Thesis or Comprehensive Exam??

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by LadyProvrbs31, Nov 1, 2010.

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  1. LadyProvrbs31

    LadyProvrbs31 New Member

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    Hi,

    I am working on my MA in American History through the American Military University. I've been doing the capstone option with my program, but am now debating on whether or not I would be better off taking the comprehensive exam. I know exactly what I want to write my thesis on, but I just want to be finished, and so I thought the exam woud be faster.

    I'm currently an adjunct instructor at a community college, so my only concern with the exam is that it would hurt my chances of getting on full time. Does anybody have any advice?? Would the thesis be the safer option??

    Thanks!

    Hannah
     
  2. ITJD

    ITJD New Member

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    The thesis option will serve you better if you wish to move on to a doctorate. Reason: If smart about it, you'd have a piece of work that could dovetail directly into a dissertation and many history doctoral programs want to see a piece of original writing as a part of the admissions process.

    The comprehensive option works best if you're looking to have your MA be your terminal degree. You'll have the MA which in and of itself is an accomplishment. I'd go this way if I was using the history degree as a supplement to something else and wasn't moving forward in the field.

    One thing I do want to point out is that people with Masters are not getting full-time shots in my area of the country so if I were you I'd question whether or not that MA is going to get the job done. Right now people with Ph.D level qualifications are competing for full time positions and adjuncting gigs as well.

    If full time collegiate teaching is your goal, stick with the thesis.
     
  3. emmzee

    emmzee New Member

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    I can't comment on the difficulty or speed of taking an exam vs doing a thesis, but from what I've read it seems like if you have interest in doing doctoral studies in the future, many doctoral programs prefer applicants to have already written a thesis ... I assume because they want to see evidence that you can actually write/complete a substantial research project before granting you entry into writing your dissertation. So if you're considering doing a PhD in the future, it's probably better to do the thesis.
     
  4. me again

    me again Active Member

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    In additions to the two quotes above this one...

    A thesis is simply a big paper. That's it. Don't be intimidated by it. If you can write a 10 page paper, then you can stretch it out to 35 pages (or however long they require it to be).

    Normally, I recommend that you go the exam route, unless you want to pursue a doctorate. However, I don't recommend you pursue a doctorate!!!

    :yikes:
     
  5. Cyber

    Cyber New Member

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    I know it is "you again." :yikes:
    My question is: Why don't you recommend others to pursue a doctorate? Is it because you don't have interest in earning one that's why you don't want others to? or is it because you earned your doctorate, and are trying to discourage others from earning theirs so that few including you have it?

    Back to AMU. I also think that there are more advantages if the thesis route is taken. However, the fact that the thesis takes 16 weeks to complete may be discouraging to some (some folks are just tired of all that writing).
     
  6. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

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    I would choose the thesis over comprehensive exam because I feel more more comfortable in research then taking exam. Besides, when you apply for Doctoral program...they might want to see your thesis writing sample.
     
  7. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

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    For my ERAU thesis (actually a Graduate research Project) I wrote a history paper - I research the technology behind a specific WWII mission - I found it both easy and interesting. My advisor was surprised more students did not write history papers - he suggested I present as a paper which I did.
     
  8. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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    Some people are good at test-taking. Some are not. Some are good at writing. Some are not. It doesn't need to be more complicated than that (although the piece about continuing on for a PhD is smart - - - thesis = mini dissertation = good prep)
     
  9. truckie270

    truckie270 New Member

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    I teach the comps. course in the AMU emergency management program. As others have said, if you are looking to just be finished - go the comps. route. If you want to continue on with your studies after your MA, go for the the thesis (this requires more work for the same payout at the MA level and in my view only pays dividends if you continue on to doctoral studies).

    Although the thesis is just a "larger paper", if you want to ensure that your efforts are maximized by creating something that could work into a dissertation you need to do quite a bit more work on the thesis beyond writing more pages. You need to make sure you have a good foundation for further study or you will end up repeating the process all over again when you start a dissertation.

    From my own experiences, unless you have a doctoral program already picked out and a thesis is needed - you are better served going the comps route. Chances are, unless you complete a thesis on something you are really passionate about you will change your mind several times on a dissertation topic by the time you get through doctoral coursework and into the dissertation process.

    I personnally do not think that whether you completed a comps. or a thesis has any impact on landing adjunct work.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2010
  10. me again

    me again Active Member

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    I already have a doctorate, so your statement has nothing to do with me not wanting to earn one. :puppy_dog_eyes:

    No, that's not why I discourage others from pursuing a doctoral degree! :pat:

    Before I received a doctorate, I asked my little brother about it because he's a tenured professor in a state university system. He advised me not to pursue a doctorate unless I wanted to be a researcher and because the attrition rate is about 50 to 70%, after students reach the dissertation stage. I now echo his statement. :wink1:
     
  11. LadyProvrbs31

    LadyProvrbs31 New Member

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    Thanks everyone. I appreciate all the input. :smile: I've pretty much decided to go with the exam. I just want this to be over with, the sooner the better. I've learned that it won't affect my job either way, and at this point in time I have no intention of getting a PhD in history. I'm tired of school, lol. My college has just seen a very large number of people retire, so it's a prime time to get hired full time, and I think the sooner I have that MA after my name, the better my chances will be.
     
  12. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

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    I wouldn't recommend pursuing a doctorate in history unless you are fully funded. There are simply too many PhDs out there.
     
  13. obecve

    obecve New Member

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    Why not get a doc? Mine has been worth at least $35,000 a year every year since I earned it.
     
  14. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

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    It's a question of demand. A doctorate in one field might pay off while another one may not. I would strongly question the pursuit of a PhD in history.
     
  15. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

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    I resemble that remark. :banana::banana::banana::banana:
     
  16. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator

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    I could give you at least five thousand reasons that you should NOT get a doctorate, and only one reason why you SHOULD: because you completely ignored the five thousand reasons not too, and deserve to live with the dire consequences. :banana:
     
  17. obecve

    obecve New Member

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    Spoken like a true person without the benefit of a doc!
     
  18. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator

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    Spoken like a true person who wants to bring others down with him :banana:
     
  19. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    That's a rather nasty thing to say to someone who is just trying to help, just like you are.
     

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