Leadership Program

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Master's Thesis Information

A thesis is a formal work completed as a part of an advanced academic degree. There are multiple options from which you can choose to complete your work, each of which is considered a “thesis.” Each option has one or more acceptable methods for delivery of your work to the faculty. In the selection of your choice of thesis option, it is important that you consider your graduation timeline, resources, time availability, and interest. Each of the options has proven to be a successful means by which students can demonstrate their academic competency worthy of a Master of Science in Leadership or Master of Liberal Studies degree. You are encouraged to make a determination about your thesis option as early as possible in the program so you can utilize coursework to your advantage in applying it to your thesis. Please refer to following pages for additional information in comparing thesis options and criteria for each option. Discuss your thesis options with your thesis advisor before beginning work on your thesis. You must receive prior permission from your thesis advisor in order to register for their section of MLS590.

For students intending to continue on to a doctoral degree program, it is advised that the original research option will provide them with the best preparation for their terminal degree study. For other options, if you are not a strong writer, you are encouraged to consider the formal oral presentation method of delivery. If you deliver your thesis as a formal written document, you are encouraged to acquire the services of a professional editor of scholarly work.

  • Formal oral presentation is not available for the original research, nor either of the exam options.
  • For the formal oral presentation of your work, an annotated bibliography and formal abstract are required.
  • For a formal scholarly document (portfolio, analysis, case study, best practices, original research) an informal panel review is required as an opportunity for discussion of your work.
  • The exam options are only available on-line with an electronic submission of student exam responses.

If you work best under pressure and with a structured timeline, and are on a fast completion track, you are encouraged to select one of the accelerated options, either an exam or case problem solving analysis, both of which are available only in on-line format in both summer session (MLS590WB1) and fall semester (MLS590WA).

All references and citing must be scholarly works, including texts, research as reported in professional journals, and on-line research articles. Popular literature (magazines, newspapers, blogs, opinion editorials, etc.) and encyclopedia like Wikipedia, are not acceptable resources for a scholarly work whether presented orally or in a written document. APA style is required for all written work and references must be cited when used in a formal oral presentation. APA style is also required for annotated bibliography and abstract.

Any options which involve the study of or collection of data from human subjects require successful completion of the CITI on-line human subjects course (a requirement in MLS585) and prior approval by the college’s Committee on the Protection of Human Subjects. Discuss these requirements with your thesis advisor before beginning your thesis work.

There are different title page requirements for different thesis options. Please contact your thesis advisor to receive the title page template appropriate for your thesis option. Please replace the title of the reviewer on the title page with the name of the reviewer and provide a signature and date line for each. For example: the template says: “Thesis Advisor”, you put in the name of your thesis advisor.

It is the responsibility of the student to insure that faculty have received a copy of your written work or an outline of your formal oral presentation with abstract and annotated bibliography at least one week prior to an oral presentation or panel review. It is the responsibility of the student to arrange the scheduling of faculty for their formal oral presentation or informal panel review. Rooms can only be scheduled by faculty so your thesis advisor will need to schedule a room for oral presentation or panel review. If the reviewers include faculty on both campuses, prior arrangements for the availability of teleconferencing resources and rooms must be made with the program coordinator. All panel reviews and formal oral presentations must be scheduled a minimum of one week prior to the end of the semester to enable graduation in that semester. Any thesis advisor, second reader or panel member can request editing of the final thesis draft before or after any panel review or formal oral presentation. If edits are required, the student will be given a timeline for final submission, not to exceed two weeks post panel or oral presentation.

It is the responsibility of the student to submit to their thesis advisor: 3 bound copies of his/her final approved thesis documents for faculty reviewer signatures. These final documents must include all suggested revisions noted by faculty in the oral presentation or panel review process, the applicable title page, a table of contents, appendices, and as desired, an acknowledgements page. Final bound thesis documents must be submitted within 2 weeks of the oral presentation or panel review. Once all faculty reviewers have signed the final document, the copies are distributed to the thesis advisor, the library, and our program files.

Failure to meet any timelines/deadlines will result in a delay of your graduation date by one semester.

All students are required to complete an “Intent to Graduate and Request for Diploma” form, acquire the program coordinator/academic advisor signature and submit to the registrar by the identified due date in fall or spring semester depending on whether you intend to graduate in May/August or December/January.

This general guidelines document and other relevant thesis documents including criteria and full descriptions of thesis options will be available on our webpage and are subject to periodic updating.

Thesis Options Requirement Comparison

Required Items A B C D E F G
** COPHS approval is required for any option for which you collect data from human subjects.
Thesis Proposal Y Y Y Y Y N N
Thesis Adviser and Second Reader Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Literature Review (25-30 References) Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Methodology Review (5-10 References) N N Y N Y N N
Problem Statement N N Y Y Y N N
Hypotheses/Propositions N N N N Y N N
Written Document with Oral Review with Faculty Panel
Oral Presentation with Abstract and Annotated Bibliography
COPHS Approval** N N Y/N Y/N Y N N

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

For more information about the leadership program at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact

Dr. Sue Catana, Coordinator

  • SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury: (518) 792-5425 x109
  • Home Office: (518) 696-2710

E-mail: catanasl@plattsburgh.edu