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MS Thesis Guide

MS students engaged in research are encouraged to prepare and defend a thesis.

Thesis preparation 

The Master's Thesis should follow the format defined in the Graduate Studies thesis guide, and should include the following items:

  • an abstract with objectives and clearly stated unique contributions
  • survey and discussion/synthesis of pertinent literature
  • discussions of the completed research tasks, including theory development, data collection, analysis, and documentation
  • a set of conclusions that emphasize new theoretical, modeling, or experimental contributions; or novel applications of existing theories

The quality of the Master’s Thesis should allow the material to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Learn more: resources for graduate students

Thesis defense 

Upon the completion of the written thesis, the student must defend it orally. The thesis advisor must approve the thesis for the defense before its final submission to the faculty committee. The committee will indicate that the thesis is ready for defense by submitting the COE Final Oral Examination Request Form to the Office of Graduate Studies.

The student is responsible for asking the Office of Graduate Studies to announce the thesis defense. The defense takes place no less than one week after the student has submitted the thesis to the Graduate School and has presented copies to the faculty committee members. The oral presentation is a public event. The faculty committee generally meets with the candidate in a closed meeting following the open oral presentation. During the defense, the faculty committee may question the student on both the content of the thesis and the student's course work.

The committee will report on the examination results by completing the COE Graduate Examination Report Form. The possible outcomes of the Master's Examination are:

  • the student passes: a majority of supporting votes are required, in addition to the approval of the Advisor
  • the student fails: re-examination might be permitted upon the recommendation of the Advisor and the approval of the Graduate Program Director.

Committee approval of the thesis is indicated by a completed signature page.

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