Master’s With Thesis

Should you consider the thesis or non-thesis path?   Good question!   Read some thoughts about the differences here.

Candidates are required to complete the equivalent of ten (10) credits to graduate from this program. Full-time MS candidates generally complete their degree requirements in two academic years.

A. Breadth of Technical Exposure (three credits – 1 course)

Human Factors is an applied field of diverse engineering science fundamentals shaped by areas of application. The purpose of this requirement is to expose the student to the connections between the various sub-disciplines of human factors. Students are required to take the design course after the first semester. All core courses will have an analytical component that is taught as applied to the subject area, a project component, and a software component.

  • ENP 162 Human-Machine Systems Design
  • ENP 163 Analytical Methods in Human Factors Engineering

B. Design Course (minimum three credits – 1 course)

  • ME 102 Inventive Design
  • ENP 161 Human Factors in Product Design

B. Development of Analytical Capabilities (two credits)

The ability to apply statistical analysis to the solution of human factors problems is central to this curriculum. To this end, all MS students are required to take the above courses in the first year.

  • PSY 107 Advanced Probability and Statistics I
  • PSY 108 Advanced Probability and Statistics II

C. Focus Course Work (two-three credits)

The remaining courses should be selected by students in consultation with their advisor(s). These elective courses should be relevant to thesis work and must be at the graduate level (100 or above). The Department recommends a design course as part of the program of study. Taking courses outside of engineering and the sciences are exceptions in this program requiring departmental approval prior to registration; otherwise, such courses will not be counted towards the degree requirements.

D. Seminar (no credit)

  • ME 291 ME Graduate Seminar (fall semester)
  • ME 292 ME Graduate Seminar (spring semester)
    Regular attendance at Mechanical Engineering weekly Seminar Series is an integral part of full-time graduate studies. The seminars, held on Thursday afternoons, feature speakers from both inside and outside of Tufts. The seminars provide students and faculty with an opportunity to learn about the latest developments in mechanical engineering research and practice.

All full-time human factors graduate students are required to register for the ME Seminar every semester. As part of this requirement, a student must pass the seminar course by attending at least 80% of the seminars in the semester. Students who pass the seminar will receive an “S”on their transcript; students who fail the seminar will receive a “U” on their transcript.

E. Thesis (two-three credits)

  • ENP 295 MS Thesis (fall semester)
  • ENP 296 MS Thesis (spring semester)
    Preparation of a thesis representing an independent research work is a pivotal phase of the MS degree program. It provides the student with an opportunity to work on an open-ended problem, developing a particular solution that is not pre-determined and involving synthesis of knowledge and intellectual creativity. The thesis may involve an investigation that is fundamental in nature, or may be applied, incorporating theory, experimental testing or analytical modeling, and/or creative design. Through the thesis, candidates are expected to give evidence of competence in research and a sound understanding of the area of specialization involved. Students are also strongly encouraged to present their research at scientific conferences and publish the results of their thesis research in a peer-reviewed journal.

Students receive a grade of Y (incomplete) in these courses as long as the thesis in progress. Eventual thesis grades replace the incomplete grades upon formal completion of the thesis. In order to receive a grade of Y for ENP 295/296, students must submit a thesis prospectus that outlines the area of work, thesis goals, proposed approach and a review of relevant past work in the literature before the end of the first semester in which the student enrolls in ENP 295/296, typically the third semester of full-time study. An example of a recent MS thesis prospectus can be found in the Mechanical Engineering office.

Thesis normally counts as 3 credits towards the MS degree requirements. However, a student, with the approval of his/her thesis advisor, has the option to complete a 2 credit thesis by submitting a petition form to the Department. This petition must be signed by the student and the thesis advisor and will become part of the student’s academic record. With a 2 credit thesis, a student must complete an extra graduate-level course (for a total of 8 courses) to fulfill the 10-credit requirement for graduation. This option is not typically available to those intending to pursue a PhD degree.

The examining committee for master’s candidates completing theses should be composed of three (3) members. The committee chair is normally a full-time, tenure-track faculty member. One committee member must be from outside the student’s department.

F. Degree Completion

The MS thesis is completed upon a successful oral defense, open to the community, and submittal of an approved thesis to the Office of Graduate Studies. The thesis examination committee is composed of at least three members. It includes the thesis advisor, one technical expert outside of the Department, and a third member of the committee, often another faculty member in the Department. The student should consult the Graduate Student Handbook for specific dates and deadlines for this process in the graduation semester.

Degree completion and recommendation for the award of the appropriate degree involves a coordinated set of steps within and outside of the Department. In order to ensure completion of all the program requirements, a degree candidate should complete the MS Tracking Form.

Special Note: As students complete the steps listed below, they should pay careful attention to the deadlines set by the Office of Graduate Studies for submitting a thesis and other degree related work to complete degree requirements in time for August, February or May degrees.