Students in the Digital Studies MA and joint BA/MA programs may choose to do a thesis project under the guidance of a University of Chicago faculty member, instructional professor, or lecturer. However, this is entirely optional; there is no penalty for not doing a thesis and it is not required for the MA degree. The thesis adviser may be in any field of the humanities or social sciences and may or may not be someone whose own research entails digital methods.
The thesis must have a software component as well as a written component in which the student explains the computational aspects of the project and reflects critically on the methods being used, with attention to current debates in digital humanities. The length of the written component of the thesis may vary, depending on the subject matter and the expectations of the thesis adviser, but it should be at least 25 pages and no more than 50 pages of text (double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman with one-inch margins), not counting illustrations and bibliographic references.
Students in the joint BA/MA program who are doing a BA major in which a BA paper or senior thesis is required may do an MA thesis project on a topic related to the BA paper, subject to the approval of their BA adviser and the Director of Digital Studies, with the understanding that the MA thesis will entail substantial additional work.
The Associate Director of Curriculum and Instruction will work with students who choose to do a thesis project to select a feasible topic and find a suitable adviser. She will also coordinate the provision of technical guidance for student projects, as needed.
Students who choose to do a thesis project must find a thesis adviser and gain written approval for their thesis topic from their adviser and from the Director of Digital Studies no later than the fourth week of the Winter Quarter. Students will establish a regular schedule of consultation with their thesis adviser and with other staff members who may be assigned to help them with the technical aspects of their project. The completed thesis must be submitted to the thesis adviser(s) by May 15.
Photo by Robert Kozloff