- MSE department students in the BS/MS accelerated degree program carry out their MS thesis research in lieu of the traditional senior design projects described above. The BS/MS program culminates with an oral presentation and defense of a written master’s thesis, as prescribed by, and in accordance with, the MSE department’s graduate program requirements and guidelines. ABET accreditation of the department’s undergraduate degree program requires a significant “design” component, which is fulfilled, in large part, by the senior design sequence, but which is not included in a traditional MS research thesis activity. ABET does include BS/MS in its program assessment and requires fulfillment of the “design” component as part of students’ MS studies.
- BS/MS students pursuing the non-thesis option complete 45 credits of coursework and do not complete a thesis.
- All BS/MS students undertaking the research/thesis portion of their MS studies are required to participate in those parts of the senior design course sequence which demonstrate the required design component. Specifically, all MSE department BS/MS students in their final year also:
(a) Attend the fall, winter, and spring term senior design meetings, and
(b) Give oral progress presentations to the MSE faculty during the regular senior design presentations scheduled at the end of both the fall and winter terms.
MS Thesis Hours
BS/MS accelerated degree program students in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) are required to complete nine (9) credit hours of Master’s Thesis (MATE 898) prior to graduation, comprising 3 credit hours per term in each of the fall, winter, and spring terms of their senior year.
BS/MS students may also take up to 6 credits of graduate research (MATE 897), subject to the approval of the MSE department Graduate Advisor and the student’s research advisor.
Guidelines for MS Thesis Research
- The research should provide a useful educational experience for the student, emphasizing creativity, independent action, thinking and learning, research methodology, and a scholarly approach.
- The research undertaken must be relevant to the field of materials science and engineering.
- The contributions to knowledge must be original and, as such, should represent a substantial contribution to the fundamental knowledge of the field or a new and better interpretation of existing knowledge. The research must demonstrate creativity. Theses based on well-known principles, techniques, and models applied to situations only slightly different from previous applications are not acceptable.
- The thesis should contain clear statements regarding (i) the relevance and importance of the problem and (ii) the significance, originality, and generality of the research results. The relationship of the research to the literature in the field should be described.
- All BS/MS students are required to include an analysis of the safety aspects of their project during their first presentations.
- The research should exhibit the major characteristics of the scientific method, namely objectivity and reproducibility. Assumptions made should be clearly stated in both experimental and theoretical research.
- The thesis should reflect a level of competence commensurate with significant achievement beyond the bachelor’s level. Thus, the research is expected to draw directly upon advanced learning in the student’s major field and demonstrate mastery of that knowledge.
- The thesis must demonstrate understanding of the theory and methodology related to its main thrust. Further, the thesis should reflect knowledge of the application area.
- The research should/may result in at least one paper publishable in a suitable refereed journal of materials engineering or science, as appropriate.
- The thesis should demonstrate a high degree of proficiency in written communication of research results. It should conform to the University's requirements as outlined in the Graduate Office’s “Manual for Graduate Theses.”
- The scope of the research should be such that it requires at least the time and effort equivalent to 9 credit hours of graduate study. 3-credit hours is assumed to be equivalent to a minimum of 3 hours effort per week (minimum 30 hours per term).
A thesis is required for all students pursuing a BS/MS degree in Materials Science and Engineering. Although a student in the BS/MS program may register for thesis credits without limit, no more than 9 Master’s thesis credits may be counted toward a master’s degree. Students should consult their advisor(s) and the department graduate advisor at an early date to ascertain departmental and college policies pertinent to the program. If the master’s thesis is to be placed in the library, the format must be reviewed and approved as part of the graduation requirements. Students should consult the Thesis Manual for formatting and completion requirements.
Writing Intensive (WI) Requirements for BS/MS Students
MS thesis (MATE 898) is designated as a Writing Intensive (WI) course for all three terms of the senior year. The WI requirements for BS/MS students differ somewhat from those for BS students, as detailed below.
BS/MS students submit a 15-20 page written Research Proposal to their MS thesis advisor by the end of week 8 of the fall term. The advisor (or their graduate mentor) reviews the research proposal and provides substantive oral and written feedback to the student. A final, revised research proposal is submitted at the end of week 10, and is used, in part, to determine the student’s grade for the term.
BS/MS students submit a 15-20 page written Progress Report or agreed upon draft thesis chapters to their MS thesis advisor by the end of week 8 of the winter term. The advisor (or their designated graduate mentor to the BS/MS student) reviews the progress report and provides substantive oral and written feedback to the student. A final, revised research progress report (or thesis chapters) is submitted at the end of week 10, and is used, in part, to determine the student’s grade for the term.
BS/MS students, as agreed upon with their thesis advisor, write and submit draft versions of the required chapters of their MS thesis to their thesis advisor for review, revision, feedback, and approval prior to scheduling their final MS thesis defense before the end of term.