CSE Grad Handbook - Thesis
5 - Thesis Requirements
All students are required to satisfactorily complete the required number of CSE 700 hours. The rules for CSE 700 are as follows:
- A minimum of two semesters of enrollment in CSE 700 is required.
- Enrollment in CSE 700 is by permission of the student’s research advisor.
- CSE 602 is a prerequisite for CSE 700. You should enroll in CSE 700 only after you have completed CSE 602 and successfully defended your thesis proposal.
- Additional hours of CSE 700 may be taken and often are in order to maintain full time status while completing research. However, these additional hours will not count towards degree completion requirements.
- CSE 700 must be taken for a letter grade. Possible grades are U (Unsatisfactory), S (Satisfactory), P (Pass), and F (Fail). An explanation of each letter grade can be found in the Policy Library.
- To enroll in CSE 700, you will have to complete the Independent Study Form according to the One Stop instructions for Independent Work.
Topics studied in CSE 690 may not duplicate the topic of the master’s research (CSE 700) of the student. A master’s degree candidate may earn a maximum of three credits of Graduate Research (CSE 690) to count towards CSE elective requirements. If a topic studied in Graduate Research turns into a Thesis topic, then the credit earned in Graduate Research (CSE 690) is to be substituted for three hours of Research (CSE 700).
Graduate research is made up of two phases, which (together) take a minimum of three semesters to complete. These phases are:
- Proposal Phase
- Research Execution Phase
During the Proposal Phase, students should register for CSE 601 Computer Science Research Methods in the fall semester of the first year in the MSCS program and CSE 602 Emerging Topics in Computer Science in the following spring semester. These two courses together are designed to guide students in preparing a research proposal and help make expectations clear. CSE 601 will be offered each fall semester, while CSE 602 will be offered each spring semester. Figure 1 shows the steps to be carried out in the Proposal Phase, each of which is completed as part of either CSE 601 or CSE 602:
- Choose a faculty advisor (CSE 601)
- Create a customized Plan of Study in consultation with your advisor (CSE 601)
- Choose a research topic (CSE 601)
- Choose a Thesis Committee in consultation with your advisor (CSE 601)
- Prepare a research proposal (CSE 601)
- Present the proposal to your thesis committee and the public (CSE 602)
- Obtain approval of your proposal from your committee. An approval form is appended to this guide. Submit the form to the Assistant to the Graduate Director before the beginning of your second year. (CSE 602)
In the Proposal Phase the student will prepare a research proposal under the supervision of a faculty member. The written proposal will typically include drafts of the first two to three chapters of the final thesis. The proposal presentation will include:
- A description of the research problem
- Research objectives
- Significance and background of the problem
- Approach and methodology to be used
- Expected results of the study
The proposal presentation cannot take place in the same semester as the thesis defense. This is intended to benefit the student by ensuring that the student receives feedback and approval before commencing a research project and ensure that there is sufficient time to make significant progress on the research. It is expected that the proposal will be completed as part of course requirements for CSE 602 during the spring semester.
Prior to beginning the Research Execution Phase, the student must have the proposal approved by his or her Committee. Then the student may commence the Execution Phase and complete the following tasks:
- Conduct the research by implementing a solution to a chosen research problem
- Conduct experiments and collect and analyzing data to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution
- Prepare a thesis that documents the research
- Successfully defend the thesis before the Thesis Committee and the public
- Make the final copies of the thesis and submit it for publication through the OhioLink ETD (Electronic Thesis and Dissertation) system
In this phase, the student must successfully present and defend the results of his or her work to the public. This presentation and its evaluation constitute the final examination. The thesis must be read before the date of the examination by the members of the examination committee. Thus, a complete draft of the thesis must be provided to the examination committee five working days (one week) prior to the defense presentation.
The defense must be scheduled one week prior to the thesis submission deadline given by the University (listed by the Graduate School as the “Upload to OhioLink MA/MS”). The defense will not be scheduled until the document is complete and available to all faculty members. The usual format for the defense begins with a 30 to 40 minute oral presentation, accompanied by audio/visual materials, to his or her examining committee and the public. The student should practice the presentation with his or her advisor prior to giving the presentation. Following the presentation, members of the committee or the public may question the student. The entire presentation and question period typically lasts about one hour. Lastly, the public is excused and the examining committee determines whether the student has passed the examination.
Students on assistantship are required to successfully propose their thesis by the end of the summer term following their enrollment in CSE 601. Direct admit students are expected to enroll in CSE 601 during their first year in the MSCS program. Students that do not meet this deadline will lose their assistantship.
With the support of their advisor, students may petition the graduate committee to keep their assistantship. The petition must be in writing. It must include an explanation of the reasons the proposal was not completed and a plan for completing the proposal that includes the expected date of completion. The petition should be accompanied by a positive or negative endorsement from the student’s advisor. Students who have been in the MSCS degree program for longer than twelve months and have not completed their proposal will generally not be awarded an assistantship.
Students are required to be enrolled for at least one credit at the time of proposal presentation. All students are expected to maintain enrollment of at least one credit for every semester thereafter until the thesis is completed. If a student fails to enroll for any fall or spring semester, the student’s thesis proposal may become void and will have to be rewritten and presented again, possibly with a different topic. Enrollment is not required during winter or summer terms. If there are special circumstances that prevent a student from registering for one or more semesters, the student may petition the CSE Graduate Program Committee for an exception to the rule. Students who have not completed the defense prior to physically leaving Miami University will receive one semester of “grace” during which it is not necessary for them to be enrolled as a student at the university.
Table 3 summarizes important milestones for a graduate student completing thesis research.
|Become familiar with the CSE faculty, approach faculty members about being the advisor, identify a thesis committee, write the literature review (CSE 601)
|Consider topics of interest in the field and identify research interest
|Complete the thesis proposal (CSE 602)
|Conduct research (CSE 700)
|Begin writing thesis
|Present and defend thesis (CSE 700)
|Complete research and defend the thesis
For students who are able to complete the program in less than four semesters, the timeline in Table 3 will be compressed, and the student must initiate each milestone earlier than shown in the table. Also, the student should remember that at least two semesters of CSE 700 are required.
The results of the research must be reported in the form of a thesis, following the Graduate School’s guidelines. These guidelines are established by the Graduate School and are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the Graduate Student Association Canvas site. This section is intended to provide a suggested structure for the thesis.
A research study should contain a statement of the question to be investigated or goals of the study, a review of relevant literature, a description of how one analyzed, extended, or applied what was learned, results or issues that have been identified in the study, and finally some conclusions that can be drawn and suggestions for future work. The thesis must contain a concise statement describing the contribution of the research to the field. The thesis must contain a concise statement describing the novel aspects of the work. The thesis will typically contain the following sections:
- Introduction (including goals or thesis question and the significance of the problem to be studied)
- Literature survey (background and related work)
- Description of approach to solving the problem
- Description of experimental design and results
- Summary, conclusions, and suggestions for future work
All theses from former students are housed in the OhioLink ETD (Electronic Thesis and Dissertation) archive online, and are available for review as examples of prior work.
The Howe Center for Writing Excellence can provide feedback and coaching on your writing. Contact them via http://MiamiOH.edu/howe/. If you are a non-native speaker of English, contact the English Language Learner Writing Center at https://www.MiamiOH.edu/ellwc/. It is recommended that students who are not experienced writers or native English speakers meet with a writing coach regularly (about every two weeks) during the thesis writing period.
The student is responsible for submitting the thesis, in electronic form, to the OhioLink ETD (Electronic Thesis and Dissertation) center. The student is also responsible for seeing that the signed cover sheet of the thesis, in hard copy, is submitted to the Graduate School. Follow the style guidelines provided by the Graduate School.
*Missing any of the deadlines listed below could delay graduation to a later semester.*
The proposal must be presented to the public. Student responsibilities include the following:
- Students must schedule a date, time and location to present their proposal with the CSE department administrative assistant at least five working days (one week) prior to the intended date of the proposal presentation. The CSE administrative assistant will prepare, post, and distribute the proposal announcement to the appropriate individuals.
- Students who are unfamiliar with the instructor’s station in the room scheduled for their thesis defense or proposal presentation should schedule an appointment with the CEC IT support group (109 Benton) a week (five working days) in advance to be trained on the computer equipment in the room. If needed, students will also have to reserve equipment such as a laptop computer with CEC IT a week (five working days) in advance.
For more details, see the Checklist for Proposing a Thesis of this handbook.
The thesis defense is a public presentation. Student responsibilities include the following:
- Students are responsible for completing a thesis format check prior to the date posted by the Graduate School for the semester in which they expect to graduate. The date is listed by the Graduate School as the “Format check for MA/MS.” The thesis does not have to be complete in order for the format check to be completed. However, it should include all front matter and completed introduction and background chapters.
- Students must apply for graduation and pay the graduation fee prior to the defense.
- Adequate time must be provided for the examining committee to read the thesis prior to the defense. The student should copy a complete draft of the thesis that has been approved by the advisor to members of the examining committee at least five working days (one week) prior to the defense date.
- The defense and all graduation requirements including associated paperwork must be completed at least 14 working days prior to the date of commencement for the semester in which the student intends to graduate. This includes uploading of the thesis to OhioLink. The date is listed by the Graduate School for each semester as “Upload to OhioLink MA/MS.” Failure to complete graduation requirements will result in the student graduating in a later semester.
For more details, see the Checklist for Defending a Thesis in the appendices of this handbook.