Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Academic Programs

The M.A. Thesis

The M.A. thesis is intended to be a full explication of a significant problem using original sources, interviews, or analogous materials. Its length depends upon the expectations of the Thesis Committee. Before submitting the application for the thesis, students should discuss their plans with the Stone Center Graduate Advisor in order to insure that projects are designed with feasible scope, appropriately interdisciplinary content, and proper support and supervision.

Students should be advised that credit for thesis is awarded for one semester, but theses are rarely defined, researched, written and successfully defended in one semester. Ideally, a potential thesis topic should be developed as early as the first semester of coursework and a thesis director and committee structure planned by the end of the second semester. Preliminary field explorations and research should be conducted in the summer after the end of the second semester. The thesis topic should be advanced in concept during the third semester; a final thesis prospectus should be approved by both the thesis director and the full thesis committee by October 15 of the third semester; and the actual thesis should be written and defended by the appropriate deadlines in the fourth semester. Students should also be warned that the deadline for submission is in the middle, not at the end, of this fourth semester. The Graduate Advisor will work closely with the degree candidate to insure that the thesis is advanced and completed in the recommended time frame.

Application to Write Thesis

By March 1 of the second semester of residence, M.A. students must formally decide whether they will pursue the thesis or the non-thesis option. For those who commit to write a thesis, a thesis commitment form and 4-6 page prospectus (see Appendix) should be submitted to the Center Graduate Advisor no later than October 15 of the third semester of residence.

The Graduate Advisor, after reading and discussing the prospectus with the student, will facilitate meetings of students with recommended faculty directors for their theses, where students have not already chosen their director. Then, these faculty will help students restructure their prospectuses, give critical advice, affirm the viability of the research project, and agree formally to serve as either director or as a reader.

The Thesis Committee

The thesis committee consists of a director, ordinarily representing the field of the student’s primary concentration, and two other faculty members whose interests are germane to the project. The director must be tenure or tenure track rather than adjunct or visiting faculty. Consult with the Graduate Advisor for initial advice about committee selection and again before finalizing your committee.

The Thesis Style and Format

Information regarding proper thesis formatting, style guidelines, and submission deadlines can be found at the website of Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts Graduate School.

Registration and Credit for Thesis

Students who commit to write the thesis must register for LAST 8990 in the fourth semester in the LAST Center under the title of the thesis project (See the Graduate Advisor) and with the consent and approval of the thesis director. Thesis writers will earn 3 credits upon successful completion and defense of the thesis. Completion of the thesis is required for graduation. Students must also register for LAST 9980 (Master’s Research) in the fourth semester to maintain full-time student status.

The Defense

There is an oral defense of the M.A. thesis. The Graduate Advisor, the Thesis Committee and the degree candidate will work together to schedule the thesis defense. The actual defense date should be scheduled as early in the thesis semester as possible so as to avoid scheduling complications at the last minute. Since the defense must take place before the thesis is submitted and because the dates for submission are midway through the semester, the examination ordinarily occurs in early/mid March (or early/mid November for those rare instances when a thesis is completed in the Fall semester). All three committee members interview the candidate. Students usually find the defense a positive learning experience. The committee generally helps the author place the work in context and often offers advice on additional directions to take if the same topic is developed into a dissertation or for publication.

To find all necessary materials regarding procedures and deadlines, thesis application forms, formatting guidelines and applications for degree, visit the website of Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts Graduate School.

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Upcoming Events

Final Push Fridays: Graduate Research & Writing Support

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Every Friday from 10am-12pm CDT, The Latin American Library and Stone Center are co-hosting a virtual work-along for Latin Americanist graduate students to support each other in their research and writing goals. The Zoom meeting has two break-out options: participants may choose to troubleshoot research and methodological questions with an LAL librarian and/or work towards their writing objectives alongside a community of their peers. We hope you will join us when you can!

Central America, People and the Environment Educator Institute 2021

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This summer educator institute is the third institute in a series being offered by Tulane University, The University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University. This series of institutes is designed to enhance the presence of Central America in the K-12 classroom. Each year, participants engage with presenters, resources and other K-12 colleagues to explore diverse topics in Central America with a focus on people and the environment.

While at Tulane, the institute will explore the historic connections between the United States and Central America focusing on indigenous communities and environment while highlighting topics of social justice and environmental conservation. Join us to explore Central America and teaching strategies to implement into the classroom.

Additional details and registration will be available in the late fall 2020. For more information, please email dwolteri@tulane.edu or call 504.865.5164.