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You should select a topic that you care deeply about, will find
interesting to research and write about, and for which you can find a
faculty thesis advisor who shares your interest in exploring the topic.
We expect that the topic will be one in which you have developed an
interest through previous courses and/or project work, or possibly
through an internship.
It is acceptable (even recommended) that you use papers written for
other courses or your internship, as a starting point for your thesis.
One of your preliminary steps should be to review other theses
written in your interest area. Your advisor or other faculty members can
direct you to these. In addition CHAD maintains an institutional
repository of past Historic Preservation theses (available summer 2006,
but they have hard copies on hand).
In choosing a thesis advisor, it is important to talk to potential
advisors no later than the second semester of your first year. Once you
identify a potential topic, begin conversations with faculty whose
research interests mesh with what you want to do. Ask a faculty person
to serve as your thesis advisor.
The thesis advisor will chair the thesis committee and will work with
you throughout the thesis process. In the Historic Preservation
concentration, it is encouraged that your thesis advisor and academic
advisor are the same person because your advisor may suggest courses
that will help with your thesis preparation. (Use the UAPP Change of Advisor Form or MPA Change of Advisor Formif necessary.)
At least two other readers must serve on the thesis committee along
with your thesis advisor. It is recommended that the third reader be a
practitioner in the area you investigate. Consult your thesis advisor
before selecting your readers.
Consult your thesis chair about the nature of the input and processes
involved with your readers. For example, readers may be involved in
approving the topic and general approach to the thesis early in the
process, and might provide substantive input throughout the development
of the thesis. Readers must approve the final thesis and participate in
the defense of the thesis. (Participation on the defense can be by
teleconference if logistics require this accommodation.) Readers should
be selected who have content expertise and an interest in the thesis
topic. They may be members of the School faculty, but they may also be
practitioners, faculty members from other departments, or other people
who can help the student research and analyze the topic in question.
The thesis Advisor and thesis Committee will be advocates for your
success throughout the process. Their questions, critiques, and advice
should be viewed as constructive efforts to help you produce the best
In the second semester of your first year, set up an appointment at the Writing Center
for critiques of your academic writing skills and begin working on
those issues immediately. Schedule your appointment early to avoid busy
times around the middle and end of the semester.
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