Currently, MAE requests that applicants initially indicate that a thesis will be selected; this can be replaced using a modified Program of Study only if the MAE Research Advisor supports such a change. This is consistent with a philosophy that normally BS/MS students are expected to perform a thesis as part of the BS/MS Program, and a project is recommended only as an exception.
The selection of a topic for a thesis or project, and of the Research Advisor for that thesis or project is the most critical part of the BS/MS Program. It is also very important to select the topic and Research Advisor as early as possible in this Program. Students who do not select the topic and Research Advisor early in their BS/MS Program, or do not get a clear understanding of the expectations of that Research Advisor as to the thesis or project requirements may find that the BS/MS Program takes longer than they had anticipated.
In order to find a Research Advisor and a research topic, look at the MAE website to see what research various faculty members are currently performing. Past theses and dissertations supervised by a faculty member will also provide information for the student’s decision. Once you have identified one or more faculty member(s) whose research interests you, make an appointment to speak with them concerning opportunities for thesis research.
Thesis and project do not receive conventional letter grades. You will receive either an “S”, indicating that you making satisfactory progress towards your thesis/project or you will receive a “U”, indicating that unsatisfactory progress; the Office of Graduate Studies does not allow credit hours for U-graded courses to count toward the MS/BS thesis or projects. You cannot receive an Incomplete on a thesis or project.
Your Research Advisor is the sole judge of when your research is complete. Note that experimental theses may take longer than theses which involve mathematical analysis or the development of computer software. The BS/MS Program typically takes five years to complete; however, some students have accomplished this in four years, while others have taken as long as six years to complete this Program.
All BS/MS students must select a thesis or project committee. Both the MS project and MS thesis must be defended in an oral presentation before a committee of at least three faculty, and must include their Research Advisor. Typically, your Research Advisor recommends the committee based upon their potential interest, but you are responsibile for contacting each member to determine their general availability for the committee and for all committee meetings including the defense.
There may be additional requirements for each program. Please check the published MS requirements for your program to be aware of any additional committee requirements.