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Thesis Overview
Preparatory Advice
Stages of the Thesis
Steps to Completion
Avoiding Anxiety
Editorial Style


Steps to Completion

The following sequentially organized steps support successful completion of the thesis:

  1. Review the SDSU Thesis Manual - Read it thoroughly, and discuss the contents with your advisor.

  2. Identify your general area of research interest and discuss it with your advisor.

  3. Obtain a Chair for your thesis committee who is willing to mentor you. The Chair must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty within SLHS. In some cases, where appropriate, a Co-Chair arrangement can be made with tenured or tenure-track faculty from SLHS or another department.

  4. Complete the initial review of related literature.

  5. Prepare a thesis prospectus (see Stages of the Thesis) under the guidance of your committee Chair. Discuss potential data ownership, publication and authorship issues (see the SDSU Thesis Manual). The Graduate Council of SDSU recommends that the understandings and agreements that emerge from this discussion be prepared as a formal written agreement. Copies of the agreement should be provided to the student, thesis chair, and appropriate graduate program advisor.

  6. Consult with your Chair regarding prospective second and third members for your committee.

  7. Share your prospectus with potential committee members and confirm their interests. Discuss potential data ownership, publication and authorship issues, as appropriate.

  8. Complete Appointment of Thesis Committee Form to obtain approval of your committee by the Graduate Division.

  9. Develop thesis proposal under direction of your Chair and, upon his/her approval, obtain guidance from your approved committee members,

  10. After approval of your Chair, schedule the thesis proposal hearing. The student presents the proposal to the thesis committee to obtain consensus regarding the proposed research design, methods, and analyses. Specifically, the student will submit a written document that has been approved by the thesis Chair to the committee at least two weeks in advance of the meeting. The written document will contain a literature review (which can be a shorter version of the one that will eventually form the initial portion of the thesis document and a detailed method section that clearly specifies all aspects of methods (subjects, equipment, procedures, research design, statistical analyses). Revision of the proposal may be necessary. Once the proposal has been approved by all committee members, the proposal serves as a "contract" between the student and the committee (i.e., only the approved design, methods, and analyses can be required of the student). Any student-initiated modifications must receive formal approval of the committee.

  11. Obtain approvals from all appropriate ethics review boards. For research using human subjects, approval must be obtained from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior collecting any data and to enrolling in 799A. Enrollment in 799A will not be permitted without approval from the IRB.

  12. Enroll in SLHS 799A Thesis. The schedule number may be obtained from the Graduate Division office.

  13. Collect and analyze data. It is important that you do not collect any data prior to approval from the IRB. If you do so, the University may refuse to accept your work and assume liability if there are any problems that arise from the study.

  14. Revise the proposal into the thesis format. Write this product under the direction of your Chair and, on his/her approval, obtain feedback from committee members. The written document must be provided to all committee members after your Chair's approval and at least two weeks prior to the Oral Defense of the Thesis (see below).

  15. Upon approval by your Chair, schedule the Oral Defense of the Thesis. The defense is a committee meeting, open to the public, where the student explains and defends his/her research from identification of the topic, through design, methods, and results; and discusses implications for research and practice. The committee will ask you to leave the room and will discuss your performance and vote to determine if you have passed the oral examination or not. If you have passed the Defense portion, it is expected that only fine-tuning revisions will be required.

  16. Follow SDSU Thesis Manual procedures for preparation of the final copy, committee member signatures, Graduate Division Clearance, Thesis Review Service, and copying.

  17. In addition to copies required by the Graduate Division, the student should provide a hardbound copy of the thesis to SLHS. Each committee member should receive a final pdf copy as well.

  18. Your Chair submits a grade for 799A (if more than one semester has passed, the student must enroll in 799B for zero credits each semester).

  19. You must be registered in 799A or 799B during the semester that you plan to submit your thesis.

last updated: May 2013
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     Questions? Email Dr. Jessica Barlow