REEI and the University Graduate School have strict guidelines for the submission, defense, and acceptance of the M.A. essay. Students must comply with the following guidelines and timeline when preparing to defend their essay.
M.A. Essay Requirements
Graduate student guidelines
The REEI M.A. essay is normally written in the spring of the second year of graduate study while the student is enrolled in the R601 REEI seminar course. It may be based on a previous seminar paper completed in a disciplinary course. The R601 course provides you with an opportunity for guidance in revising a seminar paper and expanding its focus to meet the requirements for the M.A. essay. Students are advised to take at least one seminar course in their first year of study in which an extended research paper is required.
Requirements of the M.A. essay
The M.A. essay must be interdisciplinary in scope. It should not exceed 13,000 words (excluding footnotes, endnotes, bibliography, and tabular material). It must be double spaced with 1” margins.
For further style guidelines, consult your advisor and refer to a standard style manual, such as The Chicago Manual of Style; Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers; the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style Sheet; or the American Psychological Association (APA) Style Sheet.
A defining element of your essay must be the use of sources in the language of concentration. These sources cannot be mere embellishment but must form part of the foundation on which the argument of the essay rests.
Are you collecting original data from non-public primary sources or interviewing people as a part of your research?
All university community members conducting original data collection using non-public primary sources must have their data collection plans reviewed by the International Review Board (IRB) through the Office of Research Administration.
Non-public resources include data gathered through interviews, focus groups, ethnographic observation, and surveys. Meta analysis of other people’s data may be subject to review.
Data collection that does not require IRB approval is all data in the public domain (economic reports and statistics, the national census, voting telling from the Central Election Commissions) and all data generated by coding publicly available information such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, newspapers, reports, public statements by politicians, films and literature, and other similar primary sources.
All students planning to collect original data should review the regulations at the research administration website and check with the office to find out if their project requires IRB approval. Because this approval can take up to three months, you should begin it early in your research process.
Timeline & Responsibilities
At the beginning of the semester in which you will write the essay:
- Select a faculty advisor. The advisor can be the R601 instructor, the instructor of the seminar course during which your research was begun, or another member of the REEI faculty qualified to supervise work on the topic.
- Select two additional faculty members to read the paper and administer the master’s essay defense. They should represent disciplines or research approaches different from one another and from that of the essay advisor.
- Students who encounter difficulty assembling a committee should ask the director or advisor for assistance as early as possible.
At least two months prior to your intended graduation
Fill out an application for an advanced degree form in the University Graduate School. The form will then be forwarded to the advisor.
One month prior to your intended defense date
You must submit the following information in writing to the REEI advisor and secretary one month before your intended defense date:
- Title of essay (including necessary punctuation and diacritical marks)
- Abstract of essay (not to exceed one page)
- Names of committee chair and committee members
- Intended date of defense
- Intended date of graduation
Any subsequent changes to this information must be immediately reported to the REEI advisor and secretary.
After receiving the above information, the director will give final approval of committee membership.
You should forward copies of the essay to all committee members for comments as early as possible.
You should confirm that committee members are familiar with the essay defense guidelines, providing a copy of the guidelines to committee members who need it.
Once you’ve received feedback from your committee members, you should Incorporate suggested revisions into your essay and resubmit it to the committee if significant changes are required. If you encounter difficulties in resolving conflicts among the revisions suggested by your three committee members, discuss this matter with the director.
When you are ready to defend
As early as possible, determine several possible days and times for the defense that will be convenient for all committee members, scheduling 1 ½ hours to allow ample time for discussion and evaluation.
Communicate possible dates and times to the REEI secretary at least fifteen days in advance of the defense. The secretary will reserve a room for the defense.
The committee chair may prefer to reserve a room in his or her home department. If this is done, the REEI secretary must be notified.
The advisor will prepare a defense cover sheet for your essay, to be signed by all three committee members and the director after the essay is accepted. The advisor will forward this paperwork to the chair.
After successful completion of the oral defense
Provide the REEI advisor a final copy of the essay, electronically or in print, unmarked and unbound. The title page should have the following format:
Essay title (toward the top-center of page)
(Toward bottom center of page)
In Partial Fulfillment for the Requirements of the Master of Arts Degree, (or enter which dual degree is appropriate: Master of Arts and Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts and Master of Library Science, Master of Arts and Master of Information Science, or Master of Arts and Master of Public Affairs)
Russian and East European Institute, (or enter which dual degree department is appropriate: and Kelley School of Business, School of Library and Information Science, or School of Public and Environmental Affairs)
Month and Year
You will be notified once the director has confirmed your completion of degree requirements. The REEI advisor will then prepare your graduation paperwork.