The Technical Communication program offers both a Thesis Option and non-thesis option for completion of the M.A. degree; the non-thesis option can consist of either a final research project or an additional 6000-level technical communication class. Students do not need to decide which option they use at the beginning of their program of study. Students should aim to decide whether or not they are writing a thesis by the half-way point of their program, or at about fifteen hours (five classes).

The non-thesis option is the easier of the two and the one that the majority of our students take. The thesis requires much more work than a single 6000-level class, and it runs the risk of slowing the student’s degree completion time.

Why, then, would a student want to write a thesis? First, if you have a topic in mind that truly interests you and the restricted elective topics offered during your program of study haven’t allowed you to explore it, the thesis will give you the opportunity to do so. Second, a thesis will give you the opportunity to develop a specialization. The M.A. remains a generalist degree, but a thesis allows an in-depth exploration of a limited topic. Lastly, the thesis provides an opportunity for sustained, self-directed research and thus provides preparation for writing a dissertation as part of a doctoral program.

It is widely assumed that writing a thesis gives students a better chance of getting into a PhD program and of getting an assistantship when admitted. However, this is anecdote rather than fact: many of our M.A. students have been admitted into PhD programs without writing a thesis. Nonetheless, the thesis option is good choice for students who are considering further graduate study because the thesis develops the research skills necessary to succeed in a doctoral program.

The research project non-thesis option usually consists of a real-world deliverable product, such as a user manual or a substantial web site, that does not fit the parameters of a traditional academic thesis. It may be an actual document that will be used be an employer or a non-profit. The basic structure of the thesis remains intact: there is still a committee, a proposal, and a defense, but the document does not need to be filed with the UCF Graduate College.

Thesis Process

Thesis Guidelines and Requirements for M.A. Technical Communication

How to Register for Thesis Hours

Before you register for thesis hours, your Thesis Advisory Committee Form must be approved by the College of Graduate Studies.

To register for thesis hours, you must initiate a Restricted Registration form and submit the form to the MFA Graduate Program Assistant. Review the thesis requirements and full-time enrollment requirements in the UCF College of Graduate Studies Catalog.

Before you begin the form, ask your director what their expectations are for

  • “Assignments,” “Deadlines,’ grade percentage for these assignments
    • There must be at least one assignment.
  • “Consultation Policy”
    • Briefly describe how often you and your director agree to meet during the semester.
  • “Learning Outcomes”
    • Briefly list one or two (or more) learning outcomes (i.e. “Complete thesis draft,” or “Defend thesis”).

Now complete the form:

  • Complete the top portion with your Student Information.
  • Course Prefix: ENC
  • Course Number: 6971
  • Hours: 3
    • If you have already completed 3 credit hours of thesis, you may elect to register for 1 credit hour to avoid excessive costs.
  • Grade: S/U (do not put A/F)
  • Instructor (Director) Name
  • Include information for assignments, deadlines, grade weights, consultation policy, and learning outcomes.
  • Check the box asking for your agreement
  • Sign name and date the form
  • The form will route to your supervising faculty member (most likely your thesis director) and then to the College of Arts & Humanities for approval and manual registration