Thesis Project

In the thesis project, you’ll write an 80- to 100-page thesis.

Choose a topic related to defense and security studies. Be sure you can show your mastery of the topic.

Submission deadlines

Choose the semester you want to write your thesis. Then, submit your final thesis by that deadline.

  • For fall semester: End of November
  • For spring semester: End of April
  • For summer semester: End of July

Review the MSU thesis resource guide for exact deadline dates each semester.

We recommend you do your thesis in the fall or spring semester.

The Graduate College grants deadline extensions only in exceptional cases.

Thesis resources: Declaration form and guidelines

Fill out and submit the thesis/non-thesis declaration form after your second semester in the program (or once you’ve completed 18 credit hours).

For specific guidelines and requirements about your thesis, read the thesis project and process guide.

You will need Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader to view and print these documents.

Submit the declaration form to your academic advisor.

Thesis/non-thesis consultant

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Advice and things to know

  • You can only take the DSS 799 Thesis course once for credit (three hours) toward your 36-hour requirement for graduation.
  • It’s best to submit your thesis for reader approval during the spring and fall semesters, not the summer semester. If you choose to submit in the summer, the timeline is much shorter and requires intense effort by you to work in coordination with the readers.
  • You’re responsible for knowing and following the university’s student academic integrity policies and procedures. Any student participating in any form of academic dishonesty will be subject to sanctions as described in this policy.  
  • In writing your thesis, you're required to follow the MSU thesis resources guide and all specific deadlines for thesis preparation and submission set by the Graduate College.
  • All three readers and the university’s Graduate College must approve your thesis.
  • Edit your first thesis draft for grammar and spelling. Make sure your footnotes and bibliography are complete and correct. Neither the first reader nor the thesis committee are responsible for correcting these issues. Any thesis needing such corrections will be returned to you for completion without further comment.
  • If you do not finish the thesis in the semester in which you’re first enrolled in DSS 799, you must enroll in DSS 794 Active in Research each semester until you finish your thesis. You’re assigned a "Z" grade until your thesis is successfully submitted.
  • Under certain circumstances, you may change the readers on your thesis committee. To do so, you must petition the department for approval in writing, explaining the reason for the requested change.
  • The department may grant your thesis a "With distinction" designation if all three readers deem it exceptional. Your first reader will make a recommendation to the other two readers on your board, and all three board members will then make a final decision on an award of pass with distinction for your thesis.