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Thesis Process

Timeline: There is no rigid timeline for the thesis project. In the past, students have proposed their thesis as quickly as midway through their first year and as late as during internship. Ideally, it is recommended that students aim to propose their thesis during the first or second year. It becomes difficult to concentrate on completing a thesis when there are substantial competing demands for your time during the internship year. Some students also find it a challenge to propose during practicum. Keep in mind that some faculty also may not be available over the summer, so you may want to check with your committee before making plans to propose or defend during the summer.

Initial Approval: The thesis project must be approved by the committee prior to actual implementation. This involves a written document and proposal meeting with all committee members. The written document should be given to all committee members at least two weeks before the proposal meeting.

IRB Approval: In addition to being approved by the committee, the research must be approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) (if human subjects will be used and it is not exempt) before beginning the research.

Project Implementation: Implement the research as proposed and follow all safety, consent, assent, and ethical practices while doing so. Be sure to report any change of protocol or deviations to the IRB for modification or change so that no breach will occur. Also, make note of any problems or unanticipated events you experienced during the research as they may be considered to be threats to validity or helpful points to consider in explaining what happened during the research project. It is your responsibility to schedule meetings with and keep your thesis chair informed about what is happening during your research project and any changes or alterations that may need to occur so you can be helped in making the best decisions possible.

Final Review and Approval: Upon completion of the research, the Ed.S. candidate must pass a final oral defense or presentation regarding the project. The student’s thesis committee shall conduct the examination or presentation. Typically, students prepare a PowerPoint presentation and talk the faculty members through their written thesis, which is sent in advance so that the faculty members can read it in time for the committee review meeting. There can be no more than one dissenting vote on the committee for the passing of the examination or presentation. At the time of the defense, the student is responsible for getting all necessary forms from the departmental administrative assistant and/or graduate school so that all the paperwork that needs to be filed will be available to be signed by the committee members at the conclusion of the meeting. It is essential to have these forms so that effective written communication between faculty and the graduate school can occur.