Starting Points for Various Masters Theses Types

According to one distinguished political scientist, Stephen Van Evera, most masters’ theses and doctoral dissertations fit into one of several types:



Theory proposing

Theory developing

Theory testing

Historical evaluative

Historical explanatory

Policy evaluative

Policy prescriptive

As I produce tailored examples of each, I will place them on line and provide links to them. For now, I’m linking only to a single file that represents the most common type of thesis produced at JHU, the policy prescriptive thesis.


Students are often asked to produce a prospectus or proposal as a step toward having their topics approved.



There are also a couple of paper styles that faculty expect students to produce.

Issue paper

Policy paper

Comparative evaluation (sample)

Term paper


Modern word processors offer features unknown to most students that will greatly facilitate construction of their manuscript.

Tutorial: Word processors are not typewriters



The papers are formatted in compliance with JHU guidelines for margins, footnotes, fonts, etc.


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