MES Program Thesis Guide
Students choosing the Thesis option are required to write a thesis that will demonstrate familiarity and competency with basic scientific methodology. The thesis should document the student's ability to conceive, implement, analyze, and report on his/her original individual or collaborative research.
Details about the appropriate format of the final Thesis document can be found in the MES Program Thesis Preparation Guidelines:
and in the Graduate School Thesis Manual:
General information about the Thesis option may be found below and in the MES Student Handbook.
Research Advisory Committee
As soon as the student has elected the thesis option and selected an area of research interest, he/she will select a Research Advisor. The Research Advisor may be, but is not required to be, the same person as the Academic Advisor. The Research Advisor, in consultation with the student, will select a Research Advisory Committee. The function of the Research Advisory Committee is to direct and monitor the student's research program and to assume responsibility for oversight of the student's progress toward the degree. Upon selection and approval of the Research Advisory Committee, the duties of the student's Academic Advisor are completed.
The Research Advisory Committee is composed of at least four (4) members, with the Research Advisor as the chair. The composition of the Committee is as follows: (1) three of the four members must be members of the Graduate Faculty, and; (2) one member must be from outside the student's area of concentration in the MES program. For example, a student concentrating in Biology may comprise a committee of three Biology faculty members and one Political Science faculty member.
Prior to the first meeting of the Research Advisory Committee, the student must present Committee members with a Program of Study with grades received in courses already completed. The Research Advisory Committee, after review of the student's Program of Study, may suggest further coursework deemed beneficial for completion of the research project. Throughout his/her research, the student will meet regularly with the Research Advisory Committee to discuss progress, problems, and additional work necessary to complete the research.
Prior to beginning thesis work, a student must prepare a written Thesis Proposal in consultation with his/her Research Advisor and Research Advisory Committee. Typically, this proposal will be written one year prior to the completion of the thesis. The student will be expected to ensure that all resources necessary for his/her research and permission to use them have been obtained.
The Proposal should include a Plan of Research, which identifies hypotheses to be tested and describes the research approach to the problem. This Plan should show evidence of sound research methodology, creative integration of course material, and an understanding of the pertinent literature.
The Plan shall normally follow the outline listed below:
I. Project Title
II. Thesis Advisor
III. Abstract - Outline Specific Project Goals
IV. Project Narrative
B. Detailed Project Description Explaining Goals
D. References / Works Cited
V. Project Time Table
VI. Expected Results/Outcomes
VII. Resources Required to Complete the Project
VIII. Approval Signatures
When the Research Advisor is satisfied with the student's preparation and the content of the Plan of Research, the student will present and defend the Thesis Proposal before the Research Committee. The student will be questioned on those methodologies and the background areas needed to complete successfully the proposed research. The Program Director must also review and approve the Proposal. Once the Research Advisory Committee and the Program Director have accepted the Proposal, the student must submit it, along with a signed Thesis Proposal Approval form (MES-6) to the MES Program Office. The Graduate Dean will then review the student’s Thesis Proposal for approval.
Upon completion of the thesis, the Research Advisory Committee will review the student's work and determine if it is acceptable or in need of further research or revisions. Once the Research Advisory Committee has approved the thesis for defense, the student must submit the Thesis Defense Notification form (MES-8) to the MES Program Office.
One possible timeline for the Spring 2013 semester, for example, might be:
Before March 4th - provide the Thesis Committee with completed copies of the thesis for reviewBefore March 18th - confirm the day, time, and location of the Thesis Defense with the CommitteeBefore March 25th - provide the MES Program Office with the signed Defense Notification formBefore April 1st - provide the Thesis Committee with updated copies of the thesis, incorporating the Committee's suggestionsBefore April 8th - Oral Defense Day. Following the defense, take note of the Committee's final requirements and suggestionsBefore April 15th - Provide the Committee members with final copies of the thesis for their signature on the Title Page, and get the Committee members' signatures on the Certification of Successful Thesis Defense formApril 22nd Deadline - Submit the final version of the thesis online. The site for you to use to submit your thesis is http://
dissertations.umi.com/cofc/ Y ou'll want to check with the Graduate School Office to make sure you understand how to submit your thesis prior to going online (they'll be doing "thesis writing seminars" as well).
Students electing the thesis option are required to pass a general oral examination directed primarily to the defense of the thesis. The defense begins with a formal presentation of approximately thirty (30) minutes in length, describing the research methods and results. The candidate's Research Advisory Committee and other attendees then conduct an oral examination to test the candidate's understanding of the area of research. Performance on this examination must receive the approval of the majority of the student's Research Advisory Committee before the student will be recommended for the MS degree. Upon completing the oral defense with the Committee's approval, the student must submit the signed Certification for Successful Thesis Defense form (MES-9) to the MES Program Office.
The MES Program Thesis Preparation Guidelines have been designed to aid you in finishing one of the most important documents you will write in your academic career. Your thesis must meet all the guidelines set forth in the Thesis Manual: A Guide for Graduate Students published by the Graduate School Office at the College of Charleston. Use the most current edition of this Graduate School manual which is available through the Graduate School Office and the MES Program Office. You should find the most current information concerning the requirements, dates, thesis preparation guidelines, etc. at the Graduate School.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the MES Program Thesis Preparation Guidelines conform to the Graduate School Manual. Should you find any discrepancies between the two documents, follow the guidelines in the Graduate School Manual and inform the MES Program Office of the difference.
The site for you to use to submit your thesis is http://dissertations.umi.com/cofc/. You should check with the Graduate School Office to make sure you understand how to submit your thesis prior to going online.
The submission of your master's thesis is the last step in the program leading to the award of your degree. Your manuscript is a scholarly statement of the results of a substantial period of research and preparation. It will be made available for public use in the MES office and online through ProQuest.
For these reasons, the Environmental Studies Program has established guidelines in the physical format of the manuscript in order to obtain a uniformly high quality product, in a permanent and readily reproducible form of presentation, and with consistency in the arrangement of the contents. The thesis must be a professionally finished work in format, style, spelling and appearance. The finished document reflects on both you and on the College. The physical format of the manuscript should be perfect. We would not expect you to settle for less; nor will we. Failure to follow these instructions will necessitate revising the submission until it meets the expected standards. It is preferred that a thesis be prepared, to the extent possible, in the format of the intended journal of publication, with minimal necessary revision prior to submission. However, any deviation from MES presentation requirements must be approved by the your committee and the Director of the MES Program. In no case will any deviation from the format of the Graduate School Manual be permitted.
Registering for Thesis Hours
Students may register for thesis credit hours only in the semester in which the thesis is to be defended. A THESIS PROPOSAL APPROVAL FORM (MES-6) MUST BE ON FILE IN THE MES PROGRAM OFFICE BEFORE THE STUDENT IS ALLOWED TO REGISTER FOR THESIS CREDIT HOURS. If the student is unable to complete the thesis in the semester in which he/she is registered, no grade of will be issued until the requirements are fulfilled. All work for completion of the course requirements should be submitted by the end of exams in the next major term (Fall or Spring).
When appropriate, preparatory research work leading to a thesis may be credited under enrollment in Independent Study (EVSS 693). Decisions about such enrollment rest with the student's Research Advisory Committee and the Program Director. A student who is in the process of completing a research or thesis project or is using library and laboratory facilities and consulting with MES faculty must maintain continuous enrollment in the program. Continuous enrollment can be maintained by enrollment in a minimum of one hour of Continuous Enrollment (EVSS 900) per semester.
Deadlines for Final Copy Submission
All theses must be submitted online by the date established by the Graduate School Office for each semester. Students are encouraged to use this date as a guideline to determine an appropriate schedule that will give ample time for their thesis defense and thesis revision. Use the Graduate School Manual when submitting your thesis online. Please contact Regan Fantry if you encounter any problems or have any questions regarding submitting your thesis online.