Overview of the Undergraduate Communication Thesis
The thesis is a two semester course for Communication majors. It is undertaken and
completed during the senior year. During the first semester students write a research
proposal that includes a literature review and detailed methodology. During the
second semester students conduct data collection and analysis and write a complete
thesis describing this work. Students work with two professors throughout the course,
a designated faculty supervisor and a thesis seminar supervisor. Students are required
to attend the thesis seminar both semesters. Students receive one advanced course
credit toward the Communication major for each semester completed.
1) Students writing Honors or ComPS theses are required to design and conduct a
primary research study in the communication field.
Literature reviews without original research will not be accepted. Documentary films
may be accepted under certain circumstances and will be
evaluated on a case by case basis. (Students interested in completing
a documentary film thesis must obtain written certification from their faculty supervisor
that they have the required technological and editing skills
needed prior to enrollment in the thesis course.)
2) The thesis is original work not completed in a previous course or undertaken
in a current course outside the thesis seminar. In some
cases, the thesis may continue work initiated in an Independent Study or in Communication
395. Prior written approval by both thesis supervisors is
required to ensure that an appropriate amount of new research is conducted
for the thesis.
3) Studies may be quantitative (e.g., surveys, experiments, content analyses) or
qualitative (e.g., interviews, focus groups, textual analyses
of magazines, TV shows, speeches, etc.).
Copies of previous theses are available for review in the Annenberg library.
Eligibility for the Thesis:
Annenberg offers two undergraduate thesis options with different eligibility requirements:
1) Honors Thesis Eligibility
2) ComPS Capstone Thesis Eligibility
Enrollment in the ComPS Capstone Thesis Seminar or the Honors Thesis Seminar
Requirements for enrollment in the First Semester Seminar (Comm 494):
1) Meet the eligibility requirements listed above.
2) Identify a faculty member willing to supervise the thesis.
3) Submit a research topic statement approved and signed by the designated faculty
supervisor (not the thesis seminar supervisor) by September
15, 2014. Failure to submit a research topic statement approved by a designated
faculty supervisor will prevent enrollment in the thesis
Prepared in consultation with the designated faculty supervisor, the research topic
statement is approximately 3-5 pages long. It includes:
Successful Completion of the First Semester Seminar
During proposal and thesis preparation, students will work jointly with the designated
faculty supervisor and the seminar supervisor.
Requirements for enrollment in the Second Semester Seminar (Comm 495 or 499):
1) A completed thesis proposal signed by both thesis supervisors.
2) Honors students must continue to maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA and obtain a grade
of B+ or higher in the first semester seminar.
3) ComPS thesis students must continue with the ComPS designation. Those who drop
out of the ComPS program are not eligible to continue with
the second semester unless they meet Honors thesis requirements.
1) Students will complete the thesis on a schedule specified by the thesis seminar
supervisor. Every thesis must have four main components:
2) There are no page requirements for the thesis. Formatting requirements will be
distributed in the thesis seminar.
3) A thesis is not complete until all necessary revisions have been made, and both
thesis supervisors have signed off on the final draft.
To successfully complete the thesis, students must also:
The Annenberg School offers two thesis awards at graduation. Honors thesis students
are eligible for the George Gerbner Award. ComPS Capstone thesis students
are eligible for the Communication and Public Service (Eisenhower) Award.
ComPS students who are also Honors students are eligible for both awards.
Students who submit their completed thesis on or before the final completion date
set by the department are eligible to be nominated for these awards.
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