Thesis Roadmap and Timeline


The core of the Master of Science Program in Environmental Studies is the completion of an original Master's thesis. The focus of the thesis is determined by the interests of the student and may range from qualitative research in the social sciences to quantitative research in the physical and life sciences.

The thesis is based on original research conducted by the student under the guidance of a Committee Chair and approved by a three-member committee. Prior to beginning the thesis research, each student must complete a thesis proposal signed by the Thesis Committee, as well as the Graduate Coordinator.

Graduate Program Timeline

Design of Research Project (2-3 months)

  • Meet with your Committee Chair to determine the focus of your research and discuss potential Thesis Committee members.
  • Review literature on your thesis topic and on the research methods used in your field of interest.
  • Develop a research design in consultation with your complete, three-member Thesis Committee. 

Note: It is a good idea to schedule a meeting with all of your committee members at this stage.

Proposal Review and Revision (2-3 months)

  • Submit your complete thesis proposal to your Thesis Committee (be certain to follow the format instruction discussed in the previous section).
  • Revised the document as requested by the committee members.
  • Repeat the first two steps until the proposal is signed by all three members of the committee.

Preparing the Thesis (3-12 months)

  • Data collection/field work.
  • Analyze data and interpret results.
  • Write and edit your thesis. 

Submitting, Revising, and Defending the Thesis (3-6 months)

  • In consultation with your full committee, schedule a tentative defense date before the deadline posted with the ENVS Graduate Program Coordinator the semester prior to thesis completion.
  • Write the first draft of thesis and submit it to your Committee Chair (at least one month before scheduled thesis defense date).
  • Revise thesis as per Committee Chair comments.
  • Submit thesis to your full committee (following Committee Chair's approval of revision).
  • Revise and revise again, until full committee approval is reached.
  • Present your findings in your thesis defense.
  • Submit final draft to the Graduate Studies Office before the deadline posted.
    • If you would like to hire an editor to help with final formatting, Graduate Studies recommends Shands.
  • Work with Montezuma Publishing to complete additional revisions as needed for final acceptance by Graduate Studies.

Bound Thesis Copy

All graduate students are required to submit a bound copy of their thesis to the Environmental Studies Department upon completion.

Final Paperwork for Graduation

MS Thesis and Graduate Research Archive