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Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations

Registration: The student must register for thesis credit hours. Ideally, these hours should be spread out evenly during the quarters in which thesis work is done.

Proposal: The topic investigated should be one that is of interest to the student. The student should select the thesis subject and submit it to the Graduate Committee no later than October 1st before the expected year of graduation. The proposal should contain a precise thesis statement and an outline showing how the student plans to develop the study and how the study will be narrowed or limited so as

to be manageable. The proposal must be approved by the Committee no later than November 1st before the expected year of graduation.

Procedure: Upon approval of thesis proposal, the student will be assigned a Committee member who will serve as a guiding professor. The thesis will be presented to the Committee for approval on a section-by-section basis. The guiding professor will determine the deadline for each section. However, at least one-half of the proposal must be approved and completed by February 1st of the year in which the student expects to graduate. The guiding professor will inform the student of any recommended Committee revisions, and these corrections must be satisfied before the date set by the guiding professor. Work must be done promptly and sufficiently. Attitude means much. The thesis must be presented in full to the committee by April 1 of the year in which the student expects to graduate. Four photocopies of the thesis must be given to the Committee at this time. The student will be informed as to the time of the oral examination. Upon passing this examination, the student will be informed as to any final revisions or corrections. The student must present five bound copies of the thesis to the Committee before graduation.

Form: Theses must conform to the format set out in the Chicago Manual of Style. Type print (font) should be no smaller or larger than 12 point. The thesis must be free of errors of any kind: misspelled words, faulty punctuation, grammatical errors, etc. Theses not meeting these guidelines will be returned to the student. Note: capitalize personal pronouns referring to Deity. In general, if in doubt, capitalize.

The thesis or dissertation must be free of plagiarism. Every time an idea or thought is gleaned from a specific source, that source should have a footnote reference and a footnote to credit the source - whether or not the actual words of another are quoted. The principle of giving credit to the source applies not only to material from books and periodicals, but also to ideas taken from sermons, lectures, audio and video tapes - whatever the source. If even so much as a phrase of another author or speaker is used, appropriating his/her exact words, these words should be enclosed in quotation marks, and a footnote should direct the reader to the source being credited. If the student is ever in doubt as to whether to credit a source, he/she should credit the source. Information on copyright laws are available in the library.

Contents: The thesis should have the following characteristics:

(1) Problem Solving: Theses should display an unremitting focus toward a well-defined objective.

(2) Originality: Though in principle most issues have been raised and debated in the past, theses should show some degree of originality. The topic chosen  should ideally have some distinctive feature as to the approach used. It should not be just a duplication of what others have done. It is especially good to write in an area where there is a real need, not on a subject that has been overdone by many others.

(3) Comprehensiveness: All relevant aspects of the thesis should be covered.

(4) Proof: The writer must present evidence for assertions related to the focal issue of the thesis. He/she must state conclusions concisely and answer objections to his/her position.

(5) A Balance of the Theoretical and the Practical: Ideally the thesis should contribute both to the world of ideas and the world of practice. It should be one that will have lasting, practical value for those who will read it in years to come, rather than being simply an exercise that complies with the requirement for receiving the degree. It should be a contribution to scholarship that will reflect credit on the student in future years, that will reflect favorably on Tennessee Bible College, and that will glorify Christ in His church.

(6) Precision of Expression.

(7) A Clear Conclusion Written by the Author in His Own Words.

(8) Careful and Thorough Research

Doctoral Dissertations: Guidelines for dissertations are the same as those for theses with the following exceptions:

(1) Dissertation proposals must be submitted to the Graduate Committee no later than April 1st before the expected year of graduation.

(2) Dissertation proposals must be approved by the committee no later than May 1st before the expected year of graduation. At least one-half of the dissertation must be completed by November 1 before the expected year of graduation. The dissertation must be presneted in full to the Committee by April 15 of the year in which the student expects to graduate.

See the Core Curriculum Page for the Master of Theology Degree and for the Doctor of Theology Degree.