Whether project or thesis, the Middle East & Islamic 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 in the University Catalog or the MEIS Handbook.
If the medium of a traditional thesis is not an appropriate fit, the project option enables students to produce a non-traditional deliverable. Middle East & Islamic Studies projects can be:
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.
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.
must satisfy the following prerequisites for project:
must satisfy the following prerequisites for thesis:
It is the student's responsibility to assemble their committee and then notify the MEIS program of its members.
It is never too soon to start thinking about your project/thesis committee. These are a few ways to research potential committee members:
MEIS thesis committees must be composed of three members of the graduate faculty, and two must be faculty within CHSS. The details of the thesis committee are specified in the University Catalog under the section "AP.6.9.3 Master’s Thesis":
The master's thesis committee is composed of at least three members of the graduate faculty, at least two of whom must be from the student's department or program. Faculty who are not members of the graduate faculty or other appropriate persons not affiliated with the university may serve as additional members. Committee members are appointed by the chair or director of the academic unit or program, or designee, after consultation with the student's adviser and the student.
The membership of the project committee is not specified in the University Catalog.
Project committees have at least one member:
The University Catalog defines graduate faculty in section "AP.6 Graduate Policies" as follows:
The graduate faculty consists of all George Mason University tenured and tenure-track faculty. Other Mason faculty members, as well as individuals from outside the university, may be appointed to the graduate faculty by the Provost for a specified duration of time.
Students should not count on a non-graduate faculty member being made a member of the graduate faculty just to work with them. If you are not sure whether the person you are considering for your committee is on the graduate faculty, the best thing to do is to ask them.
To register for credits of MEIS 798 - Project or MEIS 799 - Thesis, the Middle East & Islamic Studies graduate coordinator will have to create a section of the course specific to each student.
Please submit the following items to the program office in person (D215 James Buchanan Hall) or to email@example.com:
Students should anticipate completing their projects or theses and circulating them for final signatures at least two weeks prior to the end of the semester. (Drafts of the project/thesis should be circulated to the committee weeks in advance of that, in order to leave time for faculty review and student revision.)
A project or thesis is finished when every committee member says that it is finished, and even the MEIS director can request further revision. So, students are encouraged to work well ahead and keep the lines of communication open.
For students writing a thesis, you will have to work on the timetable established by University Dissertation & Thesis Services and the CHSS dean's office in order to get the requisite signatures and file the thesis in time to graduate.
Students who are preparing to graduate should consult the CHSS website for the latest Graduation Checklist, which will help to ensure you meet all of the University and Registrar requirements for degree conferral.
Projects are not handled by University Dissertation & Thesis Services and do not require the dean's signature. Final submission will be to the Middle East & Islamic Studies program office.