M.Eng. Thesis Guide

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Course VI Thesis Policies and Procedures

THESIS DEADLINES

[Discussion of Deadlines and Extensions in Section 12.e]

Term Degree Date Deadline
Fall Term 2013 Feb. 2014 Jan. 31, 2014
Spring Term 2014 June 2014 Final Deadline: May 23, 2014 [Prize nominations: May 2, 2014]
Summer Session  Sept. 2014 August 22, 2014

THESIS PROPOSALS are due on the last day of classes of the first term of registration for 6.UAP or 6.ThM, but no later than one term before completion of the M.Eng. thesis. For IAP the proposal is due by the last day of IAP, and for Summer by the last day of the Summer Session.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: What is the M.Eng. Thesis?
  2. Administration and Registration
  3. Off-Campus Theses
  4. Classification and Copyright
  5. VI-A Students
  6. The Thesis Proposal
  7. Thesis Grades: The Grade of J or the Grade of U
  8. When to Start
  9. The First Step: Finding a Topic and Supervisor
  10. More Ways to Find a Thesis
  11. Working on the Thesis and Avoiding Delay
  12. The Thesis Document and Finishing Up
  13. Other Documents: MIT's Specifications for Thesis Preparation, etc.
  14. Writing an Abstract
  15. Word Processors, Printers, and Paper
  16. Title Page and Copyright
  17. Deadlines and Extensions
  18. Supervisor's Signature and Final Grade
  19. Copies, Binders, Labels and Clips
  20. The Library Processing Fee, Thesis Receipt/Grade Sheet and the Degree List
  21. Put Your Thesis in MIT's DSpace Thesis Collection
  22. Thesis Prizes
  23. MasterWorks: The Oral Presentation
  24. VI-A/non-VI-A Thesis Proposal Agreement Letter
  25. Thesis Release Letter and Classification Review Letter
  26. Sample Abstract
  27. Sample Title Page and Title Page with Copyright to MIT
  28. Sample VI-A Title Page
  29. Checklist for Handing in a Thesis
1. Introduction: What is the MEng Thesis?
The thesis requirement gives students an opportunity to develop and demonstrate their ability to carry out and document a reasonably comprehensive project requiring considerable initiative, creative thought, and a good deal of individual responsibility. The thesis may be a design project, an analytical paper, or experimental work of a technical nature.
2. Administration and Registration: How to Get More Information
The M.Eng. Thesis is administered by Anne Hunter, the Administrator of Course VI Undergraduate and M.Eng. Programs. Questions about thesis policies and procedures should be addressed to her. For lots of general information about MIT theses, go to: http://libraries.mit.edu/archives/thesis-specs/index.html.
3. Off-Campus Theses
Thesis research is usually carried out in laboratories operated by M.I.T. and located on-campus. There are some exceptions to this general rule which do not require explicit approval...
4. Classification and Copyright
M.I.T.'s rules require that copies of all graduate theses shall be deposited in the Institute Library where they are available to the public. Consequently no student is permitted to embark on a thesis project which might be classified by the government as 'Confidential' or 'Secret' for reasons of national security, or 'Company Confidential'' by a company for proprietary reasons.
5. VI-A Students
VI-A students use their final six-month work assignment to do their thesis research. This is an M.Eng. thesis registered for as 6.ThM and subject to M.Eng. thesis policies, not those for the S.M. or Ph.D. theses. VI-A students must find an M.I.T. supervisor before their graduate VI-A assignment begins, and settle proprietary issues before they begin work on their thesis project.
6. The Thesis Proposal
It is very important that the Thesis Proposal be started as soon as a supervisor has agreed to work with you on a thesis. Do NOT wait until the week before the proposal deadline to start. Only when a proposal has been submitted to the Undergraduate Office do you officially have a thesis and a supervisor. Each student must submit a thesis proposal for Department approval before undertaking the major work of the thesis.
7. Thesis Grades: The Grade of J or the Grade of U
When you register for 6.UAP, the Undergraduate Office must receive a graded proposal by the last day of classes for that term. If we do not receive a graded proposal by the deadline, you will receive an Incomplete. Students should not generally register for 6.ThM until after the proposal is submitted through 6.UAP.
8. When to Start
Start thinking about your thesis research project as early as possible, e.g., by developing research expertise through UROPs. Be alert to interesting problems that come to your attention in class, personal contacts, or through the technical literature.
9. The First Step: Finding a Supervisor and Topic
It's not as difficult to find a thesis as many students think. It's a lot like finding any research project. See urop.html.
10. More Ways to Find a Thesis
Each student is entirely responsible for finding a thesis topic and supervisor. While many people will be willing to help you, the final responsibility is yours alone. Even if you aren't VI-A and haven't been involved in a research group where you can do your thesis, it still isn't that hard to find a thesis. If you already have a very specific topic in mind, you may have to talk to many faculty and staff to find one interested in supervising you, so start early.
11. Working on the Thesis and Avoiding Delay
Many students fail to graduate on time because their theses are not complete. Some delays are inevitable, but there are ways to minimize them.
12. Thesis Completion
The thesis write-up is considered a major part of the thesis project. The report should include a clear statement of the problem and why it is of interest or importance, a description of the history and background literature on the subject, a statement of the author's work and observations, a discussion of the author's findings in relation to those of predecessors, the author's conclusions and suggestions for further work.
13 - 16. Document specifications
13. Other Thesis Documents: MIT's Specifications for Thesis Preparation, etc. The Institute publishes an online document, Specifications for Thesis Preparation outlining detailed rules for theses. Be careful when using it to distinguish between the more stringent requirements for Ph.D. theses and those for the M.Eng. thesis. We also recommend The Mayfield Handbook. Abstract prep. Word processors, printers paper. Title page and copyright.
17. - 21. Submitting the Thesis
17. - 21. Submitting the Thesis, This academic year's deadlines are listed on the front page of the Thesis Guide. Note that the Department's final thesis deadlines are much LATER than the Institute's deadlines. Going past the Institute's Deadline to the Department's Deadline is NOT considered an extension and does NOT require any permission. The Institute Deadline means nothing to Course VI students. Do NOT call us or email to check the deadline: Trust us!
22. Thesis Prizes
The thesis supervisors nominate theses for thesis awards. In the spring term the thesis must be submitted to the Undergraduate Office early (by May 6, 2012) to be considered for a prize. The supervisor nominates by sending an additional copy of the thesis, with a nominating letter detailing how the thesis is superior, to the Thesis Prize Committee Chairs for the year.
23. Masterworks: The Oral Presentation
The Department holds each Spring a special thesis poster event, called MasterWorks, where masters students make presentations of their research to interested Department faculty, students, and guests. We will be in touch with all M.Eng. students at the proper time. Prizes will be given for the best presentations. Here are tips for preparing a poster.
24. VI-A/non-VI-A Thesis Proposal Agreement Letter
Sample VI-A Thesis Proposal Agreement Letter Prof. Albert R. Meyer Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Room 38-476, M.I.T. Cambridge, MA 02139 Subject: Master of Engineering Thesis of [Student]
25. Thesis Release Letter
General Thesis Release Letter and Classification Review Letter Prof. Albert R. Meyer Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Room 38-476, M.I.T. Cambridge, MA 02139 Subject: Master of Engineering Thesis of [Student]
26. Sample Abstract
Sample Abstract A Stratigraphic Model Editor by Stephen P. Gildea Submitted to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
27. Sample Title Page for Student Holding Copyright
Sample Title Page for Student Holding Copyright The Electrical and Optical Characterization of the InGaAs/InP Alloy System by John M. Doe [Previous/Other Information: i.e.: S.B., C.S. M.I.T., 2010] Submitted to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
28. Sample VI-A Title Page with Copyright to MIT
Sample VI-A Title Page with Copyright to MIT The Electrical and Optical Characterization of the InGaAs/InP Alloy System by John M. Doe [Previous/Other degree information: i.e.: S.B. EE, M.I.T., 1997] Submitted to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
29. Checklist for Handing in a Thesis
Checklist for Handing in a Thesis Read over this checklist before you hand two identical copies of your thesis in at the Undergraduate Office.