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Thesis/Capstone

Graduate Thesis & Capstone Projects
Preliminary Academic Year Guidelines


Graduate Thesis

Approval of Topic and Faculty Supervision 
Topics should principally relate to the student’s area of concentration but may also address other relevant subject areas.  Study must be under the direction of full- or part-time faculty, and students are responsible for locating their own faculty sponsor.

Graduate Thesis Advisor/Advisee Agreement
Students must prepare a one (and no more than two) page document declaring their topic and faculty supervisor. It is the student’s responsibility to submit this signed agreement to the department by the published deadline. The signed agreement is a pre-requisite for registration in the Graduate Thesis course.

The Graduate Thesis Advisor/Advisee Agreement will consist of:  (1) abstract; (2) working title of the paper; (3) draft outline of key points to be addressed; (4) signatures of faculty member and student confirming their working partnership during the defined semester.

Final Proposal 
The faculty sponsor must approve a written proposal and notify the Global Affairs Department by the published deadline. New proposal structure guidelines are available. The final proposal does NOT need to be turned in to the Department directly.

The student and faculty sponsor must meet regularly to discuss the progress of the project.  The faculty sponsor will set any preliminary deadlines or special conditions necessary for successful completion.  Students must submit to the faculty sponsor both electronic and hard copies of their proposal.

Documentation and Length
The final paper must be fully documented, including both footnotes and a bibliography, and use primary sources to a substantial degree. The documentation should substantially follow a coherent style in writing and referencing; the latest MLA (Modern Language Association) guidelines are useful ones to follow, for example. To see and sample title page, please click here.

Students are strongly encouraged to seek out and use sources beyond those ordinarily found in the NYU libraries. This can include reports and documents from international organizations, interviews with relevant individuals (e.g., diplomats or officials from international organizations), annual reports of multinational corporations, etc).

The final paper should be approximately 60 word-processed pages in length including text, footnotes and bibliography but excluding appendices, annexes, tables, etc.  Students will be penalized for going substantially over that length. Students must submit to the faculty sponsor both electronic and hard copies of their final papers. Students must also submit one bound copyand one final electronic copy via NYU Classes of their papers to the Department’s thesis library. 

Grading
The mid-term grade will be determined on the basis of the advisor’s assessment of your progress through mid-semester.

The final grade will be based on: 1) the value and quality of the information imparted; 2) the quality of analysis; 3) the level of organization, scholarship and professionalism demonstrated throughout the project; and, 4) the organization and clarity of presentation.  All Graduate Thesis projects must earn a passing grade of B or better. 


Capstone projects
(May be undertaken by 2 to 5 students as a team)

Approval of Topic and Faculty Supervision
Topics should principally relate to the students’ areas of concentration but may address other relevant subject areas. Team members may represent one or several areas of concentration. The Capstone should reflect both academic and professional knowledge in Global Affairs. Examples of possible Capstone projects include: a hypothetical foreign policy position paper of a government, a proposal to form a new NGO or a legal brief raising (or responding to) an existing dispute.  Study must be under the direction of one full or part-time faculty.  The Capstone team is responsible for locating their faculty sponsor.

Capstone Advisor/Advisee Agreement
The Capstone team must prepare a one (and no more than two) page document declaring the selected topic and faculty supervisor. It is the team’s responsibility to submit this signed agreement to the department by the published deadline. The signed agreement is a pre-requisite for registration in the Capstone course. This Agreement will consist of:  (1) abstract; (2) working title of the paper; (3) draft outline of key points to be addressed; (4) signatures of faculty member and each team member confirming their working partnership during the defined semester.

Final Proposal 
The faculty sponsor must approve a written proposal and notify the Global Affairs Department by the published deadline. New proposal structure guidelines are available.

The faculty sponsor will set any preliminary deadlines or special conditions necessary for successful completion. 

Teams must submit both electronic and hard copies of their proposal.

Documentation and Length
The final paper will comprise the component contributions of each student. Each component must be fully documented, including both footnotes and a bibliography and use primary sources to a substantial degree. The documentation should substantially follow a coherent style in writing and referencing; the latest MLA (Modern Language Association) guidelines are useful ones to follow, for example.  Students are strongly encouraged to seek out and use sources beyond those ordinarily found in the NYU libraries. This can include reports and documents from international organizations, interviews with relevant individuals, annual reports of multinational corporations, etc).

The individual written contribution of each student to the final paper should be between 20 and 25 word-processed pages in length including text, footnotes and bibliography but excluding appendices, annexes, tables, etc. Students will be penalized for going substantially over that length.

Capstone teams must submit to the faculty sponsor both electronic and hard copies of their final papers. Teams must also submit one bound copy of their papers to the Department’s thesis library.

Grading
In addition to submission of a final written project reflecting the contributions of each student, the Capstone team will be required to present their project in an oral session. The presentation will be to the faculty sponsor and one other full or part-time faculty member selected by the sponsor and Academic Director. Each student must present his/her individual contribution and be prepared to answer questions about his/her work. Reflecting the team effort of the Capstone, students should demonstrate some mastery of the entire project, not only their own individual contribution. Students will be asked to frankly assess the contribution of each member of the Capstone team. 

The mid-term grade will be determined from the advisor’s assessment of the group’s progress through mid-semester.

The final grade will be based on: 1) the value and quality of the information imparted; 2) the quality of analysis; 3) the level of scholarship demonstrated; 4) the organization and clarity of presentation; and, 5) level of organization, teamwork and professionalism in preparation and development of the project. 

All components (that is, each student’s individual contribution) in a Capstone must earn a passing grade of B or better and the final grade for each student on the team will be the average of all component grades.


Additional Important Guidelines for Students

  • You are responsible for finding your own advisor from our full-time or adjunct faculty. Our excellent faculty represent a wealth of professional interests and expertise! To identify common research areas of interest, you should use the faculty bios and the faculty thesis advisor list available on the MSGA academic website; you may also refer to your academic advisor, who may be able to guide you towards a suitable colleague.
  • Proposals must be approved by your intended advisor as satisfying the Guidelines.
  • Students should assess with their advisor at an early stage whether they will need UCAIHS Human Subjects Research approval and if necessary obtain it before any primary research. Broadly speaking, this will be required in cases where students are working with vulnerable communities (such as minors or refugees) or when they already have firm plans for publication and intend to draw on interviews and similar materials.
  • Only the MSGA department can register you for this course. It is NOT possible for you to do so yourself. Registration will only happen once your Advisor/Advisee Agreement has been approved and signed by all parties involved and after you have filled out the online Thesis/Capstone Enrollment Request Form.
  • Advisors and students should meet periodically to discuss progress.  How often is at the discretion of the advisor, but should be no less than three times over the course of the thesis/capstone semester.
  • You must be mindful of all deadlines pertaining to your graduation.  If projects are not completed by the date specified you may not graduate on time! 
  • Although you will have only one official supervisor of your project, you may seek out any faculty member that you think might offer useful advice. 
  • Any special problems or circumstances should be brought to the department’s attention.
  • It is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that you attend the Graduate Thesis/Capstone Boot Camp each semester.  The Boot Camp should be completed the semester before students register for GLOB1-GC 3900.
  • Students MUST COMPLETE their Thesis/Capstone projects in the semester of registration for GLOB1-GC 3900.  Incompletes and extensions are only granted in extenuating circumstances and must be approved by both the advisor and the academic director.  If your request for an extension is denied and you cannot meet the deadline, you are at risk of receiving a failure for the course and will be asked to re-register for the following semester at a full 3-credit tuition cost.


Thesis/Capstone Library--Woolworth 445

Library of MSGA Thesis and Capstone Projects 

Bound copies of MSGA theses and capstone projects are available to check out and read at Woolworth Campus. A list of past projects is available here.

Thesis/Capstone Library Request Form

Thesis and Capstone projects completed in previous semesters are available in either digital or hard copy, or in both formats. The thesis/capstone request form can be found here. Please note that only one thesis/capstone project may be viewed at a time. If a digital copy does not exist, you will be contacted to schedule an appointment to view the project.


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