M.S. Thesis

The M.S. thesis is completed in the second year of the program and must be an original piece of work, possibly linked to some aspect of the student's research. The intention is for the student to pursue a topic intensively, drawing on and integrating knowledge from the coursework and research training, demonstrating skill in developing and conveying recommended policies and action on a particular issue or problem.

The Thesis Composition

Theses typically run a minimum of 40 pages in length, depending on the level of quantitative work presented. In the Levy M.S. program, theses fall into four general categories: original research, analytical literature review, case study analysis, and project based. Extensive information on the thesis process—including grading, your thesis committee, Bard’s Institutional Review Board, the contents of the thesis, citations and formatting, and printing and binding—is included in the Levy Institute M.S. Thesis Guidelines. The guidelines are updated annually and are available to students at the beginning of the thesis process.

Thesis Timeline

  • End of May (Year I): One-sentence description of potential thesis area of interest due—summer adviser assigned following review
  • Beginning of September: Thesis idea due—thesis adviser assigned
  • Mid-October: Exploratory literature review due
  • End of October: Detailed thesis proposal due
  • End of November: Individual 20-minute presentation of thesis contents
  • Mid-Dec/Jan: Draft of literature review and methodology chapters due
  • Late February: Follow-up presentations
  • End of March: Full thesis draft due
  • End of April: Thesis final version due (including abstract/executive summary)
  • Beginning of May: Thesis due (final draft with adviser approval)
  • End of May (Year II): Digital copies due to the Levy Institute office