"Education is the best provision for old age ." Aristotle
No more than six sh of thesis credit may be applied to the student’s degree plan. However, as long as the student is working on a thesis, he or she must enroll in at least 1 sh every semester, even if this brings the total for the degree to more than 33 sh. The thesis will include an appropriate theoretical foundation and a scholarly investigation of a significant political problem or question. The problem may be historical, contemporary, or hypothetical. The research will be conducted in accordance
with a methodology suitable for studying the question. The method may be quantitative, qualitative, or some combination of both. The data may be statistical, textual, or both. What is absolutely required is a disciplined approach that involves rigorous thinking, objective examination of the available evidence or texts, and reaching conclusions that are consistent with the weight of the evidence or the logic of the argument. The object is to produce something that, in condensed form, could be presented at a state or regional conference of political scientists. There is no minimum or maximum length, although most theses will run between 50 and 100 pages.
The choice of the thesis topic lies with the student in consultation with the thesis director. Before a student embarks on a thesis, a prospectus has to be approved by a
committee of three faculty. Also, the final product will be defended before a committee of faculty whose composition should, if at all possible, be identical to the first committee. The thesis will be directed by a faculty member who consents to work with the student. The thesis director will assume responsibility for guiding the student through the entire thesis cycle, from choosing or narrowing a topic, preparing a thesis prospectus, doing the bibliographic review, collecting and analyzing data, through writing one or more drafts of the thesis. It is the thesis director who decides when the proposal is ready for presentation and when the thesis is ready for a defense. Thesis timeline . A thesis shall normally take two semesters. In consultation with the thesis director, the student shall draw up a timeline consistent with the university thesis calendar. The timeline shall have dates for the following milestones:
1. Selection of two or three committee members in addition to the Director (see committee members, below).
2. Submission of a thesis prospectus to the committee (see outline of thesis prospectus, below).
3. Meeting of committee with the student to approve, subject to revisions, the thesis proposal.
4. Defense of the thesis.
Committee members. The committee must have a minimum of three members.
The thesis director, who must be a member of the Political Science program faculty, will
chair the committee. At least one more committee member must be a member of the
faculty. The third committee member may be an emeritus faculty, a visiting faculty
member, or a member of another UWF department whose expertise bears on the thesis
The thesis prospectus shall contain the following parts:
1. A statement of the research problem or question.
2. A statement on the methodology to be followed in investigating the question.
3. The data set or texts to be analyzed.
4. A comprehensive bibliography to be consulted.
5. A timeline for completion of the thesis.
The thesis shall consist of the following parts:
1. An abstract.
2. A statement of the research problem or question.
3. Review of the literature.
4. Description of data or texts and methodology.
5. Data or textual analysis.
6. Discussion of results of investigation.