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Policy on Addition of Non-Thesis Option to M.A. in Church-State Studies

We the faculty of the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies believe in the value of an extended research project such as a thesis, and we value of the faculty-student interaction involved in completing a thesis. The fact is, however, that many of our M.A. students do not go on to further graduate work or to teach in the academy, but rather into non-profit work, governmental employment, or church service, careers for which the completion of a thesis is less important. We have therefore added two non-thesis options to our M.A. in Church-State Studies. The change is effective immediately, meaning that all current students are free to choose whichever option they like to complete their degree.

Examination Procedures (required for both Non-thesis Option 1 & Non-thesis Option 2)

Students who do not write a thesis must pass both a comprehensive written examination on their coursework and an oral examination that defends and expands on the product of the written examination.

The committee will consist of a minimum of three Church-State Studies Graduate Faculty members, in addition to one Graduate Faculty member from outside the Institute.

The student may choose to take the comprehensive exam one of two ways: 1) They may choose to take the all three exams from courses taken within Church-State Studies. In this case one graduate faculty member from outside the Institute must sit on the committee. Or, 2) They may choose to take two Church-State Studies exams and one exam from a course outside the Institute. In this case, the fourth member of the committee must be a Church-State Graduate faculty member.

Please note that students must schedule all comprehensive exams during the first half of September, the first half of December, or the second half of April.

Non-thesis option 1: Supplementary Coursework

Requires completion of 6 additional hours of coursework at the 5000-level choses from courses taught by the institute. Courses taught in other departments may be allowed with prior approval by the director of the institute. Prior to graduation, the student must successfully pass a comprehensive written and oral examination on his or her course of study in the institute.

Non-thesis option 2: Public Policy Internship

Required completion of 6-hour internship (new course to be created -- CHS 5V12) in a field related to church-state studies, including faith-based organizations, human rights, religious freedom, and social justice. All internships must be approved by the director of the institute. Upon completion of the internship, the student must submit a final report, the grade of which will be recored as the grade for CHS 5V12. Prior to graduation, the student must successfully pass a comprehensive written and oral examination on his or her course of study in the institute.