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Procedures for the submission and examination of Theses

  • Procedures for the submission and examination of MA Theses

    Definitions

    1. Dissertation—reserved for future EGST PhD program
    2. Thesis—the research paper required of all MA and MTh students
    3. Thesis Supervisor—EGST fulltime or part-time faculty member who supervises a student toward the successful completion of a thesis.
    4. External Examiner—a reputable scholar or practitioner not a member of regular EGST faculty who provides a written evaluation of the thesis (visiting faculty residing outside Ethiopia who teach occasionally at EGST may be considered as an external examiner)
    5. Course Leader—the EGST faculty member in charge of each programme offered responsible for assigning thesis supervisors to each student and recruiting qualified external examiners to read the theses of all students in their programmes.

    Master of Arts Thesis Expectations

    1. Purposes and Length

    The thesis is normally completed in the January-May semester of the student’s final year of study. Each student will complete a supervised written paper of 10,000 – 12,000 words in his or her field of study/area of concentration. The purposes of this paper are:

    1. To allow the student to explore in more depth a topic of interest within his or her field of study/area of concentration
    2. To demonstrate the student’s ability to produce an extended piece of writing combining knowledgeable interaction with scholarly sources and a well-organized and sustained argument supporting a thesis statement.

    While this paper does not have to demonstrate independent research, it should show individuality of thought and relevance to the Ethiopian context. MABTS students specializing in Mission and Applied Studies may, in consultation with the head of Mission and Applied Studies concentration, substitute an independent field project and written report comparable to the 10,000-12,000-word paper.

    1. Thesis Proposal Format
    1. Proposed title – give the title that you tentatively propose for your topic.
    2. Proposed topic – provide a statement of the topic that you propose to study. Be as specific as possible. “Poverty in Ethiopia” is a topic that you will find is impossible to address meaningfully in a thesis of 10,000-12,000 words. However, “an evaluation of attitudes towards poverty among lay persons of the Geja Kale Heywet Church” is much more specific and capable of leading to useful insights.
    • Research question – state the central question that you believe will be necessary to investigate and answer in order meaningfully to address your topic. The answer to this question will likely be the thesis of your paper.
    1. Rationale – state why you think this topic is important
    2. Proposed outline – provide as detailed an outline of your thesis as possible.
    3. Bibliography – provide as full a bibliography as possible of works that you believe are relevant to your topic.
      1. Thesis Format

    All thesis projects must follow the “Style and Form Guide for Written Assignments” contained in this Handbook

    1. Thesis Supervision
      1. An EGST fulltime, part-time or visiting faculty member will serve as thesis

    supervisor for each student.

    1. If someone is not fulltime, part-time or visiting faculty of EGST, a Course Leader

    will recommend the person to the Dean of Studies for approval.

    1. Responsibilities of the thesis supervisor include the following:
      1. Review and offer constructive feedback on the thesis proposal and recommend its approval to the Course Leader.
      2. Be available for consultation with student as needed throughout the writing of the thesis.
    • Serve as second examiner and agree the final grade with the external examiner.
      1. Thesis Examination
        1. One external examiner (outside EGST faculty) will read the thesis and provide a written evaluation. Depending on the type of research pursued by each student, this examiner may or may not hold a doctorate. For example, the external examiner for a MALM student writing on leadership issues might best be an experienced professional leader (e.g. NGO executive with a Masters degree) rather than an academic. However, one of the two examiners MUST hold a doctorate; if the external examiner does not hold a doctorate, then the EGST thesis supervisor must hold a doctorate.
        2. External examiners will be recommended by Course Leaders and approved by the Dean of Studies.
        3. The final grade will be allocated by the thesis supervisor as agreed by the two examiners and in the case of significant differences of evaluation, a third examiner will be appointed.
        4. Grading will be based on the current EGST ‘Grading Matrix’
        5. No verbal defense is required.
      2. Public Event

    Each MA programme will sponsor a public event prior to graduation where students will share their research with one another and an audience of family, friends and EGST community members. Each respective programme will plan its event in ways most appropriate to its goals and students.

    Thesis Process (deadline dates will be posted for each Academic Year)

    1. Overall Comments

    It is imperative that students familiarise themselves with the thesis process and ensure that they know the deadline dates. Late theses will be penalised or may result in the student not graduating. Students will best cope with deadlines by starting EARLY on their thesis proposal and map out a calendar of personal deadlines. (This and other advice will be shared in the Thesis Workshop.) Students should begin their work in January even before their thesis proposal is formally approved so that they have ample time to complete their work.

    1. Process
    • Thesis Workshop Mandatory attendance for all students writing an MA thesis in January- May semester. This workshop will be run by Course Leaders. Topics include: how to approach a thesis proposal, tips in thesis writing, expectations of the student/supervisor relationship, clarification of all time schedules and deadlines. Also included are individual programme meetings for detailed instructions relevant to each programme.

    Draft Thesis Proposal Deadline Students will submit their draft thesis proposals, following the outline in these guidelines, to their Course Leader. A printed AND electronic (soft) copy must be submitted. Students will be allocated a supervisor and have an initial meeting to discuss any revision required to the thesis proposal Final Thesis Proposal Deadline: Students must submit their final thesis proposal to their Course Leader.

    Thesis Final Draft Deadline: Students must submit their FINAL thesis DRAFT to their supervisors for suggestions for final revision.

    THESIS FINAL DEADLINE: Students must submit two final copies, including the student’s signed statement of authorship and word count (see “Assignment Expectations” in this Handbook) :

    1. A printed or electronic copy to Thesis Supervisor
    2. An electronic copy to Course Leader

    Please note this is a FINAL deadline. Theses submitted after this date will have final grades penalised (i.e. reduced) according to normal EGST policies or if there is a significant delay the student may not graduate, (see “Late Assignments” in this Handbook)

    Final Grade Deadline: Registrar distributes supervisor and external examiner evaluations to students.

    Library Copy Deadline: Students must submit a final copy of their thesis (according to format specifications to be distributed) to the Registrar to be included in the EGST library. Students are encouraged to make further revisions as needed from feedback from thesis supervisor and external examiner so the permanent library copy is reflective of their very best work.
    .

  • Procedures for the submission and examination of MTh Theses

    Overview

    The thesis, in essence, is a single statement. This statement is the outcome of at least one year of full-time guided research. The statement is to be supported by 30,000 words of closely argued text and footnotes. A 10% margin is allowed, thus the final word count must be between 27,000 and 33,000 words.

    Especially to be noted regarding the thesis-writing process are the following:

    1. The thesis writing process is to be At the beginning of the process the student will be assigned a supervisor. However, it is the student’s responsibility both to utilise and to sustain contact with the supervisor. Students writing theses should contact their supervisors frequently to apprise them of their progress; to receive their comments, suggestions and evaluation; and to ensure that their progress is steady. Students who do not contact their supervisors on a regular basis should not expect to graduate on time. In particular, students should not expect their supervisors to evaluate a large mass of material in a short amount of time just prior to the submission deadline.
    2. The word limit includes footnotes but does not include the bibliography. Appendices are also not to be included in the final word count. However, students must secure permission from their supervisors to include an appendix or appendices. The word limit must be strictly adhered to, and students must submit a signed affirmation that the thesis has remained within the word limit and submit this with their thesis.
    3. Theses must strictly follow the current edition of the EGST “Style and Form Guide for Written Assignments ” .
    4. Students may not submit their theses without the express permission of their supervisors.
    5. Because the thesis is the culmination of their studies, students are strongly advised to do all within their power to ensure that the English is polished. If at all possible, students should have their theses proofread by someone whose first language is English. Students should not expect their supervisors to polish their English for them.

    Procedures

    1. Thesis proposals
      1. Thesis proposals may be submitted by MTh candidates on or before the date(s) designated on the academic calendar. All proposals will then be considered at the first Faculty Council meeting following the submission. If the proposal is approved, the Faculty Council will assign a thesis supervisor. Students who wish to begin work on their theses prior to the beginning of the thesis-writing year are encouraged to do so. They are also encouraged to discuss ideas for thesis topics with faculty members and/or Dean of Studies. However, though the Dean of Studies may informally indicate the suitability of a proposed topic in order to encourage students to begin their work as soon as possible, the formal submission and approval of proposals as well as the assignment of supervisors will take place only as outlined above.
      2. Students planning to begin a new thesis on the following academic year may, if they choose to do so, submit their thesis proposal by the date set by the EGST calendar towards the end of the previous academic year in order to allow their proposal to be

    considered and supervisors assigned prior to the extended rainy season break. This will allow students to have at least one meeting with supervisors prior to the rainy season and would enable students to use the rainy season more effectively for the purpose of getting a good start on their theses. This does not constitute a guarantee that supervisors will be available to students throughout the rainy season. Students who do not make this early deadline may continue to have their projects “green-lighted” informally by the Dean of Studies for the purpose of making some progress on projects during the rainy season. Such students will continue to submit their proposals at the beginning of the following academic year.

    1. MTh thesis proposals should be submitted in the following format:
      1. Proposed title – give the title which you tentatively propose for your topic.
      2. Proposed topic – provide a statement of the topic which you propose to study. Be as specific as possible. Nearly all proposed topics are sent back for revision by the Faculty Council because they are too broad or general. “Poverty in Ethiopia” is a topic that you will find is impossible to address meaningfully in a thesis of 30,000 words. However, “an evaluation of attitudes towards poverty among lay persons of the Geja Kale Hiwot Church” is much more specific and capable of leading to useful insights. Sometime before submitting your proposal, ask a faculty member whether the topic is specific enough.
    • Research question – state the central question that you believe will be necessary to investigate and answer in order meaningfully to address your topic. The answer to this question will likely be the thesis of your paper.
    1. Rationale – state why you think this topic is important
    2. Proposed outline – provide as detailed an outline of your thesis as possible.
    3. Bibliography – provide as full a bibliography as possible of works that you believe are relevant to your topic.
      1. Submission
        1. Once the student’s proposal is accepted and a supervisor appointed, the student has a limit of three academic years (that is, six semesters including the semester in which the proposal is accepted and the supervisor is appointed) within which to submit the finished thesis. Once a student thesis proposal has been accepted and a supervisor has been appointed, the student may not withdraw from EGST.
        2. Continuing thesis students who do not pay the appropriate registration fees and contact their supervisor by the normal ‘add course’ deadline in any semester will be considered inactive for the remainder of that semester. That semester will, however, be counted as one of the six semesters allowed for completion of the thesis.
        3. Theses to be examined must be submitted by the submission date set by the EGST calendar for each academic year. It is important to meet this deadline to allow adequate time for examining and any required revisions before graduation. Students who do not meet the deadline must apply for continuation and will be subject to a continuation fee. Theses may not be submitted without the approval of the supervisor. Please submit one printed (hard) copy and one digital (soft) copy of your thesis.
      2. Number and Appointment of Examiners

    Each thesis shall be examined by two qualified people, not including the supervisor, recommended by the Dean of Studies. In special cases, a third examiner may be appointed, particularly when the addition of an external examiner with special expertise in the subject matter is deemed necessary.

    1. Basis for Evaluation

    Each thesis shall be evaluated on the basis of clarity of presentation, organization, thoroughness, critical analysis, and the significance of its contribution to the Church.

    1. Outcome of the Evaluation
      1. Acceptance – The thesis is accepted with only minor changes of spelling, grammar or style.
      2. Requirement of Revision – The examiners may determine that the thesis as submitted is not acceptable and require that certain material changes be made to the thesis.
        1. The examiners must submit a written description of the required changes to the MTh

    Co-ordinator who will inform the student in writing of the required changes and pass on the examiners’ reports. The student may consult with the internal examiner regarding any required changes.

    1. When the changes have been made, the thesis will be resubmitted by the advertised

    resubmission deadline. Students who fail to resubmit their thesis by the deadline will not be allowed to graduate.

    • The internal examiner will then determine whether the thesis in revised form should be accepted or rejected and communicate this to the EGST Registrar before the August Faculty Meeting.
    1. Rejection – The rejection of a thesis does not mean that a student cannot submit another thesis. However, such a process can only begin with the written permission of the Dean of Studies who will determine whether such permission should be given after consulting with the examiners of the rejected thesis. A thesis may be rejected if it is determined that:
      1. The thesis fails to meet the required standard as indicated in section 4 above.
      2. The thesis has been plagiarized in part or in whole.
    • The thesis has already been submitted elsewhere in fulfillment of the requirements for a degree from EGST or some other institution. This stipulation does not preclude the possibility that previous work (e.g. a research paper from a course taken at EGST) may form the basis of the thesis provided that sufficient work has been done to expand the scope and depth of the subject.
    1. Examination – If a thesis is examined by two examiners who cannot come to an agreement in the evaluation of the thesis, the thesis will be referred to the Dean of Studies for the appointment of an additional examiner.
    2. Grading -The student’s thesis (or, if necessary, the revised thesis after submission) will be awarded a grade of ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. No letter grade will be assigned to the thesis. In rare cases of a thesis of exceptional merit, the examiners may choose to award a ‘Pass with Distinction’. Criteria for such an award would include international publish-ability, originality of thought, significant contextualization of the topic, unusual clarity of argument, and/or extensive use of primary sources, etc. Examiners wishing to do so may recommend this award to the Faculty Council, who then must concur with the examiners’ recommendation in order for the thesis to receive an award of ‘Pass with Distinction’.
    3. Final Reports – In addition to the examiners’ reports the student will be given a document notifying him or her of the final outcome.
    4. Archive copies of the thesis

    Once the student’s thesis (or the revised thesis after resubmission) has been accepted by the examiners, the student must present three hardbound copies and one digital copy of the thesis to the registrar for inclusion in the EGST archives. This must be done no later than one week

    before the student’s anticipated graduation date. In cases of unavoidable delay on the part of the binder, the student may request an extension to this deadline from the Dean of Studies. Students who fail either to meet this deadline or to receive an extension from the Dean of Studies will not be allowed to graduate on the anticipated date.

    1. Public Event

    EGST will sponsor a public event prior to graduation where MTh students share their research with one another and an audience of family, friends and EGST community members.
    .