What You Need To Know About The Criteria For Evaluating A Master's Dissertation

One of the most anxiety-producing facets of writing a dissertation or thesis at the master’s level is wondering how your work will be evaluated the entire time you are writing.

Instead of blindly writing in the dark and then worrying about the evaluation of your work, it is better to get this out of the way up front, and write with the evaluation in mind.

Typical Criteria for Measuring the Strength of a Master’s Thesis or Dissertation

The typical criteria for evaluating a master’s thesis in the arts of sciences often includes some or more of the following:

  • The strength of the writer’s major argument and thesis

  • The logic of the major argument or thesis

  • The strength and credibility of the sources used to compile the dissertation

  • Whether or not the author showed their own independent thinking and insights

  • The strength of the writing and composition

  • Correct formatting and layout

  • Correctly citing sources

  • Correctly compiling the bibliography

  • Form and presentation during the oral presentation

  • Strength of dissertation defense

  • Literature Review

Consult the Graduate School or Graduate Department You are Enrolled In

First, dissertation and thesis guidelines and evaluation forms are available in the graduate school or Graduate English, Art, Social Sciences, or Physical Sciences departments at your university. You can prepare your dissertation with these guidelines and evaluation criteria in mind as you compose. In this way, you will not be composing in the dark.

These evaluation criteria are available to all students and often you are responsible for distributing these to your committee when you submit your thesis/dissertation.

Consult Your Dissertation Director and Committee

It is always best to consult your dissertation director as your work grows and blossoms and to show them drafts as your work progresses, chapter-by-chapter or section by section.

Grades You Might Receive on the Dissertation/Thesis

Many students hope to receive a mark of “high pass” or “pass with distinction.” These marks are awarded to students who master’s thesis shows a high level of scholarly writing and thinking that sets the work above the rest. It is a true work of scholarship and worthy of high praise. Other marks you may receive are “pass” or “low pass.” The “low pass” means the dissertation was passed but with some reservations. Most students are content to simply “pass” and move on to their doctoral studies or the job they have been striving for.