The English department has changed the requirements for the MA thesis, and I have languished in the program long enough to be the beneficiary of this change. Backstory: the requirements for an MA in English vary from university to university. Here are three random examples: the University of South Carolina requires an MA thesis of 50-80 pages; the University of Utah requires MA candidates to pass a six-hour comprehensive exam, but no thesis is required; and the University of Washington requires a "master's essay" for students continuing to the doctoral program, but students may substitute 10 additional credits of graduate seminars if the MA is their terminal degree. The thesis requirement in my program was previously in the neighborhood of 60-70 pages.
Recently, however, the department noticed that students were taking an awfully long time to finish the program, and that a lot of the thesis projects were longer than 70 pages. Theorizing that these two facts might have a causal relationship, and wanting to get people graduated faster, the department decided to change the thesis requirement to "an article-length essay prepared with a particular scholarly journal or other publication in mind." In other words, about 40 pages, and probably a maximum of 50.
Well. That sounds a lot easier than what I planned on doing before.