Abstract

Helping engineering graduate students to write their thesis can be a difficult and time-consuming undertaking for a thesis advisor. Efficiency can be gained by having an experienced graduate student thesis advisor help multiple students at the same time. This paper describes the philosophy, methods, and course design details used to develop and conduct a graduate level course on "thesis proposal development" for engineering students. The course provides structure to encourage students to engage in research and write their thesis proposal. The thesis proposal contains the student's detailed research plans and serves as the foundation for the student's final thesis. Each element of the course is described in detail with enough information that readers can implement the course at their own institution using this article as a guide. It includes detailed descriptions of individual assignments, reasons for including the assignment in the course, and supplemental information downloadable from the journal. Since implementing this course at our university, we have observed improvements in graduate student research projects, better written theses, and earlier thesis defense dates. The course was implemented without changing the number of credit hours needed to graduate and we believe that the change has been beneficial.

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