, time, and place for the defense.
Public Notice of Defense
The student must prepare for public notice of defense. An integral part of the governance for any thesis defense requires that you invite feedback on your research in an open public forum. As soon as the thesis defense is scheduled, the student is responsible for providing the graduate office (Tara Norton and/or Jeff Masse) with all information necessary for them to post a public notice of the defense at least two weeks prior to the scheduled defense. This information includes: the title of the dissertation; names and affiliations of all members of the defense committee; the time, date, and place of the defense; and an electronic abstract (one paragraph) of the project.

Click the link for Updated Deadlines

Theses & Dissertations

Any successful Master’s Thesis Option should consist of applied or theoretical research of the highest caliber, resulting in a significant, coherent body of work, and demonstrate thorough knowledge of both research principles and the subject area.


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