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Criteria for a Successful Thesis Defense for a Master’s Degree
1) Candidates for a Master’s degree should have their theses fully completed before the defense proceeds, including the abstract, table of contents, and bibliography.
2) Candidates for a Master’s degree should be able to clearly articulate the basis of the primary conclusion of their theses, as well as demonstrate how this primary point of contention is predicated by and supported by a causal chain of logical argument which in turn is supported by relevant cultural, ethnographic, linguistic, and/or literary evidence.
3) Candidates for a Master’s degree should show familiarity with the salient cultural, linguistic, and/or literary theoretical discussions related to the primary subjects of their arguments. Further, candidates should defend how their theses are not only responsive to this larger academic discussion, but how their arguments and findings relevantly add to the ongoing scholarly discourse on the subject.
4) Candidates for a Master’s degree are not burdened by the obligation to prove the primary arguments of their theses beyond the reach of rebuttal. Rather, they are obligated to demonstrate that they have anticipated the most likely points of theoretical disagreement and have addressed these points with fair, reasonable, and logical arguments, tempered by professional courtesy and respect for opposing viewpoints.