Science Education

Thesis or Non-Thesis?

In addition to slight differences in course requirements, the main difference between the thesis and non-thesis option is the extent of independent research and creative activity of the final product.  Students choosing the thesis option are expected to do an extensive, independent and original data collection research study. Students anticipating further graduate work (such as a Doctoral degree) are advised to choose the thesis option. The Non-thesis option requires a slightly less extensive (although still rigorous) product but additional course credits.

When deciding which route to follow on your program, the main things to consider are your goals for your master's program and your own professional goals and interests. Listed below are issues to consider when choosing between the thesis and non-thesis options:

Consider the Thesis Option if:

Consider the Non-Thesis Option if:

  • You are interested in conducting some form of research.
  • You have a specific researchable question in mind.
  • You are considering further graduate work (possibly toward a PhD or EdD).
  • You are interested in a little more course work in content and electives.
  • You would prefer less emphasis on research.
  • One of the non-thesis project options fits your situation well.

Regardless of which option is chosen, all final products require a formal proposal to your advisor and committee/outside reader, a significant amount of writing, and final presentation.  Each of these items will be evaluated by the criteria listed on the Science Education MA Final Project Rubric.  See the individual Thesis and Non-thesis links for additional information on each option.