Thesis or Project?

Thesis or Project?

ME students have the option to complete a total of six (6) units of graduate Thesis, Plan A (ME 299, 3 units each semester) or graduate Project, Plan B (ME 295A and ME 295B) towards their MSME degree. Students are expected to approach a full-time faculty (preferably related to their area of specialization) to solicit thesis or project ideas or discuss their own ideas (personal interest or work related). When the idea is approved as a possible thesis or project topic, the student is expected to prepare a comprehensive proposal.

Project Option (ME 295A and ME295B)

The project option typically involves a topic less theoretical and more directly applied in nature than that of the thesis option. Projects frequently involve design or improvement of existing hardware used in an experiment and/or software development. Completion of a project demonstrates the ability to apply theoretical concepts to a real-world problem. The project option may also be used for a research topic, leading to a conference presentation or published journal article.
Schedules & Deadlines

Thesis Option (ME 299)

Pursuing the thesis option requires preparation of a formal thesis, which becomes a published document. The thesis option is well suited for analytical, numerical, and experimental research topics of a more original and fundamental nature. Completion of a thesis may also aid in successfully applying for admission to Ph.D. programs.
Schedules & Deadlines

Specific format requirements must be followed for the thesis option.

In obtaining thesis approval from GAPE, the student must defend his/her thesis. This is accomplished by a successful oral presentation of the thesis work to the student’s official committee. The oral defense is scheduled by the department. Make sure that all the committee members have a copy of the final report in advance of the oral presentation. Note that a final copy of the thesis must be given to the advisor (the original must be turned into GAPE office) and the department (through the Graduate Coordinator). While not required, it is also customary to offer committee members copies as well.

See the GAPE web site for the Thesis Review deadlines.

See also the University Thesis Guidelines.

The final report for a project is generally like a thesis report. A final printed copy must be given to your committee chair, and if requested, to the committee members. Similar to the thesis option, the student is expected to make a formal oral presentation to his/her committee. A rough draft of the project report must also be provided to each committee member two weeks in advance of the presentation date. The final bound copies with approved signatures are due to the course instructor/coordinator and Committee Chair within one week after the semester ends.

Basic Requirements for Project and Thesis

Both, thesis and project are 6-unit courses: ME 295A/ME 295B and ME 299, respectively. These courses are designed to be completed in two separate semesters. The first semester project entails the design phase, followed by the design-verification phase during the second semester. The phases of the project require a final report and oral presentation.

Whether you select a thesis option or the project option, there are three basic requirements for the contents of a project: (a) The project should involve higher math and physics, (b) application of advanced mechanical engineering concepts, and (c) A comprehensive final report that satisfies the Culminating Experience requirement as stipulated by the GAPE.

The thesis is research-oriented work and requires completion of an original research on a mechanical engineering topic. The final report must satisfy the guidelines stipulated by the university, and must be submitted in a timely manner by the deadlines set by the university for review.