Finding a Thesis Supervisor

Finding a thesis advisor that is a good match in terms of interests, style, and temperament should be the student's top priority from the moment of arrival, if not earlier. As a result of the popularity of InfoSys among students, there are many more graduate students in InfoSys than can be supervised by the InfoSys Faculty alone. However, there are many faculty and staff whose primary affiliation is an area other than InfoSys, but who have InfoSys oriented research projects and supervise InfoSys graduate students. So, while the opportunities are plentiful, the process of identifying and picking one is less straightforward than in other areas.

Students supported by a research assistantship (RA) have already achieved this goal. Such students should register for 24 units of 6.991 (Research in EECS) or 6.ThG (graduate thesis research), plus at most two 12-unit subjects. (Note that in terms of strategy it is perfectly acceptable to register for more subjects initially, and then to drop all but one or two after sampling the first few weeks of lectures; in general, it is very easy to add and drop subjects at MIT.)

Students supported by a teaching assistantship (TA) or a fellowship (or other support) should start immediately to try to find a thesis advisor. Such students should register for 6.961, a 12-unit subject that introduces the student to graduate research in the department. The first phase of this subject involves finding a research supervisor for the term with an interesting introductory research project. Note that while most 6.961 projects evolve into masters theses, the masters thesis can ultimately go in a different direction and even involve a different research supervisor, depending on opportunities. TA’s also typically register for 24 units of 6.981 (Teaching in EECS), leaving them room for one additional 12-unit subject. Students with fellowship support usually have room for two such subjects.

Finally, some hints: