Thesis Information

Professional Writing Thesis Information

The Process


Students interested in pursuing a Professional Writing Thesis must complete the following steps:


  1. Choose a member of the Professional Writing Faculty willing to direct the thesis, along with a thesis committee (composed of two additional Southeastern faculty members) chosen in conjunction with the thesis director and theGraduate Coordinator.
  2. Write a Formal Proposal and Feasibility study outlining their proposed course of study, and submit it to their committee at least three semesters prior to graduation.
  3. Meet regularly with the director who, in conjunction with the thesis committee, will define deadlines, determine student progress, evaluate the quality of student writing, and comment on drafts of student documents.
  4. Work as a Professional Writer in an internship chosen and approved with the advice and consent of the thesis committee.
  5. Prepare an extensive Formal Report outlining the participation as an intern, detailing their duties and responsibilities, delineating both skills gained and complications encountered, and offering conclusions and recommendations based on their internship experiences. Additionally, students are required to supplement primary sources with secondary research designed to demonstrate knowledge of previous scholarship relevant to the subject of their Formal Report.
  6. Compile and submit a Professional Writing portfolio. It must include the student's projects completed during the internship, both Formal Proposals and Feasibility studies, Formal Reports, and any other relevant documents which showcase the student's skills as a Professional Writer. The work in this portfolio will constitute the student's thesis.
  7. Defend the thesis at least one week before it is due in the Dean's office (consult the University calendar for this date). The student must submit a "clean copy" of their work to each committee member at least two weeks before the scheduled date of the defense.
  8. Submit a 500 word abstract, as well as three copies of the approved thesis, to the Dean's office


Length and Scope


The Professional Writing Thesis should be of sufficient breadth and depth to demonstrate not only the student's skills and accomplishments as a Professional Writer, but also knowledge of current scholarship in the field. As a document designed to address the needs of an academic community interested in assessing the students content-are knowledge while demonstrating marketable writing skills to prospective employers, this thesis must meet the expectations of multiple audiences. The ability to confront and satisfy these somewhat conflicting expectations would be quite difficult in a portfolio of less than 50 pages.





Title Page


Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Introduction/Overview (3-5 pages)
Chapter 2 Review of Literature (8-10 pages)
Chapter 3

Description of Internship (15 pages): Summary of internship experience that focuses specifically on problems and solutions, questions of audience, descriptions of documents produced, description of document production process, work environment, and so on. The purpose of chapter 3 is to highlight the specific problems and their subsequent solutions (or lack of solutions) that you will place in context in chapter 4.

Chapter 4

How you/your experience fit(s) into the literature review (20-25 pages): What does the literature have to say about situations analogous to your own? How could/did the Professional Writing research help you to understand and resolve difficulties encountered in the workplace? To what degree do your experiences mirror the conclusions of the literature?

Chapter 5

Exhibits or representative examples of work completed: These exhibits should support conclusions raised in chapter 4.

Chapter 6

Conclusions and Recommendations (8-10 pages):

Conclusions on your own experience. What have you learned about your chosen career? What would you do differently? What has been successful? What hasn't been successful?



I Proposal

II Progress Report

III Catalog of documents

(Each document will have an audience analysis as well as a document description.)

IV Annotated Bibliography of relevant scholarship




Formats for the documents included in the Professional Writing Thesis will follow those taught in course work at Southeastern. Follow the MLA Style Manual (2nd Edition-1998). Specific details of each portfolio's format will be defined as a part of the student's Formal Proposal and Feasibility Stud, and will be approved by the thesis committee in light of the student's particular writing projects, interests, needs, and experiences.