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M.S. degree thesis requirements

Thesis requirements apply to all students in the thesis option, including part-time and online students.

Thesis credits

Students in the thesis option need to register for a total of 12 thesis credits: ME 700.

Thesis supervisor and committee

To formally opt into the thesis track, students must complete the following three steps. There is no hard deadline by when these steps must be completed; however, students are recommended to enter the thesis track as soon as possible after enrolling in the MS program.

  1. Identify their faculty supervisor
  2. Identify at least two additional members of their thesis committee
  3. Submit their thesis proposal, including their faculty supervisor's signature

The ME Department requires that students who plan to write a thesis have at least three committee members, including the faculty supervisor who serves as Committee Chair. These must be members of the graduate faculty. The Committee Chair must be from the Mechanical Engineering Department core faculty. Core faculty comprises Mechanical Engineering Faculty in all ranks with tenure or tenure-track appointments, and research, emeritus, and joint appointments. Faculty with adjunct and affiliate ranks are not included. The Department further requires that at least one committee member be core Mechanical Engineering faculty.

Alternatively, non-core faculty may act as Committee Chair, but in that case, the remaining members of the thesis committee must include at least two core faculty members. All M.S. thesis committees must include at least two core Mechanical Engineering faculty.

Thesis proposal

The thesis proposal should be submitted by the student, to the ME Graduate Adviser, as soon as possible after the student identifies their supervisor and before the student may begin registering for thesis credits (ME 700). The proposal should include:

  1. Objective
  2. Justification for conducting research
  3. Approach and methodology
  4. Schedule of work
  5. Estimated cost

The ME Graduate Adviser will provide the thesis proposal to the ME Department Chair for review.  Students will be notified of the outcome of the review via a formal letter emailed to them on behalf of the Department Chair.  Students whose thesis proposals are approved must save their approval letter, as they must provide it when officially notifying the ME Department of their M.S. thesis presentation during their final quarter (see instructions below)

Thesis approval and presentation

During the student’s final quarter, they must request graduation from the Graduate School; have their written thesis approved by their committee; and make their M.S. thesis presentation (prior to the last day of class instruction) before an audience that includes their committee, other faculty, and invited guests.

Students are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with Graduate School policies about Submitting a Thesis/Dissertation during the beginning stages of research.

At least one week before their M.S. presentation, the student must formally notify the ME Department of their presentation by completing the M.S. Thesis Presentation Information web form and providing the following details:

  • Exact title
  • Date, time and room number of the presentation
  • Names and affiliations of the committee chair and additional committee members
  • Attach a copy of the thesis proposal approval letter sent to them on behalf of the Department Chair when their thesis proposal was approved

The morning of the presentation, the student must stop by the ME office to pick up their Master's Degree Graduation Committee Signature Form and Masters Supervisory Committee Approval Form. Both documents must be signed by the committee at the conclusion of the student's presentation or when the committee determines that the student's thesis is ready for submission to the Graduate School.

After their M.S. presentation, the student must return the signed  Committee Signature Form to the ME office.

By 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the quarter, students must submit a final, electronic copy of their thesis and Master's Supervisory Committee Approval Form to the Graduate School through the ETD administrator site.

Students who make their M.S. presentation but cannot submit their thesis by the deadline should consider applying for the Graduate Registration Waiver Fee or registering for the following quarter.  Students should see the ME Graduate Adviser immediately to learn about their options in the case that they cannot submit their thesis by the deadline.