Thesis & Final Project

All forms of the thesis at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, including the D.Min. final project, are intended to lead students into the deep exploration of some new areas of learning not normally covered in the core curriculum.


Descriptions and Registration Prerequisites

The following registrations are possible:

1. Extended Essay (TS 306 [3 credits]). Students who do not write an honors thesis (see TS 310 below) are required (M.A. students) or permitted (M.Div. students) to write an extended essay of 25–35 pages in length, not to exceed 14,000 words, including foot/endnotes, appendices, excurses, table of contents, and bibliography, normally in their final year. Prerequisites for writing an extended essay are:

  • minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at time of thesis registration (M.Div. students);
  • successful completion of the research-writing seminar (TW 205); and
  • submission of an acceptable thesis proposal (see "Proposal and Registration Deadline" below).

2. Honors Thesis (TS 310 [4 credits]). Invited M.A. and M.Div. students may fulfill the thesis requirement (elective in the case of M.Div. students) by writing an honors thesis of 40–50 pages in length, not to exceed 20,000 words, including foot/endnotes, appendices, excurses, table of contents, and bibliography. Prerequisites for writing an honors thesis are:

  • minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4 at time of thesis registration;
  • successful completion of the research-writing seminar (TW 205);
  • invitation, normally toward the end of the research-writing seminar, by the course instructor and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. TW 205 students who are not invited to write an honors thesis may appeal to the faculty council for permission to do so. The decision of the faculty council is final; and
  • submission of an acceptable thesis proposal (see "Proposal and Registration Deadline" below).

Important Note: Although honors thesis is not required to fulfill program requirements, it is required for graduation honors. However, an honors thesis receiving any grade less than B from the thesis advisor will be treated as an extended essay unless the student requests an extension to continue working on the thesis beyond the end of the semester and subsequently receives a grade of at least B from the advisor. Students who do not continue working on the thesis will be withdrawn—with the permanent grade W (Withdrawal) appearing on the student's transcript—from TS 310 (honors thesis [4 credits]) and registered for TS 306 (extended essay [3 credits]), thus making the student ineligible for graduation honors.

Option to Write Second Thesis. Qualified M.A. and M.Div. students may write a second thesis, in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • a proposal for the second thesis is also required and must follow applicable guidelines. Successful completion of the research-writing seminar (TW 205) is presupposed;
  • one thesis must be TS 306 (extended essay), the other TS 310 (honors thesis);
  • the first thesis must be completed before the student may register for a second thesis; and
  • in the event that both theses are successfully completed, as expected, only the registration for TS 310 will fulfill the thesis requirement for M.A. students (or the thesis option for M.Div. students) and therefore only the honors thesis title will appear in the commencement program and on the student's official transcript.

3. Th.M. Thesis (TS 401–402 [3 credits each]). Th.M. students are required to write a thesis of 60–100 pages in length (not to exceed 40,000 words, including foot/endnotes, appendices, excurses, table of contents, and bibliography). The thesis, written under the supervision of the student’s thesis advisor over two semesters, must be based upon personal research and constitute an original scholarly contribution. Once the thesis is accepted, it is discussed and defended at a special meeting of the faculty, to which competent scholars from other institutions may be invited. These scholars take part in the final faculty vote to recommend the candidate for the degree. Admission to the program requires requires submission and acceptance of a thesis proposal; therefore, there are no additional prerequisites for writing a Th.M. thesis.

4. D.Min. Final Project (TS 501–502 [3 credits each]). D.Min. students are required to write a final project of 100–200 pages in length, typically divided into five to seven chapters. The final project is expected to demonstrate a competent level of theoretical knowledge of the field studied and a thorough understanding of ministry practice in this area; the finished project should demonstrate the clear integration of both theory and practice. While the final project should be acceptable to the academic community, it is primarily intended for the Church. In other words, the intended outcome of a D.Min. project, whether innovative or an enhancement of an existing ministry, is to be a program or project for implementation in the student's ministry as well as the Church. Prerequisites for writing a D.Min. final project are:

  • minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at time of final project registration;
  • successful completion of the research-writing seminar (TW 500); and
  • submission of an acceptable project proposal (see "Proposal and Registration Deadline" below).

5. Continuation Registration (CTN). Students who do not complete their thesis or project by the thesis submission deadline, which is posted on the academic calendar (also see "Submission Instructions" below), or other program requirement, e.g., CPE or the M.Div. Senior Oral Exam, by the deadline for graduating students must register for continuation and pay the continuation fee in the following semester(s) in order to remain degree candidates. Failure to register for continuation and pay the fee will cause the student to be administratively withdrawn from the program. In the event that the student is unable to complete the thesis or project even after continuation registration(s), the permanent grade W (Withdrawal) will be entered on the student's transcript.


Proposal and Registration Deadline

To register for thesis, students must successfully complete the research-writing seminar (TW 205) and submit—at the time of registration—an approved proposal of 4–5 pages, written in accordance with the research standards learned in the seminar; the proposal must justify its topic and identify the problem or issue under investigation. To register for final project, D.Min. students must successfully complete the project research-writing seminar (TW 500) and submit—at the time of registration—an approved proposal, in accordance with D.Min. project guidelines.

  • The proposal for TS 306 is grounded in a course of readings of 10–12 state-of-the-question books and articles on a precisely focused topic chosen and studied under the guidance of one of the members of the faculty.
  • The proposal for TS 310 or TS 401–402 must outline the research problem to be investigated and give a sense of critical methodology and research approach.
  • The proposal for TS 501–502 must outline a problem in applied ministry that is grounded in doctoral-level research and incorporates research on living subjects.

In all cases, the proposal must also include a working title and bibliography, which is not intended to be exhaustive but must show that the student is familiar with the main works in the field, in particular those that will be of value to the project. Correct bibliographical style and good English stylistics are essential for acceptance of the proposal. Thesis proposals must be approved by a member of the faculty who will serve as the thesis advisor and be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs for final approval. Project proposals must be approved by both the project advisor and the second reader. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will make the final decision in assigning advisors and second readers.

Registration Deadline. Students who are unable to submit a thesis or project proposal at the time of registration may not register for thesis or project until a proposal has been approved. The final deadline for thesis or project registration is the second Friday of the semester or term.


Style Sheet

The final copy of the thesis or project should be read with utmost care, especially for typographical errors. Honors and Th.M. theses, and D.Min. final projects are bound by and deposited in The Father Georges Florovsky Library, to become a permanent—and public—monument to your years here.
Title Page
St. Vladimir's Seminary Press House Style


Order of Pages

1. Title page. This page contains the full title of the thesis or final project (all capitals), the full name of its author, signature fields for advisor (named) and second reader (named, for TS 310, TS 401–402, and TS 501–502), the partial fulfillment statement, and the date, as in the example under "Style Sheet."
2. Certification of word count and abstract of 200–250 words. In the abstract, you should present the problem of the thesis (honors or Th.M.) or the model of ministry (D.Min.), describe the method of study or research, and state the results or conclusion. Please write in complete sentences, preferably in the third person active voice, rather than in the first person singular.
3. Acknowledgment (optional).
4. Table of contents.
5. Table of charts, examples, and abbreviations (as necessary).
6. Body of thesis, including introduction, main presentation of material, and conclusion.
7. Appendix (necessary only in the case of an unusual amount of source material, indexes for cross references, etc.).
8. Bibliography.


Submission Instructions

FALL 2017 DEADLINE: 5 pm Tuesday, December 5
SPRING 2018 DEADLINE: 5 pm Tuesday, May 8

Students whose thesis is not submitted on time will normally register, without grade penalty, for continuation in the following semester. Students who miss the spring semester deadline may, however, be eligible to walk at commencement and graduate in September. See "September Graduates" under Commencement.

1. Extended Essay:
  • Electronic Copy to Office of Academic Affairs. After the advisor has accepted the final version of the extended essay, an electronic copy of the extended essay (as PDF file) must be emailed to Office of Academic Affairs by the deadline indicated in the Academic Calendar. The extended essay is then evaluated by the advisor.
2. Honors Thesis, Th.M. Thesis, and D.Min. Final Project:
  • Electronic Copy to Office of Academic Affairs. After the advisor has approved the final version of the thesis or project, an electronic copy (as PDF file) must be emailed to Office of Academic Affairs by the deadline indicated in the Academic Calendar. The thesis or final project is then evaluated by two readers: the first reader is the student's thesis or project advisor and the second is the one appointed by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from among the other faculty of the seminary.

  • Printed Copy to Library. Additionally, the thesis in its approved form—and on white, acid-free bond paper—is to be deposited with the librarian no later than one week after the thesis submission deadline. (Students who do not submit the library copy of the thesis by the deadline will be charged a $100 fee for the library to print the thesis.) This copy of the thesis will be bound, for which reason the left margin must be 1.5 inches, and added to the library collection. Once the printed copy of the thesis has been accepted by the library, no changes of any kind will be permitted.