Thesis/Project & Final Exams
All Thesis Master's degree students must complete a thesis or comparable research experience. Students in the project-based MSEM, SE, or the Environmental Engineering programs must complete a required project. A total of 12 thesis credit hours is required. The projects associated with the project-based programs may count for no more than eight of the total hours required. A thesis may be based on work done in connection with scientific or technical employment, but all work presented in the thesis must be the work of the author of the thesis or else must be clearly labeled as being the work of someone else. A graduate student who is employed may register for thesis credit while working full time.
A thesis is required to receive a master of science degree. Under special circumstances, a student who qualifies may take 12 additional hours of course work in lieu of a thesis. The non-thesis option will be considered only when the student has comparable research experience. This comparable experience will be verified by documentary evidence provided by the student of his or her independent, creative, technical work. The scope of applicable work will usually encompass the generation, development, execution, and reporting of a technical concept. The acceptability of work submitted as comparable to the thesis experience will be determined by the student's advisory committee and the head of the student's major department. The onus of establishing the acceptability of such work will lie with the student. Application for a non-thesis option is made at the time of submission of the plan of study (refer to section in bulletin on Plan of Study). The signatures of the members of the advisory committee and the department head on the plan of study form will constitute their endorsement of the acceptability of the student's comparable experience. On or near the time that the student completes the course work in his or her non-thesis plan of study, the advisory committee will conduct a public final examination covering the equivalent work and course work included in the plan of study.
Each successful Master's degree candidate, with the exception of course-based students, must pass a final examination, which is conducted by the advisory committee. Generally, the candidate will be required to make a presentation of his or her thesis work (or project work in the case of MSEM, MSSE, or Environmental Engineering students) and successfully pass an oral examination from the advisory committee.
A candidate who has received approval to pursue a non-thesis option will be required to submit a written report on a project which demonstrates experience comparable to thesis research. He or she will also be required to make a presentation on his or her project work and then take an oral examination from the student's advisory committee.
The final oral examination will include questions on the student's thesis or project work and may also include questions on fundamental principles in the student's field of study. An additional written examination may be required at the discretion of the advisory committee.
Thesis/Project and final exam deadlines
Once students have completed all coursework and thesis/project credits, they must be enrolled in GRAD505 in the quarter in which they complete all program requirements. The following procedures are relevant to completing the Master's program with a thesis. Specific requirements for presenting the project associated with the MSEM, MSSE, or Environmental Engineering program are contained in the "Programs of Study" section. This is not a requirement for course-based programs.
- The advisory committee chairperson's approval of the final draft of the thesis must be secured by the end of the seventh week of the quarter in which the degree is expected. A copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Institute Librarian, for format and grammar related issues. Submission of the thesis, or parts of the thesis, to the Institute Librarian in advance of this deadline is highly recommended. The required thesis format may be accessed on the Graduate Studies Thesis Support web page. Copies of the thesis must be delivered to the members of the advisory committee at least two weeks before the final examination.
- The final examination/thesis defense must be scheduled through the Office of Research and Graduate Studies in M 246. Please use the Thesis Defense Form to schedule the exam.
- A short (150 to 200 word) abstract, which will be used in the announcement of the exam, must be submitted electronically at least two weeks prior to the scheduled exam.
- Prior to taking the final examination for the M.S. degree (written, oral, or both) the student must ascertain that his/her advisor has received the "Final Examination Report" form. (The form will be sent to the advisor by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.) This form should be completed by the chairperson and the examination committee upon completion of the final examination and then returned to the Associate Dean of the Faculty.
- A copy of the final version of the thesis along with the copy reviewed by the Institute Librarian must be submitted to the Associate Dean of the Faculty for a final review. Any changes required as a result of this review must be completed before the final copies of the thesis will be accepted. A minimum of one week must be allotted for this review. It is therefore recommended that these copies be submitted by the end of the eighth week of the quarter to insure there is time for required changes to be incorporated into the material before the end of the quarter.
- The final examination must occur no later than the ninth week of the quarter in which the degree is expected. There will be no exceptions.
- The final version of the student's thesis must be submitted on CD-ROM to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies no later than the last day of classes of the quarter. The thesis must include a short (150 to 200 word) abstract, which will be used in Institute publications. The original thesis will be recorded and deposited in the library.
Any questions concerning rules, procedures, etc., relating to graduate work should be directed to the Associate Dean of the Faculty.