Projects and Theses

Whether project or thesis, the Interdisciplinary Studies capstone research experience should reflect students’ mastery of relevant subjects and skills in their course work, experiential learning opportunities, and research. For the exact number of project or thesis credits to take, students should consult the degree requirements for the concentration in the University Catalog or the Interdisciplinary Studies Student Handbook.

Some concentrations have specific guidelines for projects and theses (see below). For guidance about what your committee and concentration head expect, it is best to consult with them while you are drafting your proposal in MAIS 797 - Proposal.

Interdisciplinary Studies Thesis

A thesis involves a lengthy piece of formal writing that makes an original contribution to knowledge based on the collection of original data. Students interested in pursuing a PhD should seriously consider the thesis option.

Interdisciplinary Studies Project

If the medium of a traditional thesis is not an appropriate fit, the project option enables students to produce a non-traditional deliverable. Interdisciplinary Studies projects can be:

  • A traditional research monograph that makes an original contribution to knowledge, but is smaller in scale than a thesis and/or does not rely on the collection of original data.
  • An original deliverable with a practical application, such as a curriculum, an exhibit design, a technical manual, a business plan, or a computer model.
  • An original creative work, such as a documentary film, a fictional film, or a script.

A project should not be regarded as “easier” than doing a thesis, because both projects and theses have to make an original contribution, and the same quality of work is required. Also, even projects with non-traditional deliverables will involve a significant amount of writing.

Course Prerequisites

Students intending to register for credits of MAIS 798 - Project or MAIS 799 - Thesis  must satisfy the following prerequisites:

  1. 27 graduate credits towards the degree
  2. Research methods course (if required)
  3. MAIS 797 - Proposal
  4. An approved project or thesis proposal



Resources: Project/Thesis Guidelines by Concentration