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Frank W. and Sue Mayborn

School of Journalism

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Thesis Information

Journalism graduate students who write a thesis will defend their research in an oral examination with thesis committee members.

The Master of Arts degree requires a minimum of 36 semester hours, including a thesis of 6 hours. Students should meet with their advisor after completing 12 hours to select a thesis chair and committee, and to register for the comprehensive exam, which may be taken in the final thesis course semester.

The Master of Journalism degree requires 36 semester hours of course work. The 6-hour thesis is optional in the MJ program, and can substitute for two graduate courses.

Guidelines for Proposing, Writing & Defending a Thesis

Completed theses are submitted to the Toulouse Graduate School and must conform to Toulouse’s guidelines and deadlines. For more information, see the Toulouse Graduate School website.

Procedures for Thesis Option

  1. A student must file intention with the Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism to attempt thesis no later than completion of 12 graduate journalism hours.
  2. Before the completion of 24 graduate hours, the student must select a thesis chair and receive approval from that chair to proceed with the thesis. At that point, the student must choose two additional UNT faculty members to form the thesis committee. The committee must approve the thesis proposal. The thesis chair and graduate director must approve the thesis committee.
  3. One month prior to beginning official thesis hours, the student must submit and obtain approval for the thesis proposal. It is advised that the student write the proposal during the first three thesis hours and submit to the committee for approval. The student then will complete the thesis during the second three thesis hours. It is possible and sometimes advantageous for a student to register for six hours of thesis work to be completed in one semester. All thesis work must be completed in the final semester before graduation.

For Students Planning to Write a Thesis

If you plan to write a master's thesis, you must download Guidelines for Proposing, Writing, Defending and Submitting a Master’s Thesis at the Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism and read it through to understand all the requirements and protocols of thesis writing at the Mayborn School of Journalism. It's ultimately your responsibility, not your thesis chair's, to follow all the requirements. Your failure to satisfy the requirements will prevent you from graduating in a timely manner. Also, you should not wait to start your thesis-writing process until you register for thesis hours. You should start the process, such as identifying and asking a professor to serve as your thesis chair, as early as possible.

View list of theses written by students at Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism. A search for journalism theses may be found here at Dissertations & theses @ University of North Texas.

  1. Read the procedures for gaining thesis approval.
  2. Form a thesis committee, which must comprise three members of the journalism faculty. It is not mandatory that a student include an outside member to the committee, but a professor in the student's minor may be invited to serve on the committee. This committee should be formed in advance of writing the proposal.
  3. A proposal and thesis should follow appropriate research style guidelines. The proposal should include:
    • A brief literature review in which the author explains how his/her project is situated in terms of research that has already been done
    • any relevant theoretical positions;
    • the author's assumptions and/or limitations (especially true in qualitative research) and possibly include his/her own assumptions;
    • a clearly stated “question” or “problem” to be addressed in the thesis;
    • the intended methodology(ies) clearly explained and rationalized;
    • hypotheses if a quantitative research methodology has been selected;
    • bibliography;
    • text written in present or future tense sentences.
  4. The thesis should include:
    • All of the above as revised to suit the thesis committee;
    • a clear explanation of the methodology used;
    • a clear narrative explaining the findings;
    • a summary of conclusions and suggestions for future study;
    • a brief statement of limitations;
    • bibliography;
    • text written in past tense.
  5. Thesis enrollment:
    • Students must enroll in JOUR 5950 (3 hrs or 6 hrs).
    • Ideally, a student would form his/her committee and make a thesis proposal one semester (3 hrs), then during the semester of writing the thesis, enroll again in JOUR 5950 (3 hrs).
    • However, it may be advantageous for the student to accomplish both proposal and thesis writing during one semester, therefore enrolling in JOUR 5950 (6 hrs).
  6. Defending the thesis:
    • Students will schedule a defense of the thesis according to the Toulouse Graduate School’s calendar. The defended thesis is due to the school more than a month before graduation.
    • The defense is open to the academic community, and the date, time and location of the defense will be published at least one week before the defense. No public comment will be allowed during the defense, but may be acceptable upon completion of the faculty question period.
    • The student will make a brief statement explaining the results of the thesis. The committee members will then question the student as long as they deem appropriate.
    • At the conclusion of the defense, the committee will meet privately to discuss the thesis. The committee will vote to accept, accept with revisions or reject the thesis. If the committee votes to accept the thesis with revisions, the committee chair will be charged to approve those revisions on behalf of the committee. If the committee votes to reject the thesis, the chair will provide the student with a written explanation no more than one week after the defense.

For more information, please contact the Graduate Student Coordinator.

Email the Mayborn:


For prospective student information: moremayborn@unt.edu

For transfer course information: JOURAdvising@unt.edu

For inquiries, internship & other inquiries: journalism@unt.edu