HE 799 – Higher Education Thesis (3 credits)

Pre-requisites: HE 610 and HE 785

Students who select the thesis option will complete an additional 3-credit research methods course offered at Mason with approval from their advisor and a 3-credit research apprenticeship with a faculty member.


To register for HE 799, the student must have an approved proposal and signed Thesis Proposal Committee Approval Form on file with all three signatures of their committee members as well as the program director’s signature. Signed Thesis Proposal Committee Approval Forms are due a minimum of four weeks before the beginning of the semester for which the student wishes to enroll. The student must also have an up-to-date, completed program of study on file and they must have successfully completed 27 credits towards the degree. Theses often require two or more semesters to complete. Per university policy, students are required to register for three thesis credits their first semester of HE 799, and they must maintain continuous enrollment in HE 799 until they graduate (excluding summer semesters). This means that if a student does not graduate the first semester they enroll in HE 799, they must continue to register for at least 1 credit of HE 799 every Fall and Spring semester until they graduate. The student will need to email every semester that they wish to enroll in HE 799.

Committee Requirements

Students who select the thesis capstone option will select a chair from a HEP approved list of graduate faculty. Students must select the chair before completing their core thesis credits. The chair will direct the thesis. In consultation with the committee chair, students will select two additional committee members who are also graduate faculty. Students are required to defend their thesis proposal and thesis at an oral defense. Whether the student passes or fails the thesis is agreed upon by the thesis committee before the oral defense. Students cannot enter an oral defense until committee members agree to pass the thesis.   


When a student prepares to graduate, they should familiarize themselves with the University Dissertation and Thesis Services office. Information about UDTS deadlines, formatting rules, and processes can be found at Note: The thesis signature sheet requires signatures from multiple offices, including the dean’s office. Students should factor time for gathering all required signatures into their plans when scheduling a defense date.

See below for the Thesis Proposal Committee Approval Form. Students should format their Thesis defense signature sheets in accordance with UDTS guidelines.