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. Theses done in classified areas of VI-A companies must be reviewed by the government to confirm that they are unclassified. A statement must be attached to the proposal when it is submitted indicating that in the best judgment of the student and the supervisor the thesis will be unclassified. A sample statement is attached. (See Appendix B.)
Patent and copyright: If while a graduate student, the student has received any financial support in the form of wages, salary, stipend, RAship, or grant from M.I.T. administered funds, the thesis is copyrighted to M.I.T. Otherwise, the student may copyright the thesis. [For more information consult the MIT thesis specifications.]Students may consult their thesis supervisor or the MIT Technology Licensing Office and the Office of General Counsel.
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. Students should make every effort to arrange their thesis project, find a supervisor and submit a proposal and agreement letter in the spring of their senior year. If difficulties are encountered, seek assistance from the VI-A company faculty advisor.
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.
M.Eng. students who used an Undergraduate Project instead of an MEng thesis proposal for 6.UAP, must submit a thesis proposal by the last day of classes of the first term in which they register for 6.ThM. This must be in the summer or fall after the senior year and at least one full term before the end of their M.Eng. program or submission of the thesis document.
Failure to meet the proposal deadline will result in the permanent grade of "U" for Unsatisfactory Progress in 6.ThM.
The proposal must be well-written and substantial (around ten pages, double-spaced, including references) and must be accompanied by a Thesis Proposal Cover Sheet. VI-A students must also submit a proposal accompanied by a company agreement letter. (See: Appendix A.)