Thesis Tips For Graduate Students

For most students, writing a graduate school thesis is the largest academic project they’ve ever been faced with. The task can seem overwhelming, and there may be pressure to perform for future career opportunities. Breaking the project down into small manageable steps and understanding how to complete each one is the key to success.

When choosing an adviser or mentor, the individual should ideally be someone that you already know and have worked with in the past. They also need to have an interest in the topic of the research project. This will allow them to provide useful feedback and potential help with finding future employment that’s related to the thesis topic. Beyond that, an adviser should be available, have good communication skills, and be trustworthy. If it turns out that the first mentor can’t provide enough help, it’s acceptable to switch to a new one or even have two.

Choosing a Thesis Adviser Advice from a graduate professor

Roles of Thesis Advisers Picking one who will meet your needs

Choosing a thesis topic is often one of the most stressful parts of the process. It should be something that the student is interested in and ideally related to future career goals. The topic should also be of interest to the adviser and the academic community. A topic that has already been studied extensively usually isn’t a good choice, unless there’s an idea for a new slant on it. At the same time, there must be enough related research to draw from and connect the thesis to. The project is meant to be relatively narrow in focus and answer a question with empirical evidence. Think of how this will be accomplished.

Finding a Thesis Topic Tips for narrowing down the search

Coming up with a Thesis Topic criteria and brainstorming ideas

The bulk of the work usually begins once a thesis proposal has been approved. Staying organized and managing time wisely are extremely important. Although it may be tempting, this isn’t a project to procrastinate on. Set monthly and weekly goals. Get through difficult periods by working in small chunks of time. Start a journal for the thesis to keep track of deadlines, make to do lists, and write down notes, and carry it everywhere. A thesis isn’t a completely solo project, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice from a mentor about any stumbling blocks.

Thesis Time Management Great article about how to stay on top of things

Graduate Game Plan Overcome barriers to completion

Excellent reading skills are required for graduate studies, and this is especially true when it comes to writing a thesis. If these skills are not up to par, it’s time to improve comprehension and become more efficient. Take organized notes that include where the information came from so it can be cited or found again. After reading something, summarizing it in your own words will help you remember it.

Efficient Reading Principles Reading strategy steps

Taking Notes from Research Reading Excellent tips for organizing research notes

Set up a plan for meeting with an adviser in the beginning. Discuss how often meetings will happen, and try to stick to the schedule. This will help you stay on track with progress by providing accountability. During the meetings, be sure to take notes about anything important that’s discussed. It’s also good to come in with notes and a list of questions or concerns. Ask for feedback, and don’t be afraid of constructive criticism – that’s what an adviser is for.

Graduate School Survival Guide Get the most out of your adviser relationship

How to Be a Good Graduate Advice for research and working with an adviser