MSc in Environmental Science

  • Environmental Science
  • Programme Structure

Examples of MSc theses

In the list below you can read the descriptions of 11 very different theses, authored by students at the MSc Programme in Environmental Science. You are welcome to contact the author if you have further questions regarding a specific thesis.

Chronic toxicity of silver nanoparticles to Daphnia magna under different feeding conditions

master of science thesis example

Author : Aiga Mackevica

Supervisor : Anders Baun, DTU Environment.

Ecotoxicity of nanoparticles has been an emerging issue in recent years, which is why it is necessary to evaluate the effects of nanoparticle exposure to the aquatic environment. In this study, we performed series of 21-day chronic tests with Daphnia magna exposed to silver nanoparticles to obtain information on growth and reproductive effects. The results were used for modelling to find possible modes of action of silver nanoparticle toxicity.

Determination of Steroid Hormones in Polar Bear Hair (Ursus maritimus) - a Methodology Study

master of science thesis example

Author: Johan Weisser

Supervisors: Bjarne Styrishave, Erland Björklund & Martin Hansen; Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

The aim of this thesis was to develop an analytical methodology to determine steroid hormones in hair, for the purpose of using hair as a biomarker to study endocrine imbalance in polar bears ( Ursus maritimus ). Hair was chosen because steroids are incorporated into the hair shaft while growing and thereby gives a prolonged steroid profile which reflect blood steroid concentration in that given time period. An extraction and clean up method was developed. For analyte determination both gas chromatography (GC) and liquid chromatography (LC) was tested followed by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). It was possible to detect progestagens, androgens and estrogens using GC-MS/MS whereas LC-MS/MS is a better analytical technic for detecting corticosteroids. Hair steroid profiling may be used to assess stress in polar bears in response to pollution and climate changes.

Effects of Carbon Nanotubes on the Female Reproductive Axis: Interference with the female reproductive cycle. A Study in Mice.

master of science thesis example

Author: Hanna Lilith Katarina Johansson

Supervisor: Karin Sørig Hougaard; National Research Centre for the Working Environment & University of Copenhagen

Very little is known on the effects of nanoparticles on reproductive function. Inhalation of nanoparticles induces inflammation in the lung – and inflammation interferes with the female reproductive axis. In this study, we investigated the effect of airway exposure to multi walled CNTs (MWCNTs) on the estrous cycle of female mice. The results showed that female reproduction may be susceptible to acute exposure to nanoparticles.

Fluorochemicals and antiandrogenic effects – an in vitro study of per- and polyfluorinated chemicals on steroidogenesis and androgen receptor activation

master of science thesis example

Information for:

Masters Theses and Project Reports

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The Master of Science (MS) Degree: A Guide

Earning your MS degree can advance your knowledge in a number of in-demand subjects.

[Featured Image]  A lady wearing a black jumpsuit is smiling and holding a tablet at a computer lab.

The Master of Science (MS) degree is a graduate degree that typically pertains to subjects in tech, mathematics, medicine, business, administration, and the natural sciences. In an MS degree program, you’ll advance your knowledge in a more technical, analytical, and at times practical way, gaining specific skills you can apply to further your career in a number of in-demand industries.  

What is an MS degree?

The MS degree builds on a bachelor’s education. While a bachelor’s program requires a number of general education courses before concentrating on a major, a master’s program will focus on one area and deliver a more specialized education.

You can earn your MS degree in a range of subjects, including:

Civil engineering

Computer science

Data science  


Health care administration


Occupational therapy

Master’s degrees in general (not just Master of Science degrees) are growing more specific. That means, instead of earning a Master of Science in Management, you may have more options, such as a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management or Master of Science in Supply Chain Management. Each program should provide a foundational education in management, while allowing you to take special courses that prepare you for a career in the sector of your choice.

What can you do with an MS degree?

Because of the lucrative fields in which you can earn a Master of Science, you may be able to achieve more senior-level roles and higher salaries with the degree. To give you an example, two occupations that typically require an advanced degree are computer research scientist (median US salary: $126,830) and economist (median US salary: $108,350).

Even where an MS degree isn’t required, you can develop and strengthen the high-level skills you’ll need to succeed in managerial and executive-level roles through a master's program. It’s worth noting that there’s a growing demand for master’s degree holders. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that there will be 16.7-percent growth in jobs requiring a master’s through 2026 [ 1 ].  

In general, earning your master’s degree has been shown to increase earning potential. Master’s degree holders earn a median annual salary of $80,340, while bachelor’s degree holders earn $67,860, according to the BLS [ 2 ]. Salaries in industries such as data analytics, computer and information science, health care management, and finance all tend to pay well and often prefer candidates with advanced degrees.

MS degree costs

There are compelling reasons for earning your MS degree, but you should understand what it may cost—both in terms of money and time—before making your decision. The average Master of Science degree program costs a total of $62,300, though that may not account for additional fees, materials, and housing [ 3 ]. It takes, on average, two years to complete an MS degree when you attend full-time, but many programs offer part-time options to help returning or professional students who work.

Some online programs, such as the University of Illinois’ Master of Science in Management (available on Coursera), are structured to take less time. You can complete your degree in one year, and gain fundamental leadership and business training.

Affordable online MS degrees 

An online MS degree may be a more affordable option than attending an in-person program. For example, the University of Colorado Boulder’s online Master of Science in Electrical Engineering costs $20,010, and the University of Michigan’s Master of Science in Population & Health Science costs between $43,500 and $47,500, depending on residency. (Both are available on Coursera.) As with in-person colleges and universities, tuition for online master’s degree programs varies between public and private institutions—and even by program. 

What does it take to get a Master of Science degree? 

Before you pursue an MS degree, you’ll need to have earned your bachelor’s degree . Fortunately, you don’t need to earn your master’s in the same subject area as your bachelor’s. You can use the MS degree to further your education in a subject that interests you, or switch paths entirely and forge a new direction.  

Once enrolled in your MS degree program, you can expect to take graduate-level coursework, and complete a thesis or capstone research project, depending on your program. Learn more about what you’ll need to graduate .

Which MS program is right for me? 

Given the cost and time commitment associated with a Master of Science program, you should assess your individual situation, weighing the degree’s more immediate expenses against the outcomes you’d like to achieve. The categories we’ve outlined below should also be important factors in your decision making.  


Look for MS programs from accredited colleges or universities. An accredited institution has been verified by an independent agency (approved by the US Department of Education), which ensures that your school meets minimum standards and likely provides a quality education.  

You should also make sure your school is accredited if you intend to apply for US federal financial aid. Learn more about why accreditation is important when deciding on your Master of Science program.


As you research different MS programs, take a close look at the kind of coursework you’ll be completing. Pay close attention to the kind of subject knowledge or training you’ll receive and how it fits into your larger goals. Is it too broad for the kind of specific skill set you’re looking to develop—or is it too niche? It's also helpful to take a look at the faculty who will be teaching your classes, especially their experience. Reviewing each program’s course offerings can indicate what you’ll learn and help you identify whether it’s a good fit. 


Whether you attend an in-person or online MS program, you may find that you have some options when it comes to the way you take classes. To ascertain which program makes sense for you, consider your larger needs. Do you need greater flexibility because you’ll be working while attending school? Would you prefer more face-to-face interactions rather than video lectures and Zoom meetings? If possible, consult each program’s graduate advisor to find out what type of classes they offer so you can ensure they fit your scheduling needs.  

In-person: Classes take place in person and are held at set times.  

Hybrid: Classes take place both in person and online synchronously. 

Synchronous online: Classes take place online and are held at a set time. 

Asynchronous online: Classes take place online and aren’t held at a set time. Instead, they can be completed as a student needs, though generally work may need to be done by a certain time (each week or month). 

Additional resources

If funding is an important consideration for you, look into what kind of financial assistance each program offers. Beyond federal grants or loans, you have several options to consider. Many MS programs offer scholarships, stipends, or teaching assistantships that can help balance out the cost of the program. It also may be worth looking into a program’s career placement resources as you consider the potential long-term impact of earning your master’s degree. 

Federal financial aid is just one option when it comes to paying for grad school. Learn more about other ways to finance your education .

Terminal degree plans 

Some students earn a Master of Science degree knowing they plan on pursuing a terminal degree (or the highest degree possible) in their field, such as a PhD. If you know that you’d like to pursue a research or academic career, and therefore intend to get your PhD, you should think about your master's plans in light of those future educational goals. Some PhD programs include the opportunity to earn your master’s while working toward your PhD, which can save you time from reapplying for PhD programs. 

Whether you’re interested in advancing your career options or pursuing additional education, you can do a lot with an MS degree. If you’re looking for more affordable and flexible options than an in-person experience, explore this collection of online MS degree programs from leading universities on Coursera. You can earn your MS degree in in-demand and high-paying fields, such as public health , computer science and engineering , and data science .  

Related articles

Should You Go Back to School: 7 Things to Consider

Master’s in Management vs. MBA: Which is Better?

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for College

What Does It Mean to Be a Nontraditional Student?

A Guide to MA vs. MS Degrees

Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor. " Occupational Employment Projections Through the Perspective of Education and Training ," Accessed November 19, 2021.

2. US Bureau of Labor. " Education Pays ," Accessed November 19, 2021.

3. Education Data Initiative. " Average Cost of a Master's Degree ," Accessed November 19, 2021.

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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Senior thesis examples.

Graduating seniors in Biological Sciences have the option of submitting a senior thesis for consideration for Honors and Research Prizes .  Below are some examples of particularly outstanding theses from recent years (pdf):

Sledd Thesis

10+ Master Thesis Proposal Examples [ Research, Project, Arts ]

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master thesis proposal template

What is a Master Thesis Proposal?

Structure of thesis proposal, more design, 10+ information technology project proposal examples, 10+ engineering project proposal examples, 7+ dissertation proposal examples, 4+ dissertation questionnaire examples, how to write a successful thesis proposal examples, thesis proposal example, thesis summary examples, thesis paper examples examples, 22+ research statement examples, 20+ professional business proposal examples, 15+ market research proposal examples, 12+ grant proposal writing examples, related articles.

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How to Write a Master's Thesis: A Guide to Planning Your Thesis, Pursuing It, and Avoiding Pitfalls


Part 1: Initial Considerations

Who needs to write a master’s thesis.

Thesis writing is one of the more daunting challenges of higher education. That being said, not all master's students have to write a thesis. For example, fields that place a stronger emphasis on applied knowledge, such as nursing, business, and education, tend to have projects and exams to test students on the skills and abilities associated with those fields. Conversely, in disciplines that require in-depth research or highly polished creative abilities, students are usually expected to prove their understanding and independence with a thesis.

What's Your Goal?

Do you want to write a thesis? The process is a long one, often spanning years. It's best to know exactly what you want before you begin. Many people are motivated by career goals. For example, hiring managers may see a master's degree as proof that the candidate is an expert within their field and can lead, motivate, and demonstrate initiative for themselves and others. Others dream of earning their doctorate, and they see a master's degree as a stepping stone toward their Ph.D .

master of science thesis example

No matter what your desired goal is, you should have one before you start your thesis. With your goal in mind, your work will have a purpose, which will allow you to measure your progress more easily.

Major Types of Theses

Once you've carefully researched or even enrolled in a master's program—a feat that involves its own planning and resources —you should know if you are expected to produce a quantitative (which occurs in many math and science programs), qualitative (which occurs in many humanities programs), or creative (which occurs in many creative writing, music, or fine arts programs) thesis.

Time and Energy Considerations

Advanced degrees are notoriously time and energy consuming. If you have a job, thesis writing will become your second job. If you have a family, they will need to know that your thesis will take a great deal of your attention, energy, and focus.

master of science thesis example

Your studies should not consume you, but they also should not take a back seat to everything else. You will be expected to attend classes, conduct research, source relevant literature, and schedule meetings with various people as you pursue your master's, so it's important to let those you care about know what's going on.

As a general note, most master's programs expect students to finish within a two-year period but are willing to grant extra time if requested, especially if that time is needed to deal with unexpected life events (more on those later).

Part 2: Form an Initial Thesis Question, and Find a Supervisor

When to begin forming your initial thesis question.

Some fields, such as history, may require you to have already formed your thesis question and to have used it to create a statement of intent (outlining the nature of your research) prior to applying to a master’s program. Others may require this information only after you've been accepted. Most of the time, you will be expected to come up with your topic yourself. However, in some disciplines, your supervisor may assign a general research topic to you.

Overall, requirements vary immensely from program to program, so it's best to confirm the exact requirements of your specific program.

What to Say to Your Supervisor

You will have a supervisor during your master's studies. Have you identified who that person will be? If yes, have you introduced yourself via email or phone and obtained information on the processes and procedures that are in place for your master's program? Once you've established contact, request an in-person meeting with him or her, and take a page of questions along with you. Your questions might include:

Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help (to a Degree)

Procedures and expectations vary from program to program, and your supervisor is there to help remove doubt and provide encouragement so you can follow the right path when you embark on writing your thesis. Since your supervisor has almost certainly worked with other graduate students (and was one at some point), take advantage of their experience, and ask questions to put your mind at ease about how to write a master’s thesis.

That being said, do not rely too heavily on your supervisor. As a graduate student, you are also expected to be able to work independently. Proving your independent initiative and capacity is part of what will earn you your master's degree.

Part 3: Revise Your Thesis

Read everything you can get your hands on.

Whether you have a question or need to create one, your next step is simple and applies to all kinds of theses: read.

master of science thesis example

Seek Out Knowledge or Research Gaps

Read everything you can that relates to the question or the field you are studying. The only way you will be able to determine where you can go is to see where everyone else has been. After you have read some published material, you will start to spot gaps in current research or notice things that could be developed further with an alternative approach. Things that are known but not understood or understood but not explained clearly or consistently are great potential thesis subjects. Addressing something already known from a new perspective or with a different style could also be a potentially valuable project. Whichever way you choose to do it, keep in mind that your project should make a valuable contribution to your field.

master of science thesis example

Talk with Experts in Your Field (and Don't Be Afraid to Revise Your Thesis)

To help narrow down your thesis topic, talk to your supervisor. Your supervisor will have an idea of what is current in your field and what can be left alone because others are already working on it. Additionally, the school you are attending will have programs and faculty with particular areas of interest within your chosen field.

On a similar note, don't be surprised if your thesis question changes as you study. Other students and researchers are out there, and as they publish, what you are working on can change. You might also discover that your question is too vague, not substantial enough, or even no longer relevant. Do not lose heart! Take what you know and adjust the question to address these concerns as they arise. The freedom to adapt is part of the power you hold as a graduate student.

Part 4: Select a Proposal Committee

What proposal committees are and why they're useful.

When you have a solid question or set of questions, draft a proposal.

master of science thesis example

You'll need an original stance and a clear justification for asking, and answering, your thesis question. To ensure this, a committee will review your thesis proposal. Thankfully, that committee will consist of people assigned by your supervisor or department head or handpicked by you. These people will be experts who understand your field of study and will do everything in their power to ensure that you are pursuing something worthwhile. And yes, it is okay to put your supervisor on your committee. Some programs even require that your supervisor be on your committee.

Just remember that the committee will expect you to schedule meetings with them, present your proposal, respond to any questions they might have for you, and ultimately present your findings and thesis when all the work is done. Choose those who are willing to support you, give constructive feedback, and help address issues with your proposal. And don't forget to give your proposal a good, thorough edit and proofread before you present it.

How to Prepare for Committee Meetings

Be ready for committee meetings with synopses of your material for committee members, answers for expected questions, and a calm attitude. To prepare for those meetings, sit in on proposal and thesis defenses so you can watch how other graduate students handle them and see what your committee might ask of you. You can even hold rehearsals with friends and fellow students acting as your committee to help you build confidence for your presentation.

master of science thesis example

Part 5: Write Your Thesis

What to do once your proposal is approved.

After you have written your thesis proposal and received feedback from your committee, the fun part starts: doing the work. This is where you will take your proposal and carry it out. If you drafted a qualitative or quantitative proposal, your experimentation or will begin here. If you wrote a creative proposal, you will now start working on your material. Your proposal should be strong enough to give you direction when you perform your experiments, conduct interviews, or craft your work. Take note that you will have to check in with your supervisor from time to time to give progress updates.

master of science thesis example

Thesis Writing: It's Important to Pace Yourself and Take Breaks

Do not expect the work to go quickly. You will need to pace yourself and make sure you record your progress meticulously. You can always discard information you don't need, but you cannot go back and grab a crucial fact that you can't quite remember. When in doubt, write it down. When drawing from a source, always create a citation for the information to save your future self time and stress. In the same sense, you may also find journaling to be a helpful process.

Additionally, take breaks and allow yourself to step away from your thesis, even if you're having fun (and especially if you're not). Ideally, your proposal should have milestones in it— points where you can stop and assess what you've already completed and what's left to do. When you reach a milestone, celebrate. Take a day off and relax. Better yet, give yourself a week's vacation! The rest will help you regain your focus and ensure that you function at your best.

How to Become More Comfortable with Presenting Your Work

Once you start reaching your milestones, you should be able to start sharing what you have. Just about everyone in a graduate program has experience giving a presentation at the front of the class, attending a seminar, or watching an interview. If you haven't (or even if you have), look for conferences and clubs that will give you the opportunity to learn about presenting your work and become comfortable with the idea of public speaking. The more you practice talking about what you are studying, the more comfortable you'll be with the information, which will make your committee defenses and other official meetings easier.

Published authors can be called upon to present at conferences, and if your thesis is strong, you may receive an email or a phone call asking if you would share your findings onstage.

Presenting at conferences is also a great way to boost your CV and network within your field. Make presenting part of your education, and it will become something you look forward to instead of fear.

What to Do If Your Relationship with Your Supervisor Sours

A small aside: If it isn't already obvious, you will be communicating extensively with others as you pursue your thesis. That also means that others will need to communicate with you, and if you've been noticing things getting quiet, you will need to be the one to speak up. Your supervisor should speak to you at least once a term and preferably once a week in the more active parts of your research and writing. If you give written work to your supervisor, you should have feedback within three weeks.

If your supervisor does not provide feedback, frequently misses appointments, or is consistently discouraging of your work, contact your graduate program advisor and ask for a new supervisor. The relationship with your supervisor is crucial to your success, especially if she or he is on your committee, and while your supervisor does not have to be friendly, there should at least be professional respect between you.

What to Do If a Crisis Strikes

If something happens in your life that disrupts everything (e.g., emotional strain, the birth of a child, or the death of a family member), ask for help. You are a human being, and personal lives can and do change without warning. Do not wait until you are falling apart before asking for help, either. Learn what resources exist for crises before you have one, so you can head off trauma before it hits. That being said, if you get blindsided, don't refuse help. Seek it out, and take the time you need to recover. Your degree is supposed to help you become a stronger and smarter person, not break you.

Part 6: Polish and Defend Your Master's Thesis

How to write a master’s thesis: the final stages.

After your work is done and everything is written down, you will have to give your thesis a good, thorough polishing. This is where you will have to organize the information, draft it into a paper format with an abstract, and abbreviate things to help meet your word-count limit. This is also where your final editing and proofreading passes will occur, after which you will face your final hurdle: presenting your thesis defense to your committee. If they approve your thesis, then congratulations! You are now a master of your chosen field.

Conclusion and Parting Thoughts

Remember that you do not (and should not) have to learn how to write a master’s thesis on your own. Thesis writing is collaborative, as is practically any kind of research.

master of science thesis example

While you will be expected to develop your thesis using your own initiative, pursue it with your own ambition, and complete it with your own abilities, you will also be expected to use all available resources to do so. The purpose of a master's thesis is to help you develop your own independent abilities, ensuring that you can drive your own career forward without constantly looking to others to provide direction. Leaders get master's degrees. That's why many business professionals in leadership roles have graduate degree initials after their last names. If you already have the skills necessary to motivate yourself, lead others, and drive change, you may only need your master's as an acknowledgement of your abilities. If you do not, but you apply yourself carefully and thoroughly to the pursuit of your thesis, you should come away from your studies with those skills in place.

A final thought regarding collaboration: all theses have a section for acknowledgements. Be sure to say thank you to those who helped you become a master. One day, someone might be doing the same for you.

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As part of the Completion Exercise for the Master's of Science in Statistical Science degree, you may write and present your Master's Thesis . This oral examination is administered by your Master's Committee. Students choosing to defend a thesis should begin work on their research as early as possible, preferably in their second semester or summer after their first year in the program. Please give yourself enough time to write your thesis. Your thesis advisor (chair of your committee) should approve your thesis title. The work has to be approved by all members of your committee.

Master’s   BEST Award:  Each 2 nd  year Duke Master’s of Statistical Science (MSS) student defending their MSS thesis may be eligible for the Master’s BEST Award . The selection of the awardee is made by the Statistical Science faculty BEST Award Committee on the basis of the submitted thesis of MSS thesis students in the same year.

All students choosing to do a thesis should submit a thesis proposal (not more than two pages) to the MS Director via Qualtrics by October 15th (of your third semester).  The thesis proposal should include a title (it can be tentative and refined later), a list of three committee members (two should be from the Statistics Department, including the chair), and a description of your work.

Please note: The Master's Thesis Committee should be formed and approved by The Graduate School at least 30 days prior to your thesis defense. 

For details, see the document below. 

The Thesis consists of a detailed written report on a project approved by the M.S. Director and the student's thesis advisor, covering aspects of your contribution to the project area :

The Master's Thesis and its submission must conform to the Duke University Graduate School M.S. thesis requirements . All students choosing to do Master's Thesis  should follow the steps outlined in the MSS Thesis Defense Process document.

10 Thesis Proposal Examples for Masters and PhDs

In this blog post, we will be sharing with you examples of thesis proposals on different topics. These thesis proposal example are all actual proposals written by graduates for their thesis and were accepted by the supervisor and the committee. So you can check the format of these proposals and can get an idea of how you can write your own thesis proposal.

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Here are some thesis proposals that you can check out to know more about the thesis proposal structure and format.

Thesis Proposal Example 1 – Computer Science

Thesis Proposal Title: Computer Vulnerability Analysis Writer : Ivan Krsul University: Purdue University Year: April 1997 For: Masters Thesis Proposal Pdf: You can download the thesis proposal pdf here .

Thesis Proposal Sample 2 – Software and System Engineering

Thesis Proposal Title: Pattern-based methods for model-based safety-critical software architecture design Writer: Maged Khalid University: Year: 2013 For: PhD Thesis Proposal Pdf:

Thesis Proposal Example 3 – Education

Thesis proposal example 4 – computer science.

Thesis Proposal Title: A Plan-Based Approach to Conversational Implicature Writer: Elizabeth Hinkelman University : The University of Rochester Year: 1987 For: PhD Proposal pdf:

Masters Thesis Proposal Example 5 – IT

Thesis Proposal Title: Smart SoC-Testing facilitated by the usage of IJTAG complemented with onboard microprocessor access Writer: Clemens Pircher University: Vienna University of Technology Year: 2021 For: Masters Proposal PDF:

Masters Thesis Proposal Example 6 – Computer Engineering

Thesis proposal example 7, thesis proposal sample 8 – computer engineering.

Thesis Proposal Title: Fully Homomorphic Computation On Private Blockchain Transactions Writer: University: University of Colorado Year: 2019 For: Masters Proposal PDF:

Example of Thesis Proposal 9 – Social Work

Thesis Proposal Title: MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR EMPOWERING LGBTQ YOUTH: Writer: Anahi Luases University: California State University Year: 2021 For: Masters PDF: l=18750&diss=y

PhD Thesis Proposal 10

You can check all the thesis proposals to check the format and how you should write the proposal.

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University of Washington Bothell, School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

Thesis/Project Process

Thesis/project student process.

The following process applies to all Division of Computing & Software Systems (CSS) graduate students, regardless of degree program (CSSE or CSE) or thesis/project goals.  

In general, a thesis is a scholarly written document aimed at an academic audience as a contribution to an existing body of knowledge. A project is aimed at building a connection between academic concepts and the application of those concepts into real-world context.

Before students determine which option to pursue, they should discuss how each option applies to their own individual goals for their degree program with their faculty advisor and the CSS Graduate Advisor.

Step 1: Form a Supervisory Committee

Students who desire to register for their thesis/project credit(s) must first form a committee of faculty who will supervise and grade their efforts and results of their work.  A supervisory committee will consist of a student’s Faculty Advisor (who will serve as Committee Chair) and at least 2-3 additional faculty members. At least two of the committee members must be faculty whose primary appointment is in the Computing & Software Systems Division. The Chair of the Committee and at least one-half of the total membership must be members of the graduate faculty.

Students must submit a signed  Request to Form a Supervisory Committee  to the CSS Graduate Advisor to obtain an entry code to register for the class.  Included with the signed form should be a proposal (minimally 3 pages) addressing the questions asked in section 2 of the form. Please follow the proposal guidelines detailed in the link below: 

Before submitting the form, students are expected to attend another students CSS master's project or thesis final examination & defense.  View the Thesis/Project Final Exam Schedule .

The deadline for all committee requests is  the first day of the seventh week of the quarter PRECEDING the start of a student’s project or thesis coursework . Students should request for specific faculty to staff their Supervisory Committee; however, final staffing assignments of the Supervisory Committee resides with the CSS Division’s Graduate Program Coordinator. Once a supervisory request has been granted, students will receive an email from the CSS Graduate Advisor notifying them of the approved committee and an entry code to register for their thesis/project credit(s). Students are encouraged to submit their request early, to avoid any registration late fees.

Submission Deadlines

Step 2: File a Thesis or Project Plan

By the end of the second week of the quarter in which a student is registered for their first capstone credits, the student must submit to their Supervisory Committee a detailed project or thesis plan.  The plan should include an updated proposal of the work to be done, a time table listing key milestones and associated deliverables, the quality criteria and specific metrics by which student expects to measure the quality of their result, and the software development lifecycle and processes planned to complete the work.  There are no penalties for deviations in the approved plan or failure to meet the estimates in the timetable or failure to achieve the quality goals.  The plan simply provides a well-defined start for the remainder of the capstone work.  A PDF copy of the approved plan must be submitted by the student to the STEM Graduate Advising Office.

To submit your plan to the STEM Graduate Office, please send your PDF document to [email protected] , with the subject line “Project Plan” or “Thesis Plan”.

Register for CSSSKL 594

A substantial working draft of the capstone research project paper or thesis should be completed by the beginning of the quarter in which you expect to graduate. For this reason, generally, you will enroll in CSSSKL 594 “Scientific Writing for Thesis/Project” during the quarter before you expect to graduate.  (For example, to graduate in the spring, you should enroll in 594 in the Winter). Please consult with your supervisory committee chair as to the best timing of this class for the most benefit to you.

Step 3: Communicate Regular Progress Reports with the Supervisory Committee

Throughout the period of enrollment in the thesis/project credit(s), students are expected to lead the effort to regularly update their Supervisory Committee members on their work progress.  Students should plan on meeting with their Committee Chair frequently based on the advice from the committee chair (minimally three times in each quarter that they are enrolled for thesis/project credits).

To register for second and subsequent quarters, students should work with their Chair to determine the workload for the upcoming quarter and the number of credits to enroll for. Once the Committee Chair grants permission and confirms the number of credits for the next quarter, the student forwards that permission to the CSS Graduate Advisor, who will issue a new entry code to use for registration. In cases where satisfactory progress is made, the student will be issued of a grade of N (in progress) until the project/thesis is complete.

Students who fail to make appropriate progress in their project/thesis during a quarter may receive a notification from their Chair warning them of lack of progress.  If students continue failing to achieve satisfactory progress, Chairs may also choose to issue a grade of NC (No Credit) and move to dissolve the Committee. For full information regarding the project/thesis continuation policy, please see the Academic Progress Policy .

Step 4: Schedule Final Defense

By 5PM on Thursday of the third week of the quarter that a student is registered for their final thesis/project credits, the student must consult with their supervisory committee members to schedule a defense of their culminating work.  Students should work closely with their committee chair to ensure that they are ready for their final examination and defense.  The STEM Graduate Advising Office will send students the link to the online scheduling system each quarter to select a time/date for their defense.  View details about defense format options and attendance requirements in the Defense Attendance Policy .

Step 5: Apply to Graduate

By 5:00 p.m. on Thursday of the third week of the quarter that a student is registered for their final degree credits the student must apply to graduate by filing a master’s degree request online .  Students should work with the CSS Graduate Advisor and Committee Chair to plan their degree curriculum accordingly, so that their final capstone requirements serve as the culmination of their degree coursework. Students must be registered for credits during the quarter they want to graduate.

Step 6: Submit Draft of Final Paper/Thesis

Writing the final paper/thesis is a time intensive process. Students should plan ahead to schedule substantial time to compose and proofread their paper/thesis. A low-quality paper/thesis may lead to the delay of their defense. Early in the quarter that a student is registered for their final thesis/project credits, the student must review the following sample templates and discuss with their committee chair on the preference for the organization of their final project or thesis report:

Two weeks before the defense , submit the title and abstract to the School of STEM Office of Graduate Studies to post on the Final Examination & Defense schedule.

At least seven days before the defense, the student must submit a final draft of their project paper or thesis to their committee for a preliminary reading. The purpose of this draft is to demonstrate to the Supervisory Committee that the student has achieved a Master’s level competency in computer science and software engineering, and that the student is ready to defend their work.

Step 7: Final Examination and Defense

The Final Examination and Defense consists of (a) a public student presentation, (b) a public questions and answers session, (c) a closed-door question and answer session between the student and the Supervisory Committee, (d) a brief private discussion among the Supervisory Committee, and (e) the Supervisory Committee announcing to the student the result of the Final Examination and Defense. A typical defense will last close to two hours.  If a student does not pass the Final Examination and Defense, the Supervisory Committee will work with the student to decide upon the necessary additional work required for obtaining their Master’s degree.  The final examination and defense must take place no later than the third day of the last week of the quarter (final exam week).

Step 8: File your Thesis or Project Paper

After passing their final examination/defense, students must submit an electronic copy (PDF) of their final project paper or thesis, incorporating any post examination/defense revisions required by their Committee to the following entities in the order listed:

Failure to complete any of the above steps by the appropriate time/date will result in a delay of graduation.

Students submit their final document to the STEM Graduate Office ( [email protected] ) with their supervisory committee members copied on the email, and the email subject as “Final Thesis”, or “Final Project Report.” 

Special Notes for Thesis Students

Additional Information


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