Thesis or SRP (Substantial Research Paper)

  • Students may opt to do a thesis or SRP (substantial research paper) for a total of 4 credits maximum. Both options require registration for MFJS 4995 for a maximum of 4 credits.

    To begin work on the thesis, the student must first choose an area of research interest and develop a research question that will guide the thesis research. At that time, the student should also choose a thesis/SRP advisor with expertise in the student’s interest area. The advisor will help the student to focus the research question and may suggest additional readings or coursework that will help the student develop the thesis project. 

    Students should review the process and policies for the master’s thesis in the Graduate Bulletin. Students can find “Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Guidelines,” “Thesis Oral Defense Information,” and “Thesis/Dissertation Submission Instructions via ETD” under the “Thesis and Dissertation Information" tab on the Office of Graduate Studies website. Students planning to write their thesis or SRP while not taking other classes should see the Continuous Enrollment Policy (listed below).

  • Thesis Process

    The student should meet at least twice with the thesis advisor to finalize a research question and outline the entire project. The student should then begin work on a preliminary proposal to be reviewed by the IIC Graduate Committee, which should include a brief summary of the following: research problem or question, theoretical framework, preliminary literature review, and methods. The committee will review the proposal and the student’s course record (including grades), consult with the student’s advisor and instructors of courses related to the thesis, and make a recommendation to the student on doing a thesis. If the committee recommends against the student doing a thesis, the student may opt to do an internship or other course work. A student has the option to revise and resubmit the preliminary thesis proposal one time.

    Once the preliminary proposal has been approved by the IIC Graduate Committee, the student and advisor will need to select a thesis committee, which includes the advisor and a minimum of two other committee members (at least one Media, Film & Journalism Studies, and one from Korbel; the third may be from either area) who will read the formal research proposal and the final report. These additional members should be contacted and asked if they would be willing to serve on the thesis committee.

    Having formed the thesis committee, the student should begin work on a formal thesis proposal. The exact form of this proposal will be outlined by the thesis advisor and will vary according to the thesis topic, the specific problem being studied and the methodology proposed to explore that problem. All proposals should include the following (the order may vary): (1) a general introduction to the thesis topic; (2) an explication of the problem(s) the research will address (i.e., the purpose of the study); (3) a review of the literature related to the stated problem; (4) a clear and succinct statement of the research questions or hypotheses the thesis will address; (4) a discussion of the research methods that will be used to explore the questions or hypotheses; (6) a description of the material or data that will be examined in order to suggest answers to the research questions or to test the hypotheses; and (7) if appropriate, a discussion of the contributions the study will make to the existing discourse on the thesis topic.

    The student will need to convene the thesis committee for a proposal meeting following completion of the proposal. The committee members should be presented with a draft of the research proposal two weeks prior to this meeting. At the meeting the committee members will question the student on the project’s theory, design, and research methods to ensure that the project is rigorous and of appropriate scope. 

    Revisions to the proposal may be required following this meeting, but once the committee has approved the proposal, the student may regard it as a contract. An approved proposal outlines specifically what procedures the student must follow to complete the thesis requirement; no committee member may fault the student for the study’s design when the thesis is complete (providing the student follows the approved plan, such concerns must be addressed at the proposal meeting.

    Following approval of the research proposal, the student may then proceed to conduct the research described in the proposal, then report and discuss the results in the final written thesis report. The format of the thesis should follow the guidelines developed by the Office of Graduate Studies exactly.

    Formatting Guidelines

    See the Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Guidelines document on the Office of Graduate Studies website. The student will defend the thesis research before the committee shortly before completion of the degree. The Office of Graduate Studies must be notified of the defense three weeks prior to the date, using a form available on their website. As with the proposal, the student should deliver copies of the final report to the committee members at least two weeks prior to the defense.

    At the thesis defense, the student may be questioned on interpretation of the results, methods used, any additional unanticipated findings, and the implications of the study. Committee members may require revisions of the thesis. Once the final revisions are completed, three copies of the thesis are required; one copy must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies, following their instructions. Also, the student is required to file one copy with the department and one copy with their master’s thesis advisor.

    Electronic Submission of Theses and Dissertations

    As of 2008, all theses and dissertations must be submitted electronically to the University of Denver. The electronic submission process eliminates the need to print these documents for final submission and allows students to pay for their submissions online with a credit card. 

    Following the oral defense and after receiving confirmation from their advisor that their dissertation/ thesis is ready for publication, students must officially submit their dissertation/thesis to an online submission site, ETD Administrator. ETD Administrator will guide students through each step, but the steps are also listed in in the “Submitting Your Dissertation/ Thesis via ETD Administrator” on this website. After the document has been submitted, ETD Administrator will send an email to the Office of Graduate Studies, which will then review and approve the formatting of the document to ensure that it meets DU’s standards and send confirmation once the submission is complete. 

    In instances where students would like to receive a hard bound copy of their thesis/dissertation, DU has maintained a relationship with the Denver Bookbinding Company. Students may submit up to six printed copies of the complete document (in separate boxes) for binding to the Office of Graduate Studies. The cost to the student is $15 per copy, with additional charges for documents over two inches thick. After they have been bound, they will be returned to the student’s department for the student to pick up.

    Embargos and Restrictions on Accessing Theses and Dissertations
    Students should be advised that a thesis or dissertation may be considered to be “previously published” by some publishers if it is put into a searchable repository (e.g., ProQuest). Students should discuss their future publication goals with their advisor regarding their scholarly work.

    Students planning to publish from the thesis or dissertation should consider requesting an embargo of their work. An embargo will completely restrict access to the document. The thesis or dissertation will be held in the ProQuest repository with no access until the specified embargo period has expired. For more information on thesis or dissertation rules, embargos, restrictions and regulations, students should meet with their thesis or dissertation advisor.

  • Substantial Research Paper (SRP)

    A Substantial Research Paper is a problem-focused paper designed to engage students in an independent research project that is longer and more in-depth than a class research paper, but less than a thesis project.  An SRP does not require a review committee or an oral defense; rather, it will be supervised and graded by a single appointed faculty member.

    Students should register for MFJS 4995 for a maximum of 4 credits, allocated in the quarters in which they are actually working on the SRP.  It is not permissible to register for credit before work has commenced or after the work has been completed.

    To begin work on the SRP, the student must first choose an area of research interest and develop a research question that will guide the research. It may be based on a class research paper that will then be expanded for the SRP.  The student should choose an SRP advisor with expertise in the student’s interest area. The advisor will help the student to focus the research question and may suggest additional readings or coursework that will help the student develop the SRP.  It is important that the student and faculty advisor establish a reasonable and mutually agreeable timeline for exchanging drafts and comments on the student’s work. The final copy of the SRP should be formatted according to APA, MLA or other guidelines agreed upon with the faculty advisor. 

  • Continuous Enrollment Policy

    Students who have completed all coursework and are working on a thesis or an SRP are required to keep their student status active by enrolling in Continuous Enrollment (CE). Students working on internships after the completion of all coursework are not eligible for CE. All graduate degree-seeking students must be in active status and continuously enrolled Fall through Spring terms, unless they plan to graduate in Fall or Winter. To enroll in CE, students must fill out the Continuous Enrollment Approval form which must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies five business days prior to the first day of the Fall quarter (or the quarter in which the student begins CE). The online form is available on the website of the Office of Graduate Studies.

    Students submit the completed form, with a signature of their advisor, to the Office of Graduate Studies in the Mary Reed Building, Room 5. Upon submission and approval of the CE form, the student will receive an email with the approval and then must register for CE via WebCentral. Students enrolled in CE pay a fee, but are not charged tuition. 

    To avoid late fees, registration must occur within the appropriate registration drop/add periods for the quarter. To be eligible for financial aid, students must be registered by the end of the 100% refund period. Complete policy and procedures regarding continuous enrollment can be found on the Registrar's website. Students can also check the Graduate Bulletin.

  • So You Want to Write a Thesis: MFJS Graduate Student Thesis Requirements (PDF)


This portfolio last updated: 05-Aug-2020 3:49 PM