Thesis Semester II: Thesis Development (Language & Literature)

Disclaimer: The information on this page is provided as an overview. The course outline, readings, and assignments may be subject to change in the final syllabus as determined by the lecturer and/or preceptors.

This is the second in a series of three one-semester, three-credit thesis courses. During the second semester, students will complete most foundational reading and produce extensive annotated bibliographies of works relevant to the topic of their thesis. Students will continue to develop their research questions in response to their reading.

Prerequisite: LITZ 6390: Thesis Preparation

Schedule and Assignments

Annotated Bibliography (due Week 4-6)

Building on the literature reviews from the first semester, second semester students will complete the majority of their thesis reading and draft a comprehensive annotated bibliography explaining the relevance of each source to their thesis question (as it develops in response to research). Each work will be cited in the approved style and summarized in a descriptive paragraph that explains the student’s interaction with and assessment of each text. Each annotated bibliography entry will evaluate the work’s quality, discuss its relevance to the thesis topic, and assess its place in current scholarship, etc.

While the actual number of sources included in the bibliography is negotiable and will change from topic to topic, the reading list and bibliography should show sufficient mastery of the field. For example, a sufficient bibliography might include approximately 30 sources, divided between

  • relevant primary sources (poems, short stories, screenplays, novels, autobiographical material, etc.)
  • book-length secondary scholarship
  • scholarly articles or chapters in edited collections

Some topics will lend themselves to reading more heavily in primary sources or in scholarly assessments; some texts have been studied very little and will require creativity in the compilation of a reading list. Students and Directors should consider including theoretical works not directly relevant to the topic to establish a methodology or as models of the application of academic approaches to other texts.

Prospectus and outline (due Weeks 8-10)

In the latter half of the semester, students will develop a prospectus that expands upon the Thesis Application, situates the student’s argument against the core scholarship the student has recently read, and maps out the structure of the thesis. This 3 – 5 page document describes what the student wants to say in the thesis and why.

The prospectus:

  • proposes the research subject, agenda, and approach
  • establishes some possible main lines of argument and perhaps an organization for the thesis
  • suggests the controlling purpose of the thesis
  • mentions the selection of the most important literary sources
  • provides an overview of relevant scholarship and criticism
  • Argues for the value, interest, and originality of the study
Thesis Development

This is the second of three semesters devoted to the final thesis in the graduate program in Language & Literature.


DURATION: 12 Weeks

ID: LITZ 6391