master's degree without a thesis

  • October 15, 2023
  • Academic Advice

Thesis vs. Non-Thesis Master’s Programs: Which is Right for You?

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Continuing your educational journey within your chosen field is an experience that fosters personal and professional growth. The next milestone in your academic path often involves pursuing a Master’s degree , with options ranging from thesis-based programs to non-thesis alternatives.  Deciding between these two paths is significant as it shapes your academic and career paths.

But how can you decide which is right for you before getting decision fatigue?

Let’s explore the difference between thesis vs. non-thesis Master’s programs, their unique characteristics, and reasons for choosing one or the other. 

Do You Have to Write a Thesis for Your Master’s Program?

Whether you have to write a thesis for your Master’s program depends on the specific requirements of the program you’re enrolled in. It’s important to note that while not all Master’s programs require writing a thesis, a significant number of them do.

What is a Thesis vs. Non-Thesis Master’s Program?

A thesis Master’s program involves completing a large research project spanning over several semesters. Students are expected to conduct original research on a specific topic under a faculty advisor’s guidance, culminating in a thesis likely to be published. Completing and defending the thesis is a crucial part of the degree requirement.

A non-thesis Master’s program doesn’t involve a specific research focus but rather a more coursework and practical experience, allowing students to gain specific skills and knowledge applicable to their field of study. After completing their program’s core course requirements, students can choose any of the electives to meet their degree requirements. Depending on the institution, you may be required to do a Master’s Degree Capstone project, including reviewing previous courses, a comprehensive exam, or a summary project. 

Why Choose a Thesis Master’s Program?


Thesis Master’s programs offer several advantages, be that contributing to new findings in your field, close collaboration with professors and researchers, and standing out to potential employers with your abilities to work independently and analyze complex issues. However, the primary advantages are:

Research Experience

Thesis programs allow you to conduct extensive research on a specific topic that piques your interest.  This way, you’ll gain expertise and a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. 

Academic Growth 

Writing a thesis helps sharpen your critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills. It also challenges you to think independently, analyze a large amount of data, and draw meaningful conclusions. Furthermore, it prepares you for doctoral studies, familiarizing you with the rigor of independent research and equips you with the necessary skills to succeed.

Why Choose a Non-Thesis Master’s Program?

Non-thesis master’s programs also come with numerous advantages for students, including flexibility in scheduling, a range of career opportunities, shorter competition time, etc. Here are the main advantages: 

Non-thesis programs prioritize coursework, fostering the development of practical skills and their real-world application. This approach enables you to actively engage in hands-on learning experiences highly sought after in today’s job market. Critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, and leadership abilities are some of those skills.

Suitability for Professionals

Another advantage to pursuing a non-thesis Master’s program is that it doesn’t take as much time as the thesis Master’s programs. That way you can enter the workforce faster. It’s also well-suited for professionals already established in their field who are seeking to further their education and advance in their careers. 

The Academic and Career Outcomes of Thesis vs. Non-Thesis Master’s Programs


The academic outcomes for the thesis Master’s program graduates involve preparation for Ph.D. programs , opening doors to advanced research and specialized roles in research institutions. This provides solid research skills and helps them publish their work. Common career paths for graduates include research positions in academia, government, or private sectors. Some also pursue teaching careers in colleges and universities. Degree programs that usually require a thesis include sciences, social sciences, engineering, and humanities (history, philosophy, and language studies).

Non-thesis Master’s program graduates typically achieve academic outcomes focused on mastering practical, directly applicable skills within their field. While these programs are more career-oriented, graduates can still pursue a Ph.D. They can benefit from diverse career options in different settings and find employment in managerial, administrative, or specialized roles in their field. Degree programs that don’t usually require a thesis are business, education, healthcare administration, IT management, etc.

Thesis vs. Non-Thesis Master’s Programs, That is the Question 

With their abundance of advantages, choosing between the two can be pretty tricky. So, let’s compare thesis vs. non-thesis Master’s programs and help you make an informed decision. 

Personal and Career Goals

A thesis Master’s program is ideal if you’re interested in furthering in academia and want to pursue a Ph.D ., as these programs can provide the necessary tools to enhance your credentials for research-based careers. Meanwhile, a non-thesis Master’s program will suit you better if you’re seeking to gain practical skills to integrate into the industry immediately, as they can include practical projects or internships according to industry demands. 

Time and Financial Considerations

Thesis Master’s programs can extend the duration of your studies, as researching, writing, and defending the thesis can take several semesters to complete and can cause financial strain due to additional costs like lab fees and materials. In contrast, non-thesis ones can help you enter the job market promptly as they are shorter, allowing you to save time and money.

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Field of Study and Program Requirements

When deciding between a thesis and a non-thesis Master’s program, a crucial element to take into account is the field of study and the program’s specific requirements. A thesis Master’s program is better suited for those pursuing research-oriented fields, while a non-thesis program is a more fitting choice for individuals with a strong focus on their career. Furthermore, program requirements for thesis programs require substantial research to culminate in a thesis, whereas non-thesis ones require capstone projects, internships, or comprehensive exams. 

Switching from a Non-Thesis to a Thesis Master’s Program, or Vice Versa

Switching from a non-thesis to a thesis Master’s program, or vice versa, is possible in many institutions, although the process and requirements may vary. Switching from a non-thesis to a thesis program generally requires getting approval from the academic advisor or department, completing additional research methodology classes, finding a thesis advisor, and applying to the thesis program. 

Switching from a thesis to a non-thesis Master’s program requires having at least a 3.0 GPA, getting approval from the academic advisor, transferring credits of research methodology classes, and formally applying to the thesis program.

Choosing between a thesis and a non-thesis Master’s program ultimately depends on your career goals, research interests, and personal preferences. Thesis programs provide a robust foundation for research-oriented careers and advanced studies, while non-thesis programs offer practical skills tailored for immediate industry integration. Regardless of your choice, both paths offer unique advantages, ensuring you gain the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in your chosen field. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is the difference between a thesis vs. non-thesis master’s program.

The key difference between a thesis and a non-thesis Master’s program is that thesis Master’s programs require original research and completion of a thesis, whereas non-thesis ones focus on coursework and practical experiences. 

Do I have to write a thesis for a Master’s program?

If you’re pursuing a research-oriented Master’s degree in sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, etc., you’ll probably have to write a thesis. Whereas, if you’re pursuing a Master’s degree in education, business healthcare administration, or IT management, you’re more likely not to have to complete a thesis. 

Is a thesis required for all Master’s degree programs?

Although a thesis isn’t required for all master’s degree programs, many programs require one.

What should I consider when deciding between a thesis and non-thesis program?

There are several factors to consider when choosing between a thesis and a non-thesis Master’s program, including your career goals, interest in research, duration of studies, personal strengths and preferences, cost, and program requirements.

Are there any financial and duration differences between thesis and non-thesis Master’s programs?

There can be financial and duration differences between thesis and non-thesis Master’s programs. Thesis programs can be more expensive as you’ll have to spend additional resources on materials, lab fees, and data collection. In contrast, the main cost for non-thesis programs is tuition fees, which can be slightly lower. Furthermore, thesis programs require additional time to conduct research, write, and defend the thesis. In contrast, non-thesis programs allow students to earn the degree in a shorter period. 

Why should I choose a thesis Master’s program?

You should choose a thesis Master’s program if you’re interested in a research-heavy discipline and want to showcase your knowledge and expertise in an evidence-based, thorough thesis. 

Why should I choose a non-thesis Master’s program?

You should choose a non-thesis Master’s program if you want to enter the workforce earlier, don’t want to spend several semesters collecting data, and want to focus more on application than research.

Can non-thesis Master’s graduates still pursue doctoral studies later?

Yes, non-thesis Master’s graduates can still get accepted into a doctoral program. However, thesis Master’s graduates can go through the process more efficiently, as admissions panels want to gain insight into your academic interests and ability to engage in nuanced thought.

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Choosing Between a Thesis or Non-thesis Master's Degree

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  •       Resources       Choosing Between a Thesis or Non-thesis Master's Degree

As of 2015, approximately 25.4 million Americans held advanced degrees , with more citizens joining these ranks each year. As studies continue to show the career advancement and salary benefits of completing a master's degree, more and more students elect to pursue advanced educations. When considering their options, many question whether to enroll in a master's requiring a thesis or not. The following guide examines some of the reasons degree seekers may want to write a thesis while also highlighting why they might not. Students on the fence about this important decision can find expert advice, actionable tips, and relevant guidance to help them make an informed choice in the guide that follows.

Understanding the Master's Thesis

What is the difference between a thesis & non-thesis master's program, the decision not to do a thesis.

As students research various master's programs in their chosen discipline, it's common to find that many degrees require a thesis – especially if they want to enter a research-heavy field. While this word gets thrown around a lot in academia, some learners may want more information regarding what it entails in order to make an informed decision.

What is a Master's Thesis?

The master's thesis is an original piece of scholarship allowing the student to dig into a topic and produce an expanded document that demonstrates how their knowledge has grown throughout the degree program. These documents require significant independent research of primary and secondary sources and, depending on the subject, may require interviews and/or surveys to support the overarching argument.

Individual schools and departments dictate the length of these documents, but they typically range between 60 and 100 pages – or approximately 20,000 to 40,000 words. While tackling a document of such heft may seem overwhelming at first, learners need not fret. Each master's candidate receives a faculty advisor early in their tenure to provide support, feedback, and guidance throughout the process. Because the final thesis is expected to be of a publishable quality, learners seeking the highest marks typically send their supervisor excerpts of the document as they write to ensure they are on the right track.

When picking a thesis topic, no magical formula exists. Students should consider their interests and read extensively on that topic to get a better sense of existing scholarship. They should also speak to other academics working in that sphere to familiarize themselves with ongoing projects. Only after they feel reasonably well-read should they begin looking for uncovered angles or interesting ways of using emerging methodologies to bring new light to the topic.

When considering formatting, degree seekers should check with their specific schools and departments, as they may have unique requirements. To get a general understanding of what to expect, learners can review Simon Fraser University's guidelines on thesis formatting. After completing the thesis, some programs require an oral defense before a committee while others read the document and provide a grade. Check with your prospective schools to get a better sense of procedure.

Format & Components of a Master's Thesis

While this guide attempts to provide helpful and actionable information about the process of deciding whether to follow a thesis or non-thesis track in a master's program, readers should remember that specific components and requirements of a thesis vary according to discipline, university, and department. That being said, some commonalities exist across all these – especially when it comes to what students must include in their final drafts.

As the first section a reader encounters after moving through the table of contents and other anterior text, the introductory allows the writer to firmly establish what they want to accomplish. Sometimes also called the "research question" section, the introductory must clearly state the goals of the paper and the overarching hypothesis guiding the argument. This should be written in a professional yet accessible tone that allows individuals without specializations in the field to understand the text.

This section allows learners to demonstrate their deep knowledge of the field by providing context to existing texts within their chosen discipline Learners review the main bodies of work, highlighting any issues they find within each. Constructive criticism often centers around shortcomings, blind spots, or outdated hypotheses.

Students use this section to explain how they went about their work. While scientists may point to a specific method used to reach conclusions, historians may reference the use of an emerging framework for understanding history to bring new light to a topic. The point of this section is to demonstrate the thought processes that led to your findings.

This section allows for learners to show what they learned during the research process in a non-biased way. Students should simply state what information they gathered by utilizing a specific framework or methodology and arrange those findings, without interpretation, in an easy-to-read fashion.

After providing readers with all the necessary information, the discussion section exists for candidates to interpret the raw data and demonstrate how their research led to a new understanding or contributed a unique perspective to the field. This section should directly connect to the introduction by reinforcing the hypothesis and showing how you answered the questions posed.

Even though the previous sections give prospective degree seekers a better sense of what to expect if they decide to write a thesis during their master's program, they don't necessarily help learners decide whether to pursue a thesis or non-thesis track. The following section highlights some of the reasons students frequently choose to complete a thesis or bypass the process altogether by providing a pros and cons list.

Why a Thesis Program

  • Especially when entering a research-heavy discipline, completing a thesis shows prospective schools and employers that you possess the skills needed for researching and writing long-form reports.
  • Students hoping to pursue a Ph.D. stand in better stead with admissions panels if they wrote a thesis during a master's program.
  • Individuals hoping to enter a field that values syntax and grammar often better their writing skills by completing a thesis.
  • Students who write a thesis can submit the final product to various academic journals, increasing their chances of getting published.
  • Theses expand students' understanding of what they're capable of, deepen their ability to carry out an argument, and develop their skills in making connections between ideas.

Why a Non-thesis Program

  • Because they don't require a significant written product, non-thesis master's tend to take less time to complete.
  • Often mirrors a bachelor's program in terms of structure, allowing learners to complete classes and take exams without a great deal of research or writing.
  • Students who excel in project-based assignments can continue building skills in this arena rather than focusing on skills they don't plan to use (e.g. research)
  • Provides learners the opportunity to work more closely and more frequently with faculty on real-world projects since they don't spend hundreds of hours researching/writing.
  • Allows learners to take more classes and gain hands-on skills to fill the time they would have spent researching and writing a thesis.

How to Choose a Master's Program: FAQs

Within some academic disciplines and professional fields, research and writing plays a key role in work done on a daily basis. Because of this, master's programs in these fields require learners to complete theses to compete against peers and be seen as competent in their work. Other disciplines, conversely, rely on other tools to accomplish work and progress ideas – making theses less important.

Yes. Master's programs focused more on application than research typically don't require a thesis – although they may still give students the option. Examples of common non-thesis master's programs include nursing, business, and education.

Even though non-thesis students won't be writing a 100-page paper, that doesn't mean they avoid completing a significant project. In place of a thesis, most applied master's programs require students to take part in at least one internship or complete a culminating project. These projects typically ask learners to take what they learned throughout coursework and create an expansive final project – examples include case studies, creative works, or portfolios.

While students who followed a non-thesis path routinely receive acceptance to Ph.D. programs, those with theses often find the process easier. Even if a learner pursues a Ph.D. in a discipline that isn't research-heavy, admissions panels still want to get a sense of your academic interests and ability to engage in independent, nuanced thought. Students with theses can provide solid proof of these skills, while those without may struggle to demonstrate preparedness as thoroughly.

The answer to this question depends on many factors, but typically it is okay not to do a thesis if you plan to enter a field that doesn't depend heavily on research or writing, or if you don't plan to complete a Ph.D.

Students wanting to work in academic, research, or writing should always opt for the thesis track. They should also follow this path if they have any doctoral degree aspirations.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to complete a thesis rests with the individual student. Figuring out how to proceed on this front requires lots of careful consideration, and learners should ensure they consider various aspects before coming to a final decision. The following section helps students consider how they should and should not come to a conclusion.

Dos and Don'ts of Choosing a Thesis or Non-thesis Program

  • Consider the longevity of your decision: will you feel the same in 5-10 years or are you making a decision based on current desires?
  • Talk to others who with experience in this area. Ask them questions about their decision-making process and if they regret their choice.
  • Research potential thesis topics before starting a program. Going in with a game plan can help you feel more confident and settled about the process than if you're scrambling for a topic while in school.
  • Reach out to prospective schools to speak with faculty and/or current students following both tracks. This will provide knowledge specific to the school while also expanding your network if you choose to attend there.
  • Research Ph.D. entrance requirements to ascertain if the majority expect learners to possess a thesis when applying. This will give you a sense of whether you may experience issues later on if you do not complete one.
  • Decide not to complete a thesis simply because you have never taken on such a task and feel overwhelmed or fearful that you will fail.
  • Complete a thesis simply because you think it will look good on your resume. Theses require intense devotion over an extended amount of time; learners who complete them without conviction often find the process miserable.
  • Forget to research alternatives to writing a thesis. Just because you don't complete a research paper doesn't mean a non-thesis track lacks rigor or challenging coursework.
  • Forget to read examples of theses by previous students. If you feel overwhelmed by the task, reading work other people have done can often make the task at hand feel less scary.
  • Let yourself off easy by taking the non-thesis path. If you find you have extra time in the program, talk to your advisor about taking more classes, develop meaningful projects for yourself, or see about presenting at an academic conference.

From the Expert

Sudiksha Joshi

Sudiksha Joshi, Ph.D. is a learning advocate. Her mission is to empower our youth to think bigger, bolder thoughts and forge a career path that will change the world. She taps into her natural curiosity and ability to identify strengths to help students and those in transition find their path from feeling lost in the traditional ways of achieving success to charting their own path. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Medium and LinkedIn.

Why might a student decide to follow a thesis track? Why might they follow a non-thesis track?

A student might decide to take a thesis track if she/he wants to pursue a Ph.D. Also, if the students want to focus on careers where research and writing have a strong focus, the students opt for the thesis option. Research assistantships at the graduate level are also more often available to students who opt for the thesis option.

A student who might feel that writing is not one of their strengths might choose to go the non-thesis track. Likewise, a student who has other work commitments may find a non-thesis option more convenient.

Do you have any tips for deciding on a program?

I chose a thesis option because being able to conduct independent research was a big reason to go to graduate school. Also, showing the ability that I could do research was what afforded me research assistantships which meant that my tuition was paid for and I got a stipend that paid for expenses while I was in graduate school. This also allowed me the opportunity to work closely with the faculty mentor that provided me with the support and the accountability I wanted.

I would not recommend taking a non-thesis option if all the degree requires is for you to take courses. You have little to show in terms of your learning other than your grades unless you are already working on something on the side that does that for you and all you need is a certificate.

Opt for a non-thesis option if you can still work closely with a professor or on a project and if you'd rather be involved in multiple projects rather than focus on a single project. If you already have a good (informed) reason for choosing one over the other, go for it.

What's the most important thing to consider when choosing a program?

The most important thing to consider when choosing a program is getting excited about the projects that at least one of the faculty members are involved in. Do some research and see why you are excited about a particular work that at least one of the faculty members have been involved in.

Who should students talk to when considering options?

Students should talk to other students and also reach out directly to the graduate coordinator and even individual faculty members. This means that students should have done prior homework and have some good questions ready. Asking good questions will get you at least halfway through to make the right decision.

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What to Think About When Choosing Between a Thesis & Non-Thesis Master’s Degree

What to Think About When Choosing Between a Thesis & Non-Thesis Master’s Degree

When choosing a graduate program, you’ll find that you may have to decide between pursuing either a thesis or non-thesis master’s degree. Although employers do not consider which you choose during the hiring process, your decision can significantly impact the skills you acquire in your academic career. 

What Is the difference?

A non-thesis master’s degree focuses on coursework . Students are immersed into projects and learning environments that help strengthen their knowledge in their field. Similar to undergraduate programs, a non-thesis program is structured around assignments, group and individual projects, and exams. Research may be included somewhere in the program, but it is primarily focused on helping students achieve skills that will help them become more successful in their careers. This degree path typically has more courses than a non-thesis degree but can be completed in a shorter amount of time.

A thesis master’s degree is more research intensive. Students who aim to work on a thesis can expect to do more reading and writing as they specialize their knowledge. The coursework is generally centered around preparation for a final thesis, building their skills in research, data collection, analysis, and writing. Professors act more as guides and advisors who help students clarify their goals and aid in their research projects and thesis development. Master’s theses are a great primer for anyone looking to pursue a Ph.D., as research skills will be crucial in the development of a dissertation.

Which One Should You Choose?

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong degree path. Both degrees offer a quality education that can help you excel. One thing to consider when deliberating is why you’re pursuing your graduate degree. If you’re going back to college to help you change fields or get to that next level of your career, a non-thesis master’s degree can help you get there. If you want to dive into a career in research and development or pursue a Ph.D., a thesis master’s degree may be more worthwhile. 

Graduate Student Doing Research

Another thing to consider is your learning style. What methods of learning do you enjoy more? If you thrive in group projects and assignments, a non-thesis degree may be more efficient in helping you retain information. For those of you independent thinkers who love to dive deeply into subjects, you might relish in the idea of the research needed in the production of a thesis. Think about what type of academic environment will motivate you to earn your degree. 

Here are 7 questions that you can ask yourself to help you decide:

  • What are my career goals?
  • Where do I see myself in 5 to 10 years?
  • What motivated me to pursue a master’s degree in the first place?
  • What are my plans after graduation?
  • Do I want to learn in a classroom setting, or do I want to be more independent?
  • Am I interested in learning about research?
  • How much writing do I want in my program?

If you have any questions or want to learn more about what each program has to offer, reach out to your school’s faculty and admissions officers. After all, the most important thing about a program isn’t the name of the degree, but what you gain from it.

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Pursuing a non-thesis master’s degree: Is it worth it?

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When navigating the world of master’s programs, the plethora of choices can be bewildering. For instance, prospective candidates often grapple with questions regarding the nature and value of non-thesis master’s degrees. To demystify these programs and provide clarity, delve into this guide to gain insights into commonly asked questions about non-thesis master’s degrees and equip yourself with the knowledge needed to determine whether such a program aligns with your academic and career goals.

What is a non-thesis master’s degree?

The difference between non-thesis and thesis master’s degrees, how common are non-thesis master’s degree, the length of a thesis vs. non-thesis master’s degree, reasons to pursue a non-thesis master’s degree, how to decide whether a non-thesis master’s degree is right for you.

A non-thesis master’s degree, also known as a coursework-based master’s degree, is a graduate program where students typically do not need to complete a research-based thesis as a requirement for graduation.

These programs are often more focused on coursework, examinations, projects, or practical experience.

Instead of conducting original research and writing a thesis, students in non-thesis master’s programs primarily take courses and complete a set number of credits or specific coursework.

Non-thesis master’s programs are common in various fields, especially in disciplines where practical skills and knowledge are more important than conducting independent research. For example, non-thesis master’s programs are often found in business administration (MBA), education (M.Ed.), public administration, healthcare administration, and some engineering and technology-related fields.

A non-thesis master’s degree can be definitely worth it is you are aware of the differences and decide that this option best fits to your ambitions, learning style and future career prospects.

A non-thesis master’s degree can undoubtedly be worth it, provided that you are well-informed about the distinctions between program types and have carefully concluded that this option aligns with your aspirations, preferred learning approach, and the potential pathways it offers for your future career.

In contrast to a non-thesis master’s degree, thesis-based master’s programs require students to conduct original research, write a thesis based on their research findings, and defend their thesis in front of a committee of faculty members. The choice between a thesis and a non-thesis master’s program often depends on the goals and career aspirations of the student and the requirements of the specific program or institution.

It’s crucial to understand that a thesis-based master’s degree isn’t exclusively tailored for those aspiring to enter academia or pursue a Ph.D. In fact, a significant majority of individuals pursuing a master’s program that includes a thesis ultimately find their paths in various professional fields.

Engaging in a thesis offers a unique opportunity to delve deeply into a specific subject, foster independence in research, and gain invaluable experience in project management. It involves conceiving an idea, structuring a project, and executing it, reflecting a multifaceted skill set.

A thesis-based master’s degree serves as a testament to one’s complex analytical thinking, as well as their unwavering determination.

However, it’s important to note that this does not imply that non-thesis master’s degrees are inherently inferior or misguided choices. The decision to pursue a non-thesis program should be a well-considered one, grounded in a thorough assessment of your personal motivations and objectives.

Non-thesis master’s degrees vary in prevalence across different regions. In many European contexts, for instance, most master’s programs tend to culminate with a more extensive project that necessitates original research. However, internships and practical projects also hold a stronger presence in many programs.

Furthermore, the prevalence of non-thesis master’s degrees is significantly influenced by the academic discipline in question. For instance, these degrees are more commonly found in fields like business and education as compared to social sciences or humanities.

Non-thesis master’s programs are designed to equip students with practical skills and knowledge that can be immediately applied in a professional context, as opposed to focusing on original research. In several European countries, these programs may be referred to as “professional” or “applied” master’s degrees, emphasizing practical training and real-world experience.

Additionally, in some contexts non-thesis master’s programs might maintain a research-oriented element, where students are expected to complete a final project or a capstone experience that could involve some original research or data analysis, albeit usually less extensive than a traditional thesis.

In general, non-thesis master’s degrees are relatively less prevalent, and their particular structure and prerequisites exhibit variations not only between countries but also among different universities.

Consequently, conducting comprehensive research to comprehend the specific program requirements and expectations is of paramount importance prior to applying.

It is erroneous to assume that a non-thesis master’s degree requires less time to complete than a master’s program with a thesis component.

It’s essential not to conflate thesis and non-thesis master’s degrees with one-year or two-year master’s programs . In fact, many one-year programs do incorporate a thesis component.

Thus, if your primary goal is expediency and obtaining a degree within a shorter timeframe, the question of whether to pursue a non-thesis master’s degree may not be the most relevant one to consider.

Pursuing a non-thesis master’s degree can offer unique advantages for individuals with diverse career goals and learning preferences:

  • Interest in practical and applied knowledge: Non-thesis programs often emphasize practical, hands-on knowledge that can be immediately applied in real-world scenarios.
  • Leadership development: Many non-thesis degree programs place a stronger focus on leadership skills, preparing students for roles where practical skills are essential in leading projects or teams.
  • Broadening career opportunities: Some fields, like business and education, highly value practical skills and knowledge, and a non-thesis master’s can open doors to a wider range of career opportunities.
  • Balancing work and study: For individuals who are working professionals or have other commitments, non-thesis programs can be more accommodating in terms of managing work-study balance.
  • Lack of interest in research or academic writing: Some students may simply prefer coursework over extensive research and thesis writing, finding non-thesis programs a better fit for their academic and career goals.

Choosing the ideal master’s degree program is a significant decision, and it’s essential to align your academic journey with your aspirations. Pursuing a non-thesis master’s degree presents distinctive benefits that cater to a wide range of career objectives and learning styles. To make an informed choice, ponder the following questions:

  • What are your career goals and aspirations? Think about the specific roles or industries you want to work in after completing your master’s degree.
  • Do you enjoy research and academic writing? Consider your preferences for in-depth research and thesis writing as some programs require these components.
  • Do you value practical, real-world experience? Assess whether you prioritize hands-on learning and the application of knowledge in practical settings.
  • What are the specific industry requirements in your field of interest? Research whether non-thesis or thesis-based programs are more aligned with the expectations of your desired industry.
  • What is your learning style? Reflect on your preferences for coursework, projects, and presentations versus extensive research and academic writing.
  • What type of assessment methods do you find engaging? Determine if you enjoy diverse evaluation methods, such as projects, presentations, and coursework, or if you prefer a single research-based project.

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Learn more about the non thesis MBA options in the Philippines

  • September 30, 2021

Juggling the rigors of a full-time job with home responsibilities is hard enough. But when you decide to take the leap for your post grad, you also sign up for the additional workload. Many professionals hoping to take their master’s choose to forgo the opportunity for fear of not being able to balance it with the rest of their life. Compiling and submitting a thesis dissertation is not only time-consuming, but also labor-intensive and expensive. But what if you didn’t have to write a thesis to earn your master’s? Discover the benefits of taking a non-thesis MBA today and find out how to enroll in the program!

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Hang on, will my MBA program be valid without a thesis?

Taking a non-thesis master’s degree does not make you any less worthy of that master’s diploma. Contrary to popular belief, submitting and publishing a dissertation is not the only way to earn your master’s degree! This provides many working professionals a more sustainable option of pursuing their desired post-grad studies.

How does a non-thesis MBA in the Philippines differ from a traditional MBA?

A traditional thesis-based MBA has very different outputs, learning, outcomes, and program lengths from a non-thesis MBA. And while it is the lesser-known option of the two, a non-thesis MBA does have its unique advantages over its dissertation counterpart!

Expected Outputs

A thesis-centric master’s program relies heavily on research work. Students can expect research to become their primary tool and can expect to do large amounts of reading and writing to gain the knowledge for their specialization. A non-thesis MBA may provide some relief due to its familiar approach to your bachelor’s education; one that focuses primarily on coursework for developing your skills and expertise in the field. Expect to do a lot of written assignments and group works while taking comprehensive exams. Unlike a dissertation which gears you for a research-based contribution, a non-thesis program is meant to hone your skills for an added edge in your career’s progress.

Program Length

A typical thesis-based MBA can last between one to three years on average. For a non-thesis master’s program, this period is usually shorter. While thesis-based MBAs take a more concentrated approach with slow, tedious work but less subjects, a non-thesis MBA packs more subjects into the program. While this may seem like more work to you, it also means that you get your degree sooner despite the higher amount of coursework.

Educational Trajectory

The option of a non-thesis MBA is especially better if you are decided that your master’s degree will be your last foray into formal education after your bachelor’s degree. The research work in a thesis-based program hone necessary skills for writing dissertations, which are a main requirement for accomplishing your doctorate. If your career is one whose highest academic program stops at master’s, or if you have no plans to pursue a PhD in the future, then a non-thesis program is a great option for you!

Career Path

If you work in an industry that does not heavily rely on research, and you don’t need a PhD to make the most out of your career, then sticking to non-thesis program is definitely the better, more advantageous choice. Due to the nature of the course output, non-thesis students will have more time to observe hands on learning from real-world demonstrations of the skills necessary to their field.

If you are involved in a business career and are decided on taking a master’s degree that you can balance with the other aspects of your life, consider one of the Philippines’ most versatile non-thesis master’s programs. OEd’s Online Master’s in Business Administration balances research, theories, and practical, hands-on techniques that you can apply to your work performance. Find out how much master’s degrees cost and discover why OEd is the reasonable and sustainable choice for non-thesis post graduate learning!

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Question: Are there any online master's in communication programs that do not require a thesis?

Updated: september 29, 2022.

Answer: Yes – Almost all online master’s in communication programs in the United States do not require students to complete a thesis in order to graduate. At this time, there are 131 online master’s degree programs in the United States, and of this number, The University of West Alabama is the only one that explicitly requires students to complete a thesis as their graduation requirement. While some programs offer students the opportunity to write a thesis, it is included as one of two or more capstone options. For online master’s in communication programs, capstone options most often include a project, portfolio, comprehensive exam, or internship. There are also online programs that have no capstone requirement. Capstone options and requirements vary by program, so students should be sure they fully understand what is expected of them before applying.

The capstone requirement is a major component of most master’s degree programs in communication whether they are offered online or on-campus. Students typically spend a significant amount of time working on this project, which may take one of several different forms. The most common capstone options are:

  • Publishable papers
  • Applied project
  • Comprehensive exam

Some programs also require students to enroll in a capstone course, where they work on their capstone under the guidance of faculty or instructors. It is also not uncommon for students to earn credit hours towards graduation for completing a thesis or applied project (typically three to six credits).

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Types of master’s in communication capstone experiences.

A thesis is a lengthy research paper, in which students identify an issue within the field of communication and form a hypothesis around it to study with extensive research. The process of conceptualizing, researching, and writing a thesis often spans the entire second half of a student’s master’s program, and these papers regularly end up being over 100 pages long. During the development of their thesis, students typically work with a committee comprised of three or four faculty members who help guide them through the process. In most cases, students then must defend their completed thesis in front of this same committee, answering in-depth questions about their research and conclusions.

As mentioned above, only one online master’s program in communication offered in the United States requires students to complete a thesis in order to graduate. The University of West Alabama’s (UWA) online Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) culminates in a Thesis Project, which not only requires a thesis but also a professional portfolio that enhances students’ competitiveness in the industry after they graduate. Despite the thesis requirement for this program, UWA’s online MA in Integrated Marketing Communications has a highly applied focus, with courses that focus on marketing management, media production, and business development.

While thesis requirements are in the minority amongst online master’s in communication programs, there are numerous traditional on-campus programs that do require students to complete a thesis. These are typically programs with an academic or theoretical social science focus, designed for students intending to further their studies at the doctoral level. In many cases, graduates of these types of programs go on to work in academia or research. As such, researching and writing a thesis is often great preparation for their future careers.

Some programs offer students the choice to write several publishable papers as their capstone requirement. These are also research-based projects, but not as extensive as a thesis. Each publishable paper is typically much shorter than a thesis, however, the multiple papers put together may be comparable in length. Students go through a similar process when developing a publishable paper, applying communication research methods and theory to a real-word issue in the field in order to form an original analysis. This capstone option may also be a good choice for students considering a PhD program or career in research, as well as those who wish to fully investigate or complete a study they began earlier in their master’s program.

An applied project is one of the most common capstone options in many online master’s in communication programs. As opposed to a thesis or publishable papers, which are more theoretical and academic in nature, the applied project, or praxis, is geared toward students who intend to enter the professional world following graduation, or current working professionals looking to further their careers. In completing an applied project, students still identify and attempt to solve an actual problem in communication or their particular specialization. The major difference is that they then produce a tangible product meant to address this issue, as opposed to a paper detailing their solution. This final product may take many different forms, such as a training video, marketing or communication plan, employee handbook, website, mobile application, or documented consultation with a business or organization. Students often pursue a project that aligns with their career goals after graduation, as these can be prominently featured on one’s resume. Since many online programs are designed for working professionals, most online students complete an applied project instead of a thesis, even when both options are available.

Another capstone option commonly offered by online master’s in communication programs is the comprehensive exam . Students who choose this as their graduation requirement must successfully pass an extensive examination, testing them on their knowledge of topics covered in the program. These exams typically include questions pertaining to core communication theory and research methods, as well as questions focused specifically on one’s degree concentration (e.g., organizational communication, technical communication). The question set is often customized for each student by a faculty committee, and may include both a written and oral component. While the exam itself may take most of a day to complete, and students can expect to spend a significant amount of time preparing for it, this capstone option still requires less time overall than a thesis or praxis. As such, the comprehensive exam is often a great option for working professionals or students otherwise too busy to devote time to an extensive research project. Programs that offer students the choice between a thesis/project or a comprehensive exam may, however, require those who take the exam option to complete additional courses.

There are also some online programs that offer students the chance to complete an internship or portfolio as their capstone requirement. These are both fairly straightforward. Students who pursue an internship go to work for a business or organization related to their particular field of study. This hands-on experience allows them to apply what they have learned in the program in a real-world professional environment, all while gaining valuable training they can include on their resume. At the conclusion of their internship, students typically must submit a summary or other deliverable detailing their experience in order to satisfy their graduation requirement.

The portfolio, on the other hand, is generally a collection of projects, papers, or other work a student completed during their time in the program. These may be assignments directly related to a course they took, or projects completed outside the program itself, such as at their job or during their free time. The requirements for a portfolio and what it must include to qualify a student for graduation vary by program.

Finally, there are a few online master’s in communication programs that do not require any capstone project for graduation. In these programs, once students complete all the required courses and meet the credit requirements, they are eligible to graduate, assuming they are in good standing.

To learn more about many of the capstone options discussed above, check out our in-depth Guide to Understanding Capstone Options .

Capstone Requirements by Online Master’s in Communication Program

The following table contains the capstone options for all online master’s in communication programs offered by schools located in the United States. Click on the program name to learn more about the program.

Online Master's in Communication FAQs:

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What Is The Difference Between A Thesis Or Non-Thesis Master’s Degree?

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If you’re looking forward to enrolling in a master’s degree program, it helps to comprehend what a master’s thesis entails clearly. Some learners still can’t explain the primary difference between a non-thesis master’s degree and a thesis master’s degree. In this article, we help you understand the difference as we highlight other vital facts about the topic. So, let’s do this!

What Is a Master’s Thesis?

What is the length of a master’s thesis, structure and details in master’s thesis, why you should choose a master’s thesis program.

  • The Difference between Thesis and Non-Thesis Program

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Non-Thesis Master’s Program?

Thesis or non-thesis master’s degree faqs, make a decision today.

A master’s thesis is a lengthy and comprehensive scholarly paper that lets you dig deeper into your field of expertise and manifest your growth as a learner. Suppose you undertake a research-oriented degree; you will need to give your graduate school a thesis. That is the best way to portray your practical skills ahead of culmination.

For instance, if you are a psychology major, you might be asked to write a thesis showing the relationship between color and mood. Based on your program, your skills and ability will be weighed differently. It all depends on what the graduate school wants its students to have. The good thing is with the perfect thesis statement; you will have a chance to prove your statement or idea on paper, develop your argument, and come up with a masterpiece.

Your master thesis will be between 40 and 300 pages long, which doesn’t include the bibliography. Many factors can affect the actual length of your thesis for your master’s. For instance, your dissertation topic for masters and method of analysis will be used to determine the appropriate pages to write.

The examiner will ensure that students receive clear instructions on how to handle the thesis. Note that most of the time, you will have a period of two semesters to complete your thesis. Well, that’s enough time to meet all requirements.

Provided you are interested in writing a master’s thesis, it is advisable to develop the right topic early in your academic program. That way, you will have ample time to come up with great research questions so that you submit a top-quality project.

Would you like to know the structure and details of a master’s thesis? The structure is the basis of writing a master thesis that wins you not just a master’s degree but also scholarly recognition. Here’s the information on a relevant structure you need to follow:

  • The Summary: In this section, you must indicate your introduction alongside the research questions. Aside from the method of data collection and analysis, you also need to include the master’s degree paper finding and conclusion.
  • Introduction: In the introduction, you need to clarify the context of your research question. Don’t forget to mention the existing knowledge and previous research as well as your thesis question.
  • Theory: Your theory lets you mention what other individuals have to say about the same subject matter. This comes in handy when you are dealing with empirical research.
  • Method: In the method chapter, it is crucial to portray where your research, as well as the method, positions itself in the field of science. Don’t make your method chapter too long and descriptive.
  • Presentation of Data and Findings : Here is where you must indicate your findings from the data you had analyzed. You must show your examiners that you have a deep understanding of the requirements, such as the research question.
  • Discussion: Discuss your findings in plain language. You might want to relate your findings to the previous research to showcase your relevance throughout the project.
  • Summary and Implications : Now that you are ending the thesis for your masters, make sure you summarize your main points. Make it brief and clear. If you forgot to clarify something in your master’s degree paper, here is the right place to do that.

There are many reasons students need to write a master’s degree thesis. If you want to have the best learning experience and show that you are a smart graduate, then writing a dissertation for a master’s thesis is something you should embrace. More so, if you choose to write a thesis for masters:

  • You will have the rare chance of delving deeper into the field of research, becoming a student with an in-depth understanding of their course and career as a whole.
  • You will notice that most companies prefer students with thesis papers on their portfolios, and you can simply be one of them if you choose a thesis master.
  • It is the best way to indicate that you have gained adequate writing skills and possess an inborn willingness to learn.
  • Defending your thesis program shows that you have competitive critical thinking skills as well as public speaking skills.

The Difference Between Thesis and Non-Thesis Program

What’s the difference between thesis and non-thesis masters? Well, if you opt for a non-thesis program, you won’t have to write a lengthy, compressive research paper to attain the graduation requirements. Note that whether you choose a thesis or non-thesis master’s, at the end of your program, you will need to submit your final paper to show your critical thinking skills.

Also, if you go for a non-thesis program, your final project can either be a field experience or a capstone project. Those are the main differences you need to know about a master’s degree thesis and non-thesis program.

A thesis is a primary requirement in most fields of research. However, not all master’s programs will require you to complete a thesis. To be precise, some institutions or fields will let you choose between a thesis and a non-thesis master’s program. The same applies to a PhD; you can opt for PhD without a thesis (non-thesis PhD).

The pros of a non-thesis master’s program are not that strong. But they are still worth mentioning. The main advantage of a master’s degree without a thesis is that you:

  • You will have a smooth learning experience
  • You won’t have to spend time thinking about research skills.
  • You are free from conducting detailed research analysis and writing a lengthy project.

On the flip side:

  • A non-thesis master’s degree might not show you as a competent student.
  • Your employers might not be able to know whether you have the required communication and critical thinking skills.
  • Since you won’t have the chance to post your thesis on a scholarly website, your credibility would be hard to determine.

Does Every Master’s Degree Require a Thesis?

The shortest answer is a resounding no. Not all master’s degrees require a thesis. However, the institution will allow you to choose whether you would like your program to be a thesis or a non-thesis one. As we already mentioned, there are lots of benefits you can enjoy when you go for the thesis master’s program.

Aside from showing that you’ve got incredible analysis skills, writing a thesis shows that you are serious about your field of expertise. But if you don’t want to write a lengthy paper, then you have the freedom to avoid choosing a thesis master’s program. A master without a thesis is still worth it.

Do We Have Any Tips For Choosing A Program?

Yes! There are essential tips that can help you choose the best program. Here are some of them for your reference:

  • You should know where your passion lies: It is advisable not to pick a program because it is marketable. If you don’t like it, you won’t excel in it. If you have a strong passion for something, even if it is not quite interesting, you can thrive and earn good money from it.
  • Know your abilities : Some programs are so tough that only the most resilient students can complete them. If you are not willing to go beyond the limits trying to break the ice, you should not go for that program.
  • Know the duration of the program : Some programs only need two years to complete, while some will run for up to six years. Think about the time you have left to complete a course and make up your mind based on that.

How Long Does it Take to Write a Master’s Thesis?

There’s no specific time you need to complete your master’s thesis. It is all about your program and the type of school committee you are dealing with. We have already seen that in most cases, you will need to complete your master’s degree thesis in two semesters.

Some institutions might give you a shorter period or a more extended period. If you feel that you have a short deadline, it is better to begin your master’s degree dissertation as soon as possible. Even if you have six months or one year to write your thesis, you need to start early enough. Remember, the time might seem lengthy, but the thesis might be a lengthy and comprehensive one as well.

Now that you know the difference between a thesis and a non-thesis master’s degree, you can go ahead and make your decision today. But if you want to have the best learning experience and a rewarding outcome, you can order the professional thesis master’s help and receive the most helpful assistance for your dissertation.

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Is a Thesis Required for a Master’s Degree?

Reviewed by David Krug David Krug is a seasoned expert with 20 years in educational technology (EdTech). His career spans the pivotal years of technology integration in education, where he has played a key role in advancing student-centric learning solutions. David's expertise lies in marrying technological innovation with pedagogical effectiveness, making him a valuable asset in transforming educational experiences. As an advisor for enrollment startups, David provides strategic guidance, helping these companies navigate the complexities of the education sector. His insights are crucial in developing impactful and sustainable enrollment strategies.

Updated: February 29, 2024 , Reading time: 8 minutes

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Pursuing a Master’s Degree represents a major academic achievement and commitment for graduate students. Requirements can vary widely between programs and institutions, and one common question students have is whether or not a thesis is required for a Master’s Degree.

A thesis is not required for all Master’s Degrees. Whether a thesis is required for a Master’s Degree depends on the specific program and institution. Generally, there are two types of master’s programs: thesis and non-thesis. 

In a thesis program, students are required to conduct original research, write a thesis, and defend it before a committee . 

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Non-thesis programs, on the other hand, might require students to complete additional coursework, a capstone project, or comprehensive exams instead of a thesis. It’s important for students to check the requirements of their specific program and institution.

  • Involves extensive research under faculty supervision
  • Culminates in a written document and often a defense
  • May extend the duration of your program
  • Ideal if you’re aiming for a research position or a PhD
  • Focuses on coursework
  • May include a project or additional elective courses
  • Suited for professional practice outside of academia

Some fields, especially those that are research-intensive, may require a thesis for you to go deeper into your chosen thesis topic . A non-thesis track might be available or even recommended in other disciplines, particularly where professional practice is the goal.

Deciding between a thesis and a non-thesis Master’s Degree boils down to your personal interests and career aspirations. If you’re considering a career that values scholarly research, or you aim to pursue a doctoral degree afterward, writing a thesis can provide a competitive edge.

However, if you wish to enter the workforce promptly or apply your skills directly to a professional setting, you might opt for the non-thesis route. Always check with your specific program for the requirements, as they can vary widely between universities and even departments within the same institution.

Understanding Master’s Degree Requirements

When pursuing a Master’s Degree, you’ll find there are a variety of requirements you must meet to earn your diploma. These include core courses, potential electives, and specializations which all come together to form the basis of your graduate education.

Core Components of a Master’s Program

The core components of a master’s program consist of a specific set of courses designed to provide you with foundational and advanced knowledge in your area of study. Typically, these courses are mandatory and must be completed to proceed in the program. For example, in a Master of Science program, you might be required to take advanced coursework in research methods or statistics.

  • Mandatory Courses : Advanced topics in your field
  • Research Requirements: Often includes a capstone project or thesis
  • Practical Experience: May involve internships or practicums depending on your discipline

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Electives and Specializations

In addition to core courses, you’ll typically have the opportunity to choose from various electives that align with your interests or career goals. It’s your chance to tailor your academic experience to your aspirations. 

Furthermore, some programs offer specializations or tracks focusing on sub-fields or specific skill sets. For instance, a Master’s in Education could offer educational leadership or curriculum design specializations.

  • Electives : Courses that supplement your major
  • Specializations : Concentrated study in a sub-field

Selecting electives and a specialization is a strategic decision that can direct your professional trajectory, so it’s worth considering your options within the curriculum.

Thesis vs. Non-Thesis Master’s Degrees

When you’re considering a Master’s Degree, you’ll encounter two main types of programs: thesis and non-thesis tracks. Both have distinct requirements and outcomes that can shape your post-graduate experience.

Characteristics of a Thesis-Track Program

A thesis-track master’s program typically involves conducting original research or a comprehensive study on a particular topic within your discipline. As part of a thesis program:

  • Coursework : Usually involves advanced level courses that focus on research methodology and theoretical background
  • Research : Demands a significant amount of independent study and often includes data collection and analysis
  • Final Product: You will be required to produce a substantial written thesis , which is reviewed by a committee and often involves an oral defense

Graduates of thesis programs may gain a competitive edge if pursuing a doctorate or a career in research , as they demonstrate the ability to perform scholarly work independently.

Non-Thesis Options for Graduates

Conversely, non-thesis master’s programs emphasize practical experience over research. Characteristics of a non-thesis program include:

Woman browsing through books on a library

  • Coursework : More coursework instead of research, with a focus on applied knowledge and skill development
  • Capstone Projects or Exams : May require a capstone project or comprehensive exams to showcase what you’ve learned
  • Timeframe : Non-thesis programs can often be completed in a shorter timeframe, making it an attractive option for those looking to accelerate their careers

Non-thesis degrees are well-suited for professionals aiming to advance their current career or shift to a new field without the focus on research-based studies.

The Role of a Thesis in Master’s Studies

A thesis in Master’s studies serves as both a capstone of your accumulated knowledge and a stepping stone to professional or academic advancement. It’s the culmination of your graduate education, and its successful completion often signifies your readiness to contribute significantly to your field of study.

Research Skills Development

Your journey through a Master’s program will equip you with a host of research skills, but it’s the thesis that truly tests your mettle. In crafting your thesis, you’ll enhance your ability to synthesize information, develop methodologies, and engage deeply with existing literature. Essentially, the research component of your thesis is an intensive exercise in critical thinking and problem-solving.

  • Analyze : Learn to scrutinize data and texts to uncover patterns, theories, and insights
  • Organize : Present your findings coherently, underscoring the relevance and impact

Contribution to the Field

Your thesis isn’t just a sign of personal achievement; it’s your chance to add to the collective knowledge of your discipline. With a thesis, you possibly bring forth new theories or innovative perspectives, making a tangible contribution to the field. It showcases your ability to conduct original research that could lead to new understandings or applications within your area of study.

  • Innovation : Offer novel solutions or ideas that can benefit academia or industry
  • Expertise : Establish yourself as a knowledgeable individual ready to engage with peers at a professional level

Determining the Need for a Thesis

When considering a Master’s Degree , you’ll need to decide whether a program aligned with a thesis requirement fits your academic and professional goals.

Program-Specific Requirements

Different master’s programs have varying expectations regarding a thesis. In fields that prioritize research, such as psychology or biology, a thesis is often mandatory, showcasing your ability to contribute original findings to your area of study. To understand the specifics, consulting the program’s curriculum can provide clarity on whether a thesis will be a central component of your academic journey.

Career Aspirations and Advancements

Your career goals can significantly influence your decision to complete a thesis. If you aim for a role that values practical experience over research, you might opt for a non-thesis track offering more coursework or internships. Conversely, completing a thesis can provide a strong foundation if you’re considering a Ph.D. or a career in academia. It’s a strategic step that can bolster your profile for future advancements, especially in research-heavy fields.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the usual length and requirements of a master’s thesis.

A master’s thesis typically ranges from 40 to 80 pages, although some can be longer, contingent upon your subject and research depth. Your thesis should demonstrate your knowledge and ability to conduct independent research in your field of study.

For Education-Related Master’s Programs, Is Completing a Thesis a Common Requirement?

In education-focused master’s programs , a thesis may be a requirement, especially if the program aims to prepare students for doctoral studies or research-intensive careers. However, some programs might offer a practitioner’s track that substitutes a thesis with a capstone project or comprehensive exam.

How Challenging is it Typically to Complete a Thesis for a Master’s Degree?

Completing a thesis for a Master’s Degree is generally seen as a rigorous endeavor. It requires dedication, time management, and a deep dive into your field of study to create a scholarly work that contributes to the academic community.

The necessity of a thesis largely depends on the type of master’s program you’re considering. Some programs are research-heavy and thus require a thesis to demonstrate your ability to conduct thorough research and contribute original knowledge to your field. On the other hand, non-thesis options may focus more on practical skills and knowledge, often culminating in a project or comprehensive exam rather than a research paper.

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Master of Science in Psychology Non-Thesis (MS)

All application materials for the Master of Science in Psychology are due by the date prescribed by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research to be considered for admission. Students apply to begin the graduate program in the Fall.

The following are the admissions criteria for the MS in the Psychology Program:

  • Submit an application for graduate studies by the Fall due date provided by the Graduate School. Deadlines may be found at:
  • Pay the application fee.
  • Submit an official transcript from the last institution attended and an official transcript from the institution where the highest degree was earned. In some cases it may be the same institution.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources to the Graduate School.
  • Include a statement of purpose with a minimum of 300 words describing your academic and career goals and objectives.
  • Include a sample of your academic writing skills (it may be an undergraduate research paper, a book chapter, or a journal article).

Major Curriculum - Psychology

9 SCH of electives may be selected from any 5000-level graduate courses, including those from other departments in the university, with the approval of the Graduate Advisor.

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MS, Engineering – Non-thesis

The MS in Engineering provides students with a rigorous, adaptive curriculum and research environment that prepares them to integrate discoveries from multiple fields and address problems beyond the bounds of traditional disciplines.

Degree Type: Masters

Degree Program Code: MS_ENGR_NT

Degree Program Summary:

To develop, adapt and disseminate knowledge and technologies for engineering and management of interdisciplinary engineering systems.

The MS-E degree provides students with a rigorous, adaptive curriculum and research environment that prepares them to integrate discoveries from multiple fields and address multi-scale problems beyond the bounds of traditional engineering disciplines. It provides broad training in science and engineering oriented to solving complex problems that transcend specialized engineering disciplines or fields. This degree requires twenty-four semester hours of coursework, including ENGR 6910, Research Methods, and one hour of seminar (ENGR 8950). Six hours of thesis research is also required. Six hours of math and six hours of statistics are encouraged, with remaining courses related to a thesis topic. Contact the graduate coordinator for additional details.

Locations Offered:

Athens (Main Campus)

College / School:

College of Engineering

597 D. W. Brooks Drive Athens, GA 30602


Graduate Coordinator(s):

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/images/cornell/logo35pt_cornell_white.svg" alt="master's degree without a thesis"> Cornell University --> Graduate School

Guide to writing your thesis/dissertation, definition of dissertation and thesis.

The dissertation or thesis is a scholarly treatise that substantiates a specific point of view as a result of original research that is conducted by students during their graduate study. At Cornell, the thesis is a requirement for the receipt of the M.A. and M.S. degrees and some professional master’s degrees. The dissertation is a requirement of the Ph.D. degree.

Formatting Requirement and Standards

The Graduate School sets the minimum format for your thesis or dissertation, while you, your special committee, and your advisor/chair decide upon the content and length. Grammar, punctuation, spelling, and other mechanical issues are your sole responsibility. Generally, the thesis and dissertation should conform to the standards of leading academic journals in your field. The Graduate School does not monitor the thesis or dissertation for mechanics, content, or style.

“Papers Option” Dissertation or Thesis

A “papers option” is available only to students in certain fields, which are listed on the Fields Permitting the Use of Papers Option page , or by approved petition. If you choose the papers option, your dissertation or thesis is organized as a series of relatively independent chapters or papers that you have submitted or will be submitting to journals in the field. You must be the only author or the first author of the papers to be used in the dissertation. The papers-option dissertation or thesis must meet all format and submission requirements, and a singular referencing convention must be used throughout.

ProQuest Electronic Submissions

The dissertation and thesis become permanent records of your original research, and in the case of doctoral research, the Graduate School requires publication of the dissertation and abstract in its original form. All Cornell master’s theses and doctoral dissertations require an electronic submission through ProQuest, which fills orders for paper or digital copies of the thesis and dissertation and makes a digital version available online via their subscription database, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses . For master’s theses, only the abstract is available. ProQuest provides worldwide distribution of your work from the master copy. You retain control over your dissertation and are free to grant publishing rights as you see fit. The formatting requirements contained in this guide meet all ProQuest specifications.

Copies of Dissertation and Thesis

Copies of Ph.D. dissertations and master’s theses are also uploaded in PDF format to the Cornell Library Repository, eCommons . A print copy of each master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation is submitted to Cornell University Library by ProQuest.


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  17. MS, Engineering

    MS, Engineering - Non-thesis. The MS in Engineering provides students with a rigorous, adaptive curriculum and research environment that prepares them to integrate discoveries from multiple fields and address problems beyond the bounds of traditional disciplines. Degree Type: Masters. Degree Program Code: MS_ENGR_NT.

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