CSULA Department of English | MA Pedagogical-Portfolio Project

English MA Project/Thesis: Journal-Article Thesis

Journal-Article Thesis (ENGL 5990, 3 units)

Compared to the Thesis, the Journal-Article Thesis is narrower in scope and has a pre-professional component in its analysis of scholarly journals in the field. It is not appropriate for creative writing projects. (NOTE: Catalog language refers to this culminating activity as “Thesis Option A.”)

Students will produce an original, analytical essay of 20-30 pages with potential for publication or further development later in a doctoral program. The essay could be either a thorough, substantive revision of a seminar paper or a new project.

Students must submit to their thesis committee a clear and concise proposal (minimally 3 pages). The proposal for the Journal-Article Thesis should include the following:

  • an essay abstract clearly articulating the rationale for the topic and the overall argument of the essay and its scholarly significance in the field
  • a concise description of the ways in which the new research essay departs from and/or builds upon the seminar paper, if applicable
  • a works cited list of at least 10 relevant and current scholarly sources
  • a preliminary list of journals to which the research essay could be submitted
  • a detailed essay completion timeline

After the proposal is approved, the thesis committee will sign a form (GS 12) requesting approval of the project by the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

If a revision, the original, graded essay must be submitted with the final Journal-Article Thesis (for a comparative evaluation by the thesis committee). Students revising a seminar paper are, of course, expected to reconceptualize and restructure their arguments as necessary, conduct additional research, and demonstrate the contribution their argument makes to the field.

The journal article must be accompanied by a list of 2-3 journals to which the student could submit the essay, along with a detailed, written justification of the journals chosen. This written justification shall be included with the thesis narrative (required for final submission) and be prefatory to the journal article. The structure and style of the essay should adhere to those of one of the selected professional journals.

Students will form a committee of three faculty members who will evaluate the complete Journal-Article Thesis (i.e., including prefatory materials) as “passing” or “failing.” The committee chair must have expertise in the area in which the journal article is grounded. There is no oral defense of the Journal-Article Thesis.