General schedule for an MS student in geology at Baylor
- Meet with an initial graduate committee to set your course schedule.
- Introduce yourself to faculty members with whom you might be interested in working.
- Meet with your advisor to discuss (and ultimately decide upon) a thesis topic. The topic should be of interest to you and to your advisor.
- Begin and make good progress on your initial background research on the thesis topic.
As a professional habit to develop, read at least one peer-reviewed published paper in your area of interest every day.
- Commit to your thesis topic, MS advisor, and research/thesis committee membership.
No later than the end of your second semester
- Successfully complete a formal proposal of your MS thesis research
- Become very familiar with the generic outline of a MS thesis
and discuss the particular structure of your thesis with your advisor.
- Begin your thesis research in earnest after your proposal is approved, and make steady progress on it every day.
- Thoroughly review (i.e., study and learn) the literature relevant to your topic
- Regularly scan the literature for new developments related to your topic
- Compile your reference list as a bibliography, using the form that is required in your thesis document
- Pursue funding for your work
- Plan and safely execute your field work. Safety is your responsibility alone.
- Collect samples
- Perform necessary lab work
- Tabulate and analyze your data
- Make maps and illustrations as necessary to completely describe your scientific findings
- Write sections of your thesis as you go: purpose, previous work, methods, results, et cetera. Ken Hsu strongly advises writing a page every day.
- Continue to review fundamental information about geology/geophysics. For example, if you are a MS student in structural geology, but cannot correctly respond to questions about structural geology during your MS defense, then you should not expect to be certified as a Master of Science in (structural) geology.
- When you have something to talk about, prepare and submit an abstract of preliminary results for a professional meeting
- Keep writing.
- No less than 4 months before the final revised & approved thesis is due to the Graduate School, submit the first full review draft of your thesis to your advisor.
Your advisor is not your personal copy editor, so do not submit a "rough" or incomplete draft to your advisor.
Remember that your advisor not only has the power but also the responsibility to fail you if the work that you turn in is not literally a "masterpiece." That is, you must display a mastery of your research topic and of the relevant areas of geology.
- Meet with the people in the Graduate School who will be reviewing your thesis document for style and format, and make sure your document adheres to their requirements from the beginning.
- There is usually a cycle of 3-5 iterations of review and revision before a thesis is ready to be given to the rest of the research/thesis committee for review. This usually takes a couple of months.
- No less than 2 months before the final revised & approved thesis is due to the Graduate School, and when (and only when) your advisor agrees to release the draft of your thesis to your research/thesis committee for review, submit it to the rest of your committee. (This does not mean that you should not have worked with committee members on various sections of the thesis ahead of time.)
The defense copy of your thesis should be in your committee members' hands about a month before the public defense of your thesis. It must be in their hands no less than two weeks before the public defense.
- Submit paperwork to register for graduation. This does not guarantee that you will graduate at the end of your fourth semester, but it opens the possibility that you will.
- Schedule the public defense of your thesis
- No less than 1 month before the final revised & approved thesis is due to the Graduate School, publicly defend your thesis.
The results of the thesis defense might be
- approval of the thesis, with or without modification, so that you might graduate this semester if the required work is completed in time
- disapproval of the thesis and termination of your graduate candidacy at Baylor
- an agreement for you to re-defend the thesis after significant modification. This means that you will not graduate this semester.
- You must make the changes in your thesis specified by your research/thesis committee members before submitting the thesis to the Graduate School.
- Submit your corrected thesis to the Graduate School for review no less than three weeks before the final revised copy is due.
If you fail to meet any of the elements of this schedule on time, you can expect to be delayed in completing your MS degree.
Given the uncertainty in this process, you must not commit to beginning employment on/by a certain date until you are certain that you will graduate by that date.
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