When you’re contemplating a thesis topic, you should discuss your interests with as many people as possible to gain a broad perspective. You will find your faculty advisor knowledgeable and willing to offer excellent suggestions and advice regarding an appropriate thesis topic.
Give considerable thought to the identification and planning of a thesis topic. Review literature related to your interests; read a variety of research papers, abstracts, and proposals for content, methods and structure. Looking at completed master’s theses will be a useful activity toward expanding inquiry skills and thought processes.
After the thesis advisor is selected, you may register on-line for a thesis section. You will need to see your thesis instructor to obtain the thesis section number.
You and your advisor will jointly identify your thesis committee. A thesis committee should be comprised of at least three faculty members, one of whom should be the thesis advisor. At least two members of the committee must be from the student’s department and the third person may be from outside the department.
Once your thesis committee has been identified, you should request Departmental and College approval of the committee. Complete the Appointment of Thesis Committee form (see attached for MS forms) and submit a copy to your department chair and the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies. Once all signatures have been obtained, a copy should be submitted to the graduate advisor. You may proceed with scheduling a thesis proposal meeting as soon as the committee has been approved.
You can download the following forms for your committee members.
Thesis Proposal Defense
Meet informally with the thesis committee and each committee member to achieve direction for and assistance with the development of the thesis topic and proposal. You and the committee chair jointly determine when a thesis proposal defense meeting should be called to formalize the thesis proposal. To avoid any misunderstanding, you should not proceed with the research until the thesis topic and proposal have been approved by the thesis committee.
Request and schedule a proposal defense meeting which is agreeable to all members of the committee. You should provide a copy of the thesis proposal to all committee members at two weeks prior to the scheduled meeting.
A meeting will not be considered official if the thesis proposal is not distributed as prescribed or if less than three committee members are present at the proposal defense. The outcome of the proposal defense meeting should be clear to you as well as to committee members. The proposal will be accepted, accepted with modification, or rejected. Once the proposal is accepted and you begin writing, you should work closely with thesis committee throughout writing the thesis to receive feedback and stay on track.
When a consensus has been reached by you and your thesis advisor that your thesis is ready to defend, your thesis advisor will instruct you to schedule a thesis defense meeting. The thesis defense meeting should be at a time when all committee members can be present. You must distribute the thesis to all committee members at least two weeks in advance of the thesis defense meeting.
The defense meeting will be open to the university community. All committee members must be in attendance at the thesis defense. As with the proposal defense meeting, the outcome of the thesis defense meeting should be clear to you. Timelines should be established for the final thesis copy to be submitted for committee approval. You should refer to the University academic calendar for deadlines to submit the final draft and bound copies of the thesis.
Once your committee has approved the final draft of the thesis, one copy of the unbound thesis must be submitted to the College of Technology, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies. This must be done at least two weeks prior to the deadline for submitting the electronic thesis. You should submit your approved signature page to the graduate advisor. ET students should also submit a rubric for each committee member. After final approval by the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, the thesis will be uploaded electronically.