Research and Thesis
The thesis adviser and the student should begin to identify an appropriate problem early in the student's first semester of residence. An acceptable M.S. thesis problem is expected to have attributes of originality, validity, and importance. similar to doctoral research. However, the choice of a problem suitable for a master's program will reflect the intended career and degree of experience of the candidate, and the time available for the program
Thesis Research Proposal Presentation and Approval
Thesis research will be conducted concurrently with coursework. A literature review should be initiated and a written research outline (including hypothesis, objectives, and procedures) be prepared for an advisory committee meeting to be held before the end of the second semester of residence. A copy of the proposal should be delivered to each member of the committee at least one week before the scheduled meeting. Recommendations for changes to the research plan from the members of the advisory committee will be discussed at the meeting. Changes agreed upon by the committee members, advisor, and student will be incorporated in a revised research plan. If a new draft is required, it will be completed within one month of the meeting. Subsequent revisions of the plan may be accomplished by consulting committee members individually. Copies of each revision will be distributed to committee members for their concurrence.
As part of the Thesis Research Presentation and Approval meeting of the advisory committee, a competency evaluation will be conducted to: (1) determine the student’s strengths and weaknesses in subject matter areas relevant to the proposed research and the professional goals of the candidate, and (2) provide a basis for guiding the student in planning his or her program. In preparation for the evaluation a preliminary plan of coursework will be assembled by the student in consultation with the thesis adviser. A copy of the coursework plan will be supplied to each committee member before the meeting date.
Committee members can ask specific questions to determine the student’s preparation for the proposed thesis research and graduate study program. The committee members will make recommendations to be addressed by the student and the thesis adviser.
No evaluation of performance in terms of pass or fail will be made. However, the student, thesis adviser, and the advisory committee must agree upon the disposition of all recommendations.
Written Progress Report for Annual Committee Meetings
Annual meetings of the advisory committee will be scheduled to review the progress of the thesis research. A written progress report will be prepared by the student, with the guidance of the thesis adviser for submission to the committee at the meetings.
The finished research will be assembled in approved thesis form (refer to http://gradschool.psu.edu/index.cfm/current-students/thesis-and-dissertation-information/ ).