M.S Thesis

<p>How long does it take to complete a M.S thesis, assuming all the research has been done? I have seen sample M.S thesis ranging from 100-250 pages. As an undergrad, I was capable of writing 50-70 page lab reports within a week and ~200 page design reports within a quarter. Just curious if the M.S thesis writing could be done within a semester.</p>

<p>Also interested in how much time could be spent on doing the M.S research, since people usually finish up in 2 years. Does this mean working on the research day and night for 2 years straight?</p>

<p>Also interested in knowing the difference between the M.S thesis and PhD dissertation, besides the difference in topics.</p>


<p>I would imagine about a full year or actual work on the research (not necessarily full-time, but probably at least 20 hrs / week) and then a couple of semesters to write the thesis. Note that the thesis does not usually need to be 200 pages long. You should check with your advisor re the acceptable length of the thesis. I doubt that the lower limit is as high as 100 pages, and it is probably more like 30-50 pages. You can write a good 50 page thesis in less than a seemster if the research has been finished. If you save yourself two full semesters, you could easily get into the 125-175 page range.</p>

<p>I guess just try to start early with the project.</p>

<p>M.S. research usually takes 2 semesters or so. Most M.S. students I know use the first semester or two to get acclimated to grad school and to their labs, then another two semesters or so setting up and performing the experiments that will lead to their thesis, and then another semester writing the thesis and revising it incessantly.</p>

<p>The biggest variable will be how developed your project is before you start. I have friends who came into their grad program and basically had their experimental setup handed to them already built by the student who came before them and all they had to do was learn to use it. They generally finish faster. On the other hand, I have many friends who built their setup from scratch, which takes considerably longer.</p>

<p>The thing is, it is a lot more complicated than "carry out a project, write a report and get a masters." You have to demonstrate to your committee (usually 4 or 5 professors) that you have a firm grasp on the material and carried out this research project and only then can they certify you for graduation. The thesis is a lot more in-depth than a lab report or design report and usually requires several revisions. It also usually isn't 200 pages long. 200 pages is starting to stretch into the Ph.D. dissertation range.</p>

<p>An M.S. thesis involves hypothesizing, carrying out research concerning that hypothesis and answering that hypothesis with your research and that of others. They are primarily judged with regards to whether or not you demonstrate a mastery of the subject and the ideas involved. They usually seem to fall in the 50 to 100 page range.</p>

<p>A Ph.D. dissertation is usually considerably longer, 200 to 400 pages in my experience, and has a much broader scope. It is essentially a book that is published with the idea of presenting original an original idea along with making a contribution to your field of study. The often involve positing an original hypothesis, carrying out original research and test said hypothesis based on the original research and whatever other means are necessary. They are not only judged on your mastery of the subject area, but also on whether or not you made an original and unique contribution to the field of study.</p>

<p>Thanks Boneh3ad, my project will be a "start from scratch" idea where I need to learn about the background, build an experimental setup, carry out experiments, optimize parameters, and then do the documentation. Since it's a new concept, they don't know if results will be good. It would be kind of disappointing if the results were not desirable and I write my thesis on that. However if results are good, it could lead to a potential patent.</p>

<p>Anyways, since I need to build my setup from scratch, do you think I can finish in 4 semesters (+ 2 summers)? Also, since I have hardly any background in the topic at all, except a general picture of the problem statement, how should I get started this summer? Will I need to read textbooks and literature first? How long will this take on average before I can start on the exp. setup? I definitely have the motivation, but no knowledge right now.</p>

<p>Your advisor should be giving you some guidance.</p>

<p>Even unexpected results are still results that can be turned into a thesis. Proving something doesn't work is just as valuable as proving something does work in many cases.</p>

<p>You should definitely still have time to finish in 2 years. I only know a couple of people who have taken longer than that, and the one that jumps out in my mind is only taking an extra semester.</p>

<p>As for getting started, go to your advisor and see what he says. Ultimately, you have to make him happy, and ultimately, he is in charge of your degree, so you ought to ask him or some other students of his some of these questions.</p>

<p>Why do you have to write 100 page lab reports? Is this for a class or undergrad research or what?</p>