mas.940 preparation for the master's thesis

Wednesday 10-12, Room E15-054
Lorin Wilde
617 253 2525
Brian K Smith
617 253 6537


As you know, this is the year where you get to write a thesis. While you may know you have to do one, it may be unclear how to do one. The purpose of this course is to help you get through the process of writing a research thesis. More so, the end goal for the course is for each of you to produce a thesis proposal that will be evaluated by your advisor and the departmental committee for graduate studies (DCGS).


  1. The obvious pragmatic goal: get you to complete a thesis proposal.
  2. To give you a place to discuss your research with your peers. It's easy to hide within the walls of your research group. This course gives you a chance to collaborate with others in the laboratory.


  • Strunk Jr., W. & White, E.B. (1999). The Elements of Style. New York: Allyn & Bacon.
09.08.99 Introduction
09.15.99 Review of DCGS process
Scoping the thesis
The importance of background research
"What's your favorite Media Lab thesis?"
09.22.99 What's a research question?
Titles & Abstracts
Notes from class
09.29.99 Thesis structure
Review of proposal structure, syntax & style
10.06.99 Graphics & illustrations
Documentation & use of reference literature
10.13.99 Proposal drafts due
Frequently Asked Questions
Begin peer review
10.20.99 Sens*bles/Hell Week - NO CLASS
10.27.99 Editing & revising
In-class review of proposals
11.03.99 Write your proposals - NO CLASS
11.05.99 Thesis Proposals due to Academic Office
11.10.99 Incorporating feedback from DCGS
11.17.99 Research topics
11.24.99 Thanksgiving week - NO CLASS
12.01.99 Research topics
12.08.99 Research topics & class end


Style, research, & bibliographic pointers
Smith's "Six-chapter thesis"
Last updated: 7 Oct 99