Writing a Thesis

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If you are interested in applying for the 30-hour thesis option, you must:

Discuss your thesis idea with a member of the faculty who has expertise in the field. (Please note that your thesis topic must fall under the purview of your major thematic track.) Once a faculty member agrees to direct your thesis, you will prepare a thesis prospectus.  A prospectus is a formal statement defining the scope, aims, methods, sources, and significance of you project. In the prospectus, you should address existing secondary literature around your topic and discuss how your work will make an historiographical intervention. How is your work different from that of previous scholars? What distinguishes your thesis project?  The thesis prospectus should include a preliminary bibliography of primary and secondary sources. It should also persuade your thesis director that enough original research material exists to support the project. 

While you are preparing your prospectus, you will work together with your thesis director to establish your thesis committee. Thesis committees are comprised of three faculty members (including the thesis director, who shall chair the committee).  Thesis chairs and committee members are responsible for reading the thesis and providing feedback and comments on your work.  Please complete the Appointment of Thesis Committee form and submit it to the Director of Graduate Studies in History by April 1 (to begin Thesis I in the fall semester) or November 1 (to begin Thesis II in the spring semester). 

Once your thesis committee is formed, they must approve your prospectus. Attach it to the Thesis Prospectus form and have the members of your committee sign off on it. This form and the actual prospectus are due to the Director of Graduate Studies in History by April 1 (to begin Thesis I in the fall semester) or November 1(to begin Thesis II in the spring semester). 

 After the Prospectus has been approved by your Thesis Director and the History Department Chair, it will be sent to the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for Final Approval. For more information on Thesis preparation see the Graduate Studies page entitled, Thesis and Dissertations: Guidelines and Tools.

Enrollment in Thesis I

Once you begin researching and writing your thesis, you must register for HIST 6098. After completing three hours in HIST 6098, you must enroll in HIST 6099 until you complete your thesis. Under APS 930129, once a student enrolls in a thesis course, he or she must enroll in such a course each subsequent spring, summer, and fall semester until the project is successfully completed.


Writing the Thesis

Plan to submit each chapter to your Thesis Director as you complete it, since most professors prefer to make comments and have you revise each chapter before allowing you to move forward with the work. Please establish a system that works best for both of you.

Expect heavy editing, just as you would with a published work. Please communicate with your Thesis Director at every opportunity. You should complete the Thesis well in advance of all University, College and Departmental Deadlines.

Deadlines are posted on the University Academic Calendar.

Sample Prospectus 

Sample Prospectus 

Thesis Defense

Once the members of the committee have read the manuscript, you will need to arrange a time convenient for all the members of the committee to gather for the defense. Unless otherwise notified, defenses will take place in the History Department Conference room or via Skype. During the defense, the student will be expected to answer all questions relating to the topic of his or her thesis.

If the director and committee approve the thesis, you will be expected to make any corrections required before sending the Thesis forward.  Once the Thesis is approved, please complete a routing sheet signed by all of the members of your committee and submit the thesis and routing sheet to the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences—and to the Library, where the manuscript will be checked for margin widths and binding. Please see the Thesis/Dissertation Guidelines/Manual at the Graduate Studies Current Students webpage. The SHSU Graduate Studies webpage has further information on Routing Sheets and necessary paperwork for graduation approval.  ​


SHSU History Theses 


Michelle Balliet

  • Title: “Runaways and the Río Grande River: The Texas Underground Railroad to Mexico and Mexico's Resolve to Uphold the Río Grande River as a Line of Resistance to Slavery, 1836-1861.”
  • Committee: Maggie Elmore (chair), Charles Heath, Bernadette Pruitt

Raymond Scherrer

  • TItle: “Who Lost Missouri? The Uneasy Alliance Between the Missouri State Guard and the Confederacy, 1861-1862”
  • Committee: Brian Jordan (chair), Ben Park, Thomas Cox ​

Breelin Shafer

  • Title: “The Lively Experiment: Roger Williams, Rhode Island, and Religious Freedom”
  • Committee: Thomas Cox (chair), Jeff Littlejohn, Ben Park

Jeanna Strickland

  • Title: “Effects of Imperialism on British Society: How Cultural Interactions and Social Adaptation Created a New British Identity”
  • Committee: Sarah Mass (chair), Thomas Cox, Stephen Rapp

Caleb Southern

  • Title: “’Physicians of the Public Weal’: Jefferson Davis, his Cabinet, and Confederate Identity, Nationalism, and Morale” 
  • Committee: Brian Jordan (chair), Thomas Cox, Nancy Baker

Riley Sullivan

  • Title: “Tennessee’s Long Civil War: The Study of Memory in the Tennessee Civil War Veteran Questionnaires”
  • Committee: Brian Jordan (chair), Jeff Littlejohn, Ben Park